USB Pocket SSD External Pocket Drive – Nemo Memo
120GB capacity ($100) or 240GB capacity ($175)
The future is here. You can copy large quantities of data from a computer onto fast, small, external SSD thumb drives that can be shuttled between home, work, school, and everywhere else. VisionTek’s affordable and rugged models come in two capacities and prices. Never again will lack of space or slow transfer speeds inhibit data portability.
The company recommends reformatting a brand new unit for optimum performance. I called their USA Tek Support and Jim advised me on the preferred cross-platform settings to choose during my DiskUtility single partition reformat: exFAT with Master Boot Record option. Additional formatting combinations for Mac and Windows are possible.
I don’t work with Microsoft Windows, but VisionTek tells MyMac: Especially important for Mac users is how this external SSD can allow you to boot to a full Windows environment on your Mac without having to partition your internal drive to do such.
I decided to test our evaluation 120GB drive to copy important working files and to be able to use my entire iTunes and iPhoto libraries on any Macintosh. All file transfers were brisk and complete. VisionTek’s Pocket SSD mounts instantly on my MacBook Pro and is efficient to use. This external drive works perfectly to view and use iPhoto and iTunes libraries on other Macs.
The physical USB3 SSD unit is well-constructed in the United States, with an overbuilt external hard plastic case that gets very warm during extended use. I wish it came in colors other than black, which is difficult to find in a dark corner or inside a tote bag. You can learn more about this drive’s features here and here.
For the same price as a VisionTek USB Pocket SSD External Pocket Drive you can purchase a conventional USB3 external hard drive with much more space, but with less portability and convenience. If the size and flexibility of a pocket drive will make you more productive and efficient, the cost/capacity conundrum will be straightforward to negotiate.
Or, as VisionTek emphasizes to MyMac: This is NOT just another thumb drive and it offers the performance of an internal SSD without the install hassle.
I would modify that sentence to most of the performance. Keep reading.
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Real world VisionTek SSD test results are below for large item transfers. Results are respectable, but not record-setting.
My entire 45.31GB iPhoto Library copied from my MacBook Pro in 44 minutes.
The 21.78GB complete iTunes Music folder copied to the SSD in 4 minutes 44 seconds.
A working folder of photos with 2.12GB copied in 1 minute 43 seconds.
It is best when doing massive quantities of file transfers or copying make them one at a time and to close the iPhoto and iTunes apps if they are involved.
Comparison tests were made on the fastest external drive USB3 MyMac has ever evaluated, the 4TB Backup Plus Fast Portable Drive. This drive takes nearly a minute to mount on my Mac, in comparison to the SSD’s instant mounting.
iPhoto Library copy took 25 minutes 26 seconds, iTunes Music folder copied in 3 minutes 21 seconds, and the working photos folder copied in 13 seconds.
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The aforementioned hot temperature throttles, or slows down, giant data transfers. In my case above it was a problem, but VisionTek’s Consumer Brand Visionist assures MyMac: What this comes down to is each user’s experience is going to be different. Some may never experience the throttling.
Here’s the technical explanation of what’s behind all this. The drive, due to its very small enclosure size with a heat-generating processor and the amount of NAND flash contained therein, will throttle down during long write sessions as a self-preservation mode.
There are only four 32 (120GB) or 64GB (240GB) NAND chips in our models. Typical 2.5 inch form factor drives use eight chips. So that’s a lot of writing to the reduced number of chips in our Pocket SSD, which creates heat. Then, if you’re using incompressible data, that compounds the issue as the LSI Sandforce-based processor is known to struggle with that kind of data.
For everyday typical file transfer use, the Pocket SSD is ideal. You can transfer a 30GB file no problem at full speed. You try to transfer three to four of those sized files one after the other, the drive will slow down.
We have that thermal protection set pretty conservatively because we really don’t feel an intended use of the drive is continuous large file dumps or even live video capture. Someone wanting that kind of storage space and speed should really get a 2.5 inch form factor SSD – like our Go Drive, and put in a tool-less, screw-less case like our Wallet Drive, which was reviewed recently by Simon Parnell for MyMac.
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I accept this explanation and I confirm its accuracy. Use the right tool for the job: VisionTek USB Pocket SSD External Pocket Drive is optimized for quick mounting, speedy performance, and fast transfers of smaller quantities of data.
Now that USB3 external SSD flash drives are becoming more affordable with higher capacities, consider replacing your drawer full of conventional thumb drives with the latest and greatest.