As the USB 3.0 standard becomes more prominent in laptops and PCs, so will portable Solid State Hard Drives (SSDs). SSDs are substantially faster than traditional hard drives, not to mention they use a lot less power, have no moving parts, and can even be built into smaller enclosures. OCZ, one of the leading SSD manufacturers, has recently launched their Enyo line of portable SSDs. We were lucky enough to get our hands on this blazing fast portable drive. Dive in to see what we thought.
The minimalistic packaging includes the Enyo Solid State Hard Drive wrapped in an anti-static bag, one USB 3.0 Micro-B cable, an OCZ sticker, and a user guide.
The OCZ Enyo Portable SSD is shaped unlike any portable USB hard drive you have seen. For starters, it’s very thin with tapered edges, measuring just under a centimeter thick. It is also much narrower than your run-of-the-mill portable USB drive, at 5.5cm wide. It is thinner and narrower than iPhone 4, and just a bit longer. It feels so light you’ll wonder if there’s anything inside the anodized aluminum housing. It’s just 87.7 grams.
There’s no doubt it’s an attractive looking drive, and what makes it even sexier is that it houses an SSD and doesn’t get toasty or humm/whirl/vibrate. There are two small blue LED indicators on the top of the device. The included USB 3.0 Micro-B cable is white, thick, and also pretty long. The cable is so thick and rigid that it may not always allow the Enyo to lay flat. This was one of the very few caveats.
The ultra-portable OCZ Enyo Portable SSD is available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB varieties. They all use MLC NAND flash memory and feature 64MB of on-board cache. While it is a USB 3.0 drive, it’s backward compatible with older USB interfaces. It works with Windows XP/Vista/7 and Linux. It works on Mac, but only USB 2.0 for now–Apple hasn’t adopted the USB 3.0 standard yet, so this is not a surprise. The 128GB and 256GB Enyo drives are capable of hitting 260MB/s read speed and 200MB/s write speed, which is extremely fast. The 64GB model can read/write at 225MB/s & 135MB/s, also extremely fast. The drives can run 10 times as fast using USB 3.0 instead of 2.0. The drives don’t require an external power adapter, they are powered through USB. There is a 3-year warranty included. Some additional tech specs for the Enyo drives: they can withstand shock up to 1500G, the MTBF is 1.5 million hours, seek time is under .1ms, they can operate from 0ºC to 70ºC, and can store from -45ºC to 85ºC, and use 2.4W when operating and 1.1W when idling.
OCZ Enyo is very fast, very portable, very durable, and cool as a cucumber. The main drawback is that to make the most of the speed performance, you need USB 3.0, which is just starting to gain momentum. For those of us that actually use a laptop on their lap, the Enyo is ideal because it doesn’t need to sit still or lay flat. There are no moving parts so it won’t skip, slow down, or corrupt from movement… plus it has a tight connection that keeping it from easily unplugging. Suddenly, portable hard drives are no longer the delicate flower we know them as. Enyo is tough and can withstand casual wear and tear, even while it’s plugged in. The cable is very thick and rigid, but unfortunately will have some control over how the drive sits. I had no problems getting the drive to work on my Mac (USB 2.0) or PC (USB 2.0 and 3.0). The drive does not require any drivers to use, however the drivers available from OCZ.com will give the drive a very nice performance boost. It comes unformatted, so it will not appear in “My Computer” until it is formatted.
When it comes to performance, the OCZ Enyo is far from disappointing. That is, as long as it’s running via USB 3.0. Running on USB 2.0, it’s just slightly faster than a regular portable hard drive, the difference is barely noticeable. On my Desktop PC, over USB 3.0, I was getting read speeds of about 171MB/s and write speeds of about 106MB/s versus about 37MB/s read/write for my 120GB WD Passport Portable Hard Drive.
I transferred a 700MB Movie from my internal hard drive (OCZ Agility 2 SSD) to the OCZ Enyo in 8.3 seconds. It took 23 seconds to transfer the movie to my WD Passport. It took 27.1 seconds to transfer 500 MP3s (2GB) to the Enyo, while it took 1 minute 23 seconds to transfer it to the WD Passport.
On Amazon, the OCZ Enyo’s are retailing for $175, $279, and $667 for the 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB respectively. Traditional portable hard drives of the same storage capacities retail for under $100. OCZ Enyo is pricey, but it could definitely be worth it. The transfer speeds are basically the fastest out there for anything portable. Furthermore, Enyo’s aren’t just portable, but they’re very durable, which is certainly a quality we like to see when storing our priceless data. It’s unfortunate that you can’t boot Windows off of USB, because it would be very fast with one of these, though you can still boot Linux. Overall, you may not have a need for a portable solid state drive at the moment, but if you did, the OCZ Enyo would be it.
The Good: Fast, Light, Portable, Durable, Backward Compatible, Power Efficient, Completely Silent
The Bad: Pricey, Requires USB 3.0 for Speed Performance, Can’t boot Windows OS, Read and Write speeds did not reach capabilities