Review OCZ Enyo USB 3.0 portable solid state drive

By: Tobias Winkler, 09/10/2010

Fast, faster, fastest?

OCZ offers a fast Solid State Drive with USB 3.0 interface in an elegant case. Read on to learn about its advantages and whether it delivers a good performance in practice.

noble content inside an elegant box
noble content inside an elegant box

The current generation of Solid State Drives has overcome the difficulties of the first models. Often, they just differ in terms of performance and capacity. Partly, they clearly outperform usual hard drives. Only their steep prices hinder that they get more widely spread. At the time of writing they cost at least about 1.50 Euro per GB. Depending on the model, they can even be clearly more expensive. Therewith, the memory costs more than 10-times as much as e.g. a 2.5 inch hard drive with a capacity of 500GB and a revolution speed of 7200 rpm and just 12 ct/GB.

In terms of price the OCZ Enyo is not different. At the time of writing it costs about 155.- euro (64 GB),  280.- euro (128 GB) up to 600.- euro (256 GB).  Our test sample has a capacity of 128 GB Speicher and is, at a price of 2.20 euro/GB, the most reasonable model.

The external drive comes inside an elegant retail box and impresses with its simple, but fine aluminum case at the first glance. The size of about 12 x 5.6 x 0.9 cm is visibly smaller than any 2.5" hard drive. The weight of 75 g is clearly lower than the manufacturer information (87.7 g). Together with the cable (about 50 g) it should not add too much to the weight for a daily mobile use. In comparison: A Kingston Solid State Drive of the Now V Series weighs 86 g. On the case there are just the USB 3.0 interface on the rear and two unobtrusive indicator-LEDs. Less is more.

Test

performance driver
performance driver
absolutely top of all external storage solutions we have tested so far
absolutely top of all external storage solutions we have tested so far
standard driver
standard driver

The OCZ Enyo came with a standard driver preinstalled, which was soon updated by a performance  driver. The later is not yet available on OCZ's support side. We tested both to find out the differences. Our test system is the MSI 880GMA-E45 mainboard with 2 NEC USB 3.0 ports, which is already well known from some of our reviews. We used Windows 7 64bit Home Premium as operating system.

Already the first runs with the standard driver give rather good results. We tested using the Crystal Disk Mark 2.2 in its default settings. Though we repeated the test multiple times, the results did only marginally deviate. The drive achieves 178 MB/s in sequential reading, 117 MB/s with 512k blocks and still 16 MB/s with 4k blocks. During the write test the high write rate at 512 blocks is particularly striking. It hardly differs from the write rate at sequential writing. To summarize, the performance is good considering it is an external drive.

Using the performance driver, which is not yet officially released and which we got solely for testing proposes, the results even improved. The drive achieved 238 MB/s at sequential reading and 180 MB/s at sequential writing. First of all, these value tie the record of the USB 3.0 interface in our test system. Secondly, these are the best results we recorded for external drives so far. A similar performance gain can be recorded at reading and writing 512k blocks. However, the results stayed the same when reading 4k blocks, while the write test was interrupted by an error message again and again. The access time of 0.2 ms is typical for SSD drives and does not allow a delay.

We could hardly achieve such high results in combination with USB 3.0 interfaces in notebooks so far, because their USB-3.0 chips had a performance limit of about 120 MB/s.

During mobile use the OCZ Enyo is powered via USB-3.0. We tested it with multiple interfaces (also USB-2.0) and could not detect any problems. The drive always worked reliable and was recognized by the computer at once.

Verdict

The OCZ Enyo USB 3.0 already delivers a very good performance with its standard driver. Compared to other external, mobile storage solutions it brings a big performance advantage about. Because it is light and small, it also has premium mobile properties. The only, yet important disadvantage is its high price. At  the time of writing the top model costs about 280.- Euro.

In Review: OCZ Enyo USB 3.0 portable SSD
In Review: OCZ Enyo USB 3.0 portable SSD
The USB 3.0 interface is efficiently used by the OCZ Enyo
The USB 3.0 interface is efficiently used by the OCZ Enyo
Only a single cable, which also powers the device, is needed
Only a single cable, which also powers the device, is needed
small, light, and robust: ideal for mobile use
small, light, and robust: ideal for mobile use

Shortcut

What we like

Consequently executed USB 3.0 storage device with high transfer rates, also fit for mobile use.

What we miss

that the prices finally fall, so that such devices get affordable

What surprises us

that the USB 3.0 Controller of the OCZ Enyo can deliver full performance

The competition

is with the ADATA's Nobility N002 well defined. However, its performance is according to the manufacturer 200 MB/s during reading and 170 MB/s during writing, which is slower than the OCZ Enyo and its current price of 360.- euro is clearly above our 128 GB test model.

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Author: Tobias Winkler, 2010-09-21 (Update: 2012-05-26)