Review ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720 External SSD

Klaus Hinum (translated by Martina Osztovits), 03/19/2014

USB 3.0 SSD. SSDs are especially appropriate as robust and fast external media. With the SE720, ADATA offers an external 128 GB SSD with an elegant metal chassis. The following article will reveal how well the device performed in our review.

ADATA SSD SE720
ADATA SSD SE720

For the original German review, see here.

Solid State Drives also have their place as external media storage: fast access times, robustness, compact size and silent operation are big advantages. The only disadvantage is their steep price compared to conventional HDDs in external cases.

The ADATA SE720 is a relatively cheap external SSD with 128 GB in an elegant metal case. We liked the simple appearance and its straight design. But, unfortunately the surface is very prone to fingerprints and looks ugly quickly. The included padded plastic bag will solve this problem. The SSD can remain in the case if it is only used for a short time and the lining gives extra protection during carrying. However, we won't recommend using the drive in the bag for a long time since waste heat could have a negative impact on the lifetime of the drive.

Otherwise, ADATA only includes a small information sheet and a cable for connecting the USB 3.0 Micro B plug on the SSD to a standard USB 2.0 /3.0 type A interface.

The stability of the case is good and only yields slightly under strong pressure in its center. It seems the SSD is well prepared for all kinds of transport with the bag.

With 104 grams without cable and bag, the SSD is also very light compared to external HDDs. E.g. the HD 650 weighs 176 grams, and a 2 TB WD My Passport even reaches a high weight of 231 grams.

ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720 External SSD

  • SandForce SF-2281VB2-SPC controller
  • 29F32B08NCME2
  • USB 3.0 (5 V powered via USB)
  • 5 °C to 50 °C operating temperature
  • 3 years limited warranty
  • 117 x 79 x 8.9 mm
  • 110 grams (manufacturer's information), 104 grams without cable, 128 grams with cable, 145 grams with cable and bag
  • 128 GB capacity (gross)
  • ADATA Sync Software and Backup button on the SSD (did not work in our test with the S413)

Case

Opening the case of the SSD requires puttering around with several spudgers/screwdrivers on the surrounding plastic frame. Unfortunately, damaging the outer frame cannot be avoided, since the two metal sides are not only hooked but also fixed with an adhesive pad.

Inside, we finally find the familiar SandForce SF-2281VB2-SPC controller with four NAND chips called 29F32B08NCME2 from Intel. A VLI VL711 USB 3.0 SATA bridge is used for transferring SATA commands to USB.

Performance

We primarily tested the SE720 on a Schenker S413 via USB 3.0 port (directly on the Intel Haswell chipset) and Windows 8.

Sequential Data Transfer Rates

The sequential data transfer rates are close to the internal ADATA SP900 SSD's, which also uses a SandForce controller. However, it performs significantly worse than the internal high-end Samsung SSD 840 Pro SSD. But, the HDD DashDrive HD650, the internal HDD in the Lenovo B590 (Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0) and even the old SSD 320 are left behind.

AS SSD
Seq Read (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
349 MB/s ∼26%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
513 MB/s ∼38% +47%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
502.14 MB/s ∼37% +44%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
165 MB/s ∼12% -53%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
111.2 MB/s ∼8% -68%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
100.42 MB/s ∼7% -71%
Seq Write (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
184 MB/s ∼20%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
498 MB/s ∼54% +171%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
208.44 MB/s ∼23% +13%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
221 MB/s ∼24% +20%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
110.2 MB/s ∼12% -40%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
87.85 MB/s ∼10% -52%
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
Read Seq (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
355 MB/s ∼24%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
531 MB/s ∼36% +50%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
497 MB/s ∼34% +40%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
277 MB/s ∼19% -22%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
117 MB/s ∼8% -67%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
105 MB/s ∼7% -70%
Write Seq (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
192 MB/s ∼20%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
513 MB/s ∼52% +167%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
237 MB/s ∼24% +23%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
230 MB/s ∼23% +20%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
117 MB/s ∼12% -39%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
101.6 MB/s ∼10% -47%
Read 512 (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
361 MB/s ∼39%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
471 MB/s ∼51% +30%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
439.5 MB/s ∼48% +22%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
180 MB/s ∼20% -50%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
42.7 MB/s ∼5% -88%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
33.93 MB/s ∼4% -91%
Write 512 (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
191 MB/s ∼22%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
501 MB/s ∼58% +162%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
234.2 MB/s ∼27% +23%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
219 MB/s ∼25% +15%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
20.9 MB/s ∼2% -89%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
45.67 MB/s ∼5% -76%
ATTO Disk Benchmark
8192KB read (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
363569 KB/s ∼65%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
560538 KB/s ∼100% +54%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
284359 KB/s ∼51% -22%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
116711 KB/s ∼21% -68%
8192KB write (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
386238 KB/s ∼72%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
468882 KB/s ∼88% +21%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
230912 KB/s ∼43% -40%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
113985 KB/s ∼21% -70%

Legend

 
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720 Intel Core i7-4750HQ, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720 USB 3.0
 
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop Intel Core i7-2600K, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
 
Intel SSD 320 Desktop Intel Core i7-2600K, AMD Radeon HD 6450 GDDR5, Intel SSD 320 Series SSDSA2CW300G310
 
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650 Intel Core i7-4750HQ, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650 USB 3.0
 
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE Intel Core i3-3110M, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142

4k Performance

While the external SSD performs significantly worse than the internal models in random access to 4 KB files, it is still significantly faster than HDD models.

AS SSD
4K Read (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
15.5 MB/s ∼20%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
32.3 MB/s ∼41% +108%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
18 MB/s ∼23% +16%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
18.7 MB/s ∼24% +21%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
0.48 MB/s ∼1% -97%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
0.45 MB/s ∼1% -97%
4K Write (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
25.6 MB/s ∼19%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
73.5 MB/s ∼56% +187%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
57.04 MB/s ∼43% +123%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
34.4 MB/s ∼26% +34%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
0.2 MB/s ∼0% -99%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
0.73 MB/s ∼1% -97%
4K-64 Read (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
19.3 MB/s ∼3%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
381 MB/s ∼57% +1874%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
191 MB/s ∼29% +890%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
135 MB/s ∼20% +599%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
0.41 MB/s ∼0% -98%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
0.89 MB/s ∼0% -95%
4K-64 Write (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
26 MB/s ∼5%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
329 MB/s ∼61% +1165%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
177 MB/s ∼33% +581%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
61 MB/s ∼11% +135%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
0.2 MB/s ∼0% -99%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
0.66 MB/s ∼0% -97%
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
Read 4k (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
21.7 MB/s ∼50%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
35.7 MB/s ∼82% +65%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
29.18 MB/s ∼67% +34%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
21 MB/s ∼48% -3%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
0.51 MB/s ∼1% -98%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
0.411 MB/s ∼1% -98%
Write 4k (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
27.2 MB/s ∼17%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
88.9 MB/s ∼55% +227%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
59.13 MB/s ∼36% +117%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
40.2 MB/s ∼25% +48%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
0.27 MB/s ∼0% -99%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
0.753 MB/s ∼0% -97%
Read 4k QD32 (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
18.8 MB/s ∼3%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
402 MB/s ∼72% +2038%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
185.8 MB/s ∼33% +888%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
142 MB/s ∼26% +655%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
0.57 MB/s ∼0% -97%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
0.419 MB/s ∼0% -98%
Write 4k QD32 (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
27.4 MB/s ∼5%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
370 MB/s ∼68% +1250%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
231.7 MB/s ∼42% +746%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
70.8 MB/s ∼13% +158%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
0.27 MB/s ∼0% -99%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
0.735 MB/s ∼0% -97%

Legend

 
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720 Intel Core i7-4750HQ, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720 USB 3.0
 
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop Intel Core i7-2600K, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
 
Intel SSD 320 Desktop Intel Core i7-2600K, AMD Radeon HD 6450 GDDR5, Intel SSD 320 Series SSDSA2CW300G310
 
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650 Intel Core i7-4750HQ, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650 USB 3.0
 
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE Intel Core i3-3110M, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142

Copy Performance

We tested the copy performance with the AS SSD test with the same name. Several drives show significantly different results in multiple runs. Overall, the SE720 ranks in slightly behind the old SATA 2 SSD Intel 320. External as well as internal hard drives perform much worse. So, those copying big amounts of data will save a lot of time with the SE720. A difference of 15 seconds versus 104 seconds in the program copy test (SE720 vs. HD650) is huge.

The SE720 also performed well in our real-life copy test with 24.6 GB of video files. 110 MB/s in writing and 230 MB/s in reading are very good results.

AS SSD
Copy ISO MB/s (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
111.7 MB/s ∼15%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
429 MB/s ∼56% +284%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
340.49 MB/s ∼45% +205%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
134 MB/s ∼18% +20%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
19.1 MB/s ∼3% -83%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
21.09 MB/s ∼3% -81%
Copy Program MB/s (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
96.6 MB/s ∼23%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
222 MB/s ∼53% +130%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
172.73 MB/s ∼41% +79%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
97 MB/s ∼23% 0%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
13.5 MB/s ∼3% -86%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
24.75 MB/s ∼6% -74%
Copy Game MB/s (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
107.4 MB/s ∼13%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
269 MB/s ∼33% +150%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
364.92 MB/s ∼45% +240%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
116 MB/s ∼14% +8%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
17.3 MB/s ∼2% -84%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
32.47 MB/s ∼4% -70%

Legend

 
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720 Intel Core i7-4750HQ, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720 USB 3.0
 
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop Intel Core i7-2600K, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
 
Intel SSD 320 Desktop Intel Core i7-2600K, AMD Radeon HD 6450 GDDR5, Intel SSD 320 Series SSDSA2CW300G310
 
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650 Intel Core i7-4750HQ, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650 USB 3.0
 
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE Intel Core i3-3110M, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142

Access times

The USB interface also has an impact on the access times. Compared to the ADATA SP900 the difference is not big and the two drives are even on par in writing. As expected, hard drives perform much worse.

AS SSD
Access Time Read (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
0.275 ms * ∼1%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
0.056 ms * ∼0% +80%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
0.201 ms * ∼1% +27%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
0.072 ms * ∼0% +74%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
17.3 ms * ∼52% -6191%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
19.382 ms * ∼59% -6948%
Access Time Write (sort by value)
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720
0.232 ms * ∼0%
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop
0.046 ms * ∼0% +80%
ADATA SP900 256 GB
0.251 ms * ∼0% -8%
Intel SSD 320 Desktop
0.102 ms * ∼0% +56%
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650
19.5 ms * ∼32% -8305%
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE
34.053 ms * ∼56% -14578%

Legend

 
ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720 Intel Core i7-4750HQ, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720 USB 3.0
 
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256 GB Desktop Intel Core i7-2600K, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
 
Intel SSD 320 Desktop Intel Core i7-2600K, AMD Radeon HD 6450 GDDR5, Intel SSD 320 Series SSDSA2CW300G310
 
ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650 Intel Core i7-4750HQ, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650 USB 3.0
 
Lenovo B590 MBX2JGE Intel Core i3-3110M, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142

* ... smaller is better

Performance of Compressible Data

Dependence on compressibility of date is typical for SSDs based on SandForce. The better data can be compressed, the higher the write rates since the controller automatically compresses all write commands. So, the result of the AS SSD compression benchmark ranges from 170 to 350 MB/s in writing. As expected, the read rate remains constant. This is also evident in other benchmarks. AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark use rather poorly compressible data. So, the result is quite low, while the ATTO result of up to 377 MB/s is relatively high.

PCMark 8 Storage

Finally, we ran the Storage Test of PCMark 8 on the external SSD. The OS system remained on the internal Intel SSD 525 mSATA SSD of the Schenker S413. With 4649 points and 95.6 MB/s, the ADATA SSD achieved an impressive result. However, the difference between the slow SATA 2 Samsung SSD 470 and the fast 840 Pro is also relatively low in this test.

PCMark 8 - Storage Score (sort by value)
ADATA SE720
4649 Points ∼93%
Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB
4983 Points ∼100% +7%
Samsung 470 256 GB
4732 Points ∼95% +2%
Intel 525 180 GB
4892 Points ∼98% +5%
Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HDD
2138 Points ∼43% -54%

Legend

 
ADATA SE720 Intel Core i7-4750HQ, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720 USB 3.0
 
Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB Intel Core i7-2600K, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
 
Samsung 470 256 GB AMD A10-6800K, AMD Radeon HD 8670D, Samsung SSD 470 Series MZ-5PA256/EU
 
Intel 525 180 GB Intel Core i7-4750HQ, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180B3
 
Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HDD Intel Core i5-4300M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630

Verdict

The ADATA External SSD SE720 is a robust and silent external storage solution. Our tests prove that it is significantly faster than external hard drives. Although the drive cannot reach the claimed rate of 400 MB/s in writing (best result: 387 MB/s in the ATTO 512 test), the results are very good and partly reach slow internal SSDs'.

So, the SE720 is especially suitable for users copying big amounts of data. The current street price of the 128 GB model is alright, but it is certainly much higher than that of external hard drives.

In our opinion, the only weakness is the included ADATA Sync Software, which could not find the SSD in our test model in our test.

The ADATA SE720 is currently available from 109 Euro at Amazon.de.


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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review ADATA DashDrive Elite SE720 External SSD
Author: Klaus Hinum, 2014-03-19 (Update: 2014-03-20)