ADATA SE800 Portable SSD review: Highspeed Portable SSD

The ADATA SE800 is an updated version of its portable line and the first to use Innogrit’s Shasta controller technology. By using the most up-to-date advances in USB to PCIe protocols, ADATA has produced a portable SSD that’s very compact, versatile, and blazing fast.

Specifications and Features

By combining the USB3.2 Gen2 interface of the Asmedia ASM2362 USB3.2 Gen2-PCIe bridge controller with the Innogrit Shasta IG5208’s PCIe 3.0 x2 host interface, ADATA has managed to kick the transfer speeds up to a blistering 1000 MB/s sequential reads/writes. It also supports UASP (USB-attached SCSI Protocol), which combines SCSI commands and USB standards to accelerate data movement and make file transfers more efficient. There are two capacities available, 512 GB and 1 TB, which are both available in the blue and black metal casing.

The ADATA SE800 portable SSD comes wrapped in a sharp-looking metal casing, which aids in thermal transfer for the inner components and makes the SE800 a robust little unit. It’s dustproof and well as waterproof to a depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes while the end cap is in place. It is also shock resistant in compliance with the MILSTD-810G 516.6 impact resistance standard.

The SE800 is compatible with PCs and Macs and includes data management software on ADATA’s site for both of these platforms. It’s also compatible with Android devices, but the host device must support OTG (On-The-Go) functionality.

The SE800 has a nice compact size with dimensions of 2.8 x 1.7 x 0.5-inches (72.7 x 44 x 12.2 mm) and weighing only 40 g – amazing for up to 1 TB of portable storage. As you’ll see in the pictures coming up, it’s about half the size of a standard 2.5″ SSD and not much bigger than a couple of USB flash drives.

I couldn’t find any type of MTBF data on the drive, but ADATA does give the SE800 a 3-year warranty.

Full specifications are in the table below:

ADATA SE800 Portable SSD Specifications
Capacity512 GB and 1 TB
InterfaceUSB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A and C
ControllerInnogrit  Shasta IG5208
FlashADATA Branded 64-layer 3D NAND
Form FactorPortable
Dimensions72.7 x 44 x 12.2 mm
DRAMN/A
SecurityAES-256 Encryption
Sequential Read/Write Speeds1000 MB/s
Service & Support3 Years
Pricing1 TB is $ 149.99 at Newegg.com

Packaging/Product Tour

The retail packaging for the ADATA SE800 is a cardboard box with a picture of the drive and capacity as well as USB compatibility. The package is designed to hang on a rack for brick and mortar retailers, the tab sticking out of the top. The back has a few more features listed such as transfer speeds, dimensions, operating temperatures, and voltages. The drive itself is encapsulated in a plastic tray, which buffers it from the edges of the packaging to help prevent any accidental damage during shipping. After removing the drive, we find the included USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A and C cables as well as a quick start guide.

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The Drive

Below we see some pictures of the ADATA SE800 Portable inside and out. On the outside, all we see are the name, size, made in Taiwan, and the USB3.2 Gen2 Type C interface. We also have two transfer cables, which will accommodate USB Type-C and USB Type-A connections.

On the inside, things are a bit more interesting. The first thing we see are some bits of thermal tape which have been added to make contact with the enclosure, helping to keep the internals cool. The SE800 is essentially an NVMe PCIe SSD with a USB 3.2 Gen2 interface, thanks to the ASMEDIA ASM2362 USB to PCIe bridge controller. At the heart of the drive, we find the Innogrit Shasta IG5208, a four-channel DRAMless controller that has a PCIe 3.0 x2 interface. Finishing off the internals, we have the ADATA branded 64-layer 3D NAND modules at 256 GB each.

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HDDtoGO Software

The SE800 mounts automatically when connected to a PC and displays an Explorer window. Installing the HDDtoGO software, which is much more than just a HDD backup software. Below is a list of the features found in HDDtoGO:

  • No Trace Browsing with Internet Explorer & Firefox
  • Desktop, folder to folder and my Documents synchronization
  • Data compression and data protection with 256-bit AES encryption
  • Favorites synchronization (Internet Explorer & Firefox)
  • Portable Outlook/Outlook Express/Windows Mail
  • PC-Lock
  • HDD Lost & Found
  • Multilingual user interface

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ADATA has also produced a string of instructional video clips demonstrating their software:

Testing Method and Test System

Typically, each SSD is Secure Erased (SE) using the included utility to make sure we get the best results possible. We do this before each and every test run to give the comparison samples the best environment possible for testing.  In this case, since that wasn’t possible for me through Windows, I formatted the drive between each test.

Below are the tests we run with a brief description.

Below are the tests we run with a brief description.

  • Crystal Disk Mark v 7.0.0 x64 – Run at Default Settings (5 Passes)
  • AS SSD v 2.0.6485 – Run at Default Settings
  • ATTO v 3.05 – Run at Default Settings except for the QD Set to 10
  • Anvil Storage Utility Benchmark v 1.1.0 – Default Settings
PCIe 3.0 Test System Components
MotherboardASUS ROG Maximus X Apex
CPUIntel i7 8700K
CPU CoolerEVGA CLC 240
Memory2×8 GB G.Skill Trident Z 3200 MHz CL15-15-15-35
SSDToshiba OCZ TR200 480 GB (OS), ADATA SE800 512 GB 
Power SupplyEVGA 750W G3
Video CardAMD Radeon RX 5700 XT

A special thanks go out to EVGA for providing the CLC 240 CPU Cooler and 750W G3 Power Supply to cool and power the system, G.Skill for the Trident Z DRAM, and Toshiba OCZ for the 480GB TR200 SSDs storage running the OS, benchmarks, and games. With our partners helping out, we can build matching test systems to mitigate any differences found between using different hardware. This allows for multiple reviewers in different locations to use the same test system and compare results between reviewers minimizing system variance.

  

 

Performance/Results

CrystalDiskMark

Our first stop is with CrystalDiskMark and its random reads and writes. For reads, we can see the ADATA SE800 leads the pack by a considerable margin in the sequential workloads. The 4K single and 32QD the SE800 starts to lag behind a bit, it still does well with 16 threads, but the single thread 4K workload knocked it down to the bottom of the group.

Moving on to writes, we see a very similar pattern as we did with the read tests. Once again, dominating the crowd in sequential workloads but showing average performance with the 4K file sizes.

AS SSD

AS SSD is considered one of the toughest benchmarks available for solid-state drives. It relies solely on incompressible data, which translates to a “worst-case scenario” for data transfer. Once again, the results are nearly a mirror image of the above tests the ADATA SE800 portable excels in sequential workloads.

In this next set of benchmarks, we would expect the ADATA SE800 portable SSD to have a bit higher access times since it’s connected through USB, so there are a few added “handshakes” along the way. It holds it’s own in the writing test, but the combination of controllers hits hard on read access time, making it the slowest drive of the group.

ATTO

ATTO works off the “best-case scenario” for SSDs, which is likely why it’s popular with the manufacturers. In this sequential, highly compressible benchmark, the ADATA SE800 does very well throughout the testing. Again, the larger data set results are far above any of the other drives tested. It does well in the small file write tests, but we can see where that slow read access time hurts it a bit in the 1K and 4K read tests.

Anvil Storage Utility

This application goes through several different tests giving one an idea of all-around performance. The results for the ADATA SE800 are on par with most SSDs but not quite as impressive as the M.2 860 EVO, which racked up over 6000 points, but it’s not very portable.

Conclusion

With the combination of USB3.2 Gen2 convenience and PCI express speed, the ADATA SE800 performs exceptionally well during large sequential data transfers. There are some weaknesses, particularly when transferring small data sets and slower access times when compared to internal M.2 SSDs, but overall, the SE800 performed very well. To me, this would be a perfect storage solution for anyone who needs to have large portable data files such as media creators.

Besides being fast, the ADATA SE800 is small, lightweight, and compact. It has a very durable exterior that comes in black or blue and conforms to the MILSTD-810G 516.6 impact resistance standard. It’s also water and dustproof, so accidental damage or data loss is very minimal. The drive is backed by a three-year limited warranty from ADATA.

I have to admit I haven’t had much experience with external SSD drives, but I have to hand it to ADATA. They have created a high performing and portable SSD packed into a small, sturdy metal casing that fits into the palm of your hand. The ADATA SE800 is a bit pricey at $149.99 for the 512 GB version when compared to a Samsung T5, which is $110 for the same capacity and warranty period.  The SE800 still comes with exceptional speed convenience and versatility, for that we can still give it the seal of approval.

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Shawn Jennings – Johan45

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