MyDigitalSSD's BPX is one of the hottest consumer NVMe SSDs on the market. At CES, we learned that the new Boost portable is also the fastest external SSD available. The specifications show strong performance, but, on paper, the SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable SSD bests the Boost. Let's see if MyDigitalSSD's latest technology slays another storage industry giant.
We're always leery when a company makes glorified claims. We see it so often--the best, the fastest, the quietest, the loudest, and so on. No company issues a press release that says, "Our product is good, but another one is a little better."
The new Boost portable SSD certainly looks good. The drive ships with a pair of cables rather than just one and it uses the latest Asmedia high-performance USB to SATA RAID bridge chip--the same in SanDisk's Extreme 900. The company sells the drive as a vanilla enclosure without mSATA devices installed, or with two Samsung PM851 500GB mSATA SSDs installed for a combined capacity of 1TB.
Most users first reaction to a portable SSD is to balk at the cost. The SanDisk Extreme 900 960GB tips the scales at $463.99 on Amazon and the massive 1.92TB model we tested moves the needle to $867.33. Over the last several months, we've tested several low-cost portable SSD products that sell at desktop drive prices. The MyDigitalSSD Boost takes the same route even though it uses Samsung flash and a user-selectable RAID configuration to offer premium features like RAID 0 for high performance or RAID 1 for increased data integrity.
The MyDigitalSSD Boost ships in four SKUs that gives users two distinct choices during the buying process. You can buy the system without SSDs for roughly $50, or you can buy a device loaded with 1TB of flash for $280. The second is choice slightly easier; black or matte red for the color option.
Buying the enclosure with drives might be easier after looking at the scoreboard. MyDigitalSSD ships the loaded model with two Samsung OEM SSDs that offer high performance at a low price point. The drives use planar TLC, like the 840 EVO, but the performance is a little stronger and doesn't have the same performance degradation issues over time. We looked at Newegg and couldn't even find two 512GB-class SSDs for less than half of the loaded Boost price. Buying the loaded drive is your best option unless you plan to build your own 2TB drive with two 1TB mSATA SSDs.
The Boost uses an Asmedia ASM1352R USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) to SATA RAID/port multiplier with two SATA 6Gb/s ports. The control chip supports Asmedia's proprietary HydraTek Technology that features RAID 0 (stripe), RAID 1 (Mirror), JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) and Span (large) modes. The Boost ships preconfigured with RAID 0 to increase performance across the two drives.
The performance checks in at 830 MB/s sequential read and 730 MB/s sequential write with USB 3.1 Gen 2. The Boost is also compatible with older USB specifications, such as 2.0 and 3.0. The system ships with two 18-inch cables. Both have a micro USB-B connector on the device side and a USB Type-C or Type-A on the other end.
Pricing And Warranty
Pricing is fairly straightforward for the two options. The diskless Boost currently retails for $49.99 at Amazon. The loaded 1TB Boost is the lowest-priced portable SSD listed at Amazon. It currently sells for $279.99. Both carry a three-year warranty.
MyDigitalSSD already loaded our drive with two Samsung SSDs, so the screws were already in place. The DIY model ships with the screws and a small screwdriver in a bag. It includes everything you need except the drives.
A Closer Look
Portable SSDs fall into two distinct categories. The thin models are small enough to fit in a shirt pocket and look exciting, but usually offer low performance. Some are also comparatively fragile for a flash-based device. The second category is a little larger, features stronger enclosures and often increased performance.
An Inside Job
The enclosure invites us to peek inside. Two screws on either side provide access to the internals. A user-configurable DIP switch on one end allows you to change the RAID configuration. We left our drive in RAID 0 to take advantage of the advanced Asmedia USB-to-SATA RAID controller and utilize the full 10Gbps bandwidth.
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