Review Verbatim SSD ExpressCard 32 GB
This SSD-drive from Verbatim is a rather unusual expansion for the ExpressCard slot; we will put it through its paces if it is in fact fast, compact, and easy to use.
With a weight of 21 grams and dimensions of 34x75x5mm, Verbatim's SSD ExpressCard is a veritably small storage solution. Be it shirt pockets, billfolds or notebook cases, the small card is compact enough to be taken anywhere.
Currently the SSD is available in 16, 32, and 64 GB capacities. We tested the middle variant (32 GB) which is available for around 100 Euro.
We tested the card with an HP Probook 6540b/ Lenovo X201 and upon inserting the card it slides completely into the case. As the dimensions of the ExpressCard slot are a standard size, this situation should be similar when it comes to other notebooks. As soon as contact is made the automatic Windows driver installation begins and the drive is available for use shortly thereafter without having to restart.
The scope of delivery includes Nero's "Backup 4 Essentials", Mac-drivers and a Speedbooster driver to use under Windows XP (not tested). According to Verbatim, the Nero software is only compatible with Windows Vista, XP and 2000, though the installation worked fine under Windows 7 64-bit. Due to the drivers use with a Mac is very difficult, as current models (with the exception of the 17-inch model) no longer support ExpressCard expansion.
The transfer rates we measured almost meet those values expected from the manufacturer: 118 MB/s during sequential read and up to 40 MB/s when writing. Access time, at 0.7 ms, is excellent. An advantage here is that the slot is connected directly to the PCI-Express interface, which has enough bandwidth to make the high-speed transfer rates possible. Alternative uses in the ExpressCard format include a USB-interface, though transfer rates of only around 20 MB/s can be expected. Far behind this is also the 32 GB Verbatim Executive USB stick, which we have already tested.
After some time the ExpressCard slot becomes quite warm, though this is a subjective observation and a critical heat level is never realized during operation.
Theoretical uses for the SSD could be for fast data exchange, data security or extra storage space without having to remove drives that are already plugged in.
With the SSD ExpressCard 32GB, Verbatim is offering a very interesting storage solution which was able to convince us with its high speeds and compact dimensions. An advantage to popular USB sticks is that the SSD fits flush into the ExpressCard port, meaning that it does not need to be removed from the chassis during transport.
Our only point of contention is the high price, around 3.20 Euro per GB, which is much higher than similar 2.5-inch solid state drives. Despite this, it is priced competitively against eSATA sticks as well as being able to claim the above features