Mobile Storage Review: IoSafe Rugged Portable SSD - Page 2

By Gerry Blackwell
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An Issue with Software

One other quibble: when you run the setup wizard, if you choose My Computer data selection, the program by default hides certain types of files, including some, such as Outlook database files, that you may want to select. It is possible to change settings so those hidden files appear, but not during initial set up. Genie’s claim of once-and-done setup doesn’t hold up.

Timeline can do backups in smart mode or turbo mode. In smart mode, if you’re working on the computer doing other things, the program uses minimal resources -- but it performs backups more slowly. When the computer is not in use, Timeline speeds up and uses more resources.

In turbo mode, it uses the maximum amount of resources to complete the task as quickly as possible, whether you’re working on the computer or not.

One feature we liked: if you unplug the ioSafe SSD and then later plug it in, Timeline will automatically pick up where it left off backing up files.

It took Timeline close to 30 minutes to perform an initial 12.5GB backup without encryption -- not exactly stellar, but after that, it performed unnoticed in the background.

Testing the Hard Drive

We were not able to do exhaustive testing of the SSD’s advanced data protection features. Finding diesel fuel to dunk it in was problematic, for example. And hiring divers to retrieve a hard drive from 30 feet of water is unfortunately not included in our allowable expenses.

We did drop it from less than 20 feet and drove over it with a compact car. The ioSafe Rugged Portable just laughed. (No damage to data or visible damage to case -- although we are considering suing ioSafe for damage to the office floor.)

It’s worth noting that at least some of the shock- and drop-proof characteristics are shared by all SSDs. Because they have no moving parts, they are much less likely to fail or be affected by impact. 

Among the other benefits of SSDs are speed and low power consumption. The ioSafe SSD uses a miserly 5 watts of power on average.

But while this product does deliver a significant speed advantage over conventional USB 2.0 hard drives when it’s connected to a USB 3.0 port, the speed advantage is only slight when it’s connected to a USB 2.0 port. Bear in mind that most small business computers, except recently-purchased mid-range and high-end models, do not yet have USB 3.0 ports.

We connected the ioSafe drive to a USB 3.0 port on a recent-model Sony Vaio laptop and timed the transfer of a 4.09 GB block of files from the laptop’s hard drive to the Rugged Portable SSD. Then we plugged the drive into a USB 2.0 port on the same computer and timed the transfer of the same block of files.

The transfer took 1 minute 33 seconds using the USB 3.0 port, and it took a full 3 minutes 31 seconds over USB 2.0. That might not seem like much, but if you were transferring 100 GB of data, that translates to 37 minutes versus 86 minutes to complete the task, which is a significant difference.

We then connected a two-year-old Seagate portable USB 2.0 hard drive to the same computer and timed the transfer of the same block of files again. This time it took 3 minutes 48 seconds, which is probably not significant in most applications.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to speed up backups or transfers of large media or engineering or CAD files, and you have a USB 3.0 computer, the ioSafe Rugged Portable SSD will deliver a significant performance improvement over USB 2.0 storage options. But if you’ll be using this product with a USB 2.0 connection, don’t expect a significant performance improvement.

If you’re mainly looking for optimal security and ruggedness to ensure protection of critical data, however, the ioSafe SSD may be the ultimate solution – if you can afford the freight.

Gerry Blackwell is a freelance technology writer based in London, Canada. Read his blog, AfterByte

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This article was originally published on January 06, 2012
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