I would like to thank Silicon Power for providing the review sample.
Silicon Power has been around for a very long time and offers every type of storage product out there. This includes flash drives and external hard drives. We are fortunate enough to take a look at their latest USB 3.0 unit called Stream S10 with 750 GB capacity. The external hard drive ships in two different colors: orange or green. Both choices are rather vivid, which seems to come across quite well with the select group of people I have showed this to.
- USB 3.0 Super Speed (High transferring rate up to 5 Gbps)
- Metalic painting and polish
- LED status indicator light
- Available in orange or green
- Dimensions: 134.2x78.8x17.7mm
- Weight: 145g
- 3 years warranty
The drive ships in a black cardboard package with a large window. This allows the prospective buyer to inspect the drive without having to open the box. A large "Ultra 10x" logo can be found on the front. I am guessing this is in reference to the performance increase over a USB 2.0 drive, but that would not really make any sense as the hard drive itself is the bottleneck in a system like this. The Stream S10 would require an SSD to be able to offer a magnitude of 10x the speed of USB 2.0. You may also download a program called SPWidget here
. It mainly offers a backup functionality along with a test version of Norton Antivirus.
The inner shell also has a cardboard sheet, with the same logos on it. This is a bit odd, as you wont be able to see any of this unless you take the drive out of the box.
Looks like even though Silicon Power has placed a URL on the box, it also ships the application with the drive itself on an 8 cm CD. You will also receive a stylish carrying case and a simple but effective manual. Naturally, a USB 3.0 cable can also be found within the package.
A Closer Look
Taking a closer look at the Stream S10, the overall design and feel of the unit is really good. I have asked numerous people what their opinion is of this external enclosure and all of them liked it. While you may think that the neon green is not the best choice, the slight metallic look and the smooth surface really work well together. Turning the device over, the underside shows you what capacity the drive has, along with various certification logos and a "Made in Taiwan" text. So no "Made in China" on this one.
There is a single connector which can be found on the right side towards the front end of the device. As USB 3.0 can supply enough power for such a drive under any circumstances and USB 2.0 worked flawlessly as well.
There is no reason to open the Stream S10 up, but for the sake of this review I have done so. Two tiny screws hold the unit in place in the front, while plastic clips get the job done in the rear. As you can see, a Toshiba MK7559GSXP is used as storage. The drive spins with 5400 RPM and comes with 8 MB cache and 4 KB sectors. This drive sells bare without any warranty in the EU, but Silicon Power still offers 3 years with the device. The ASMedia ASM1051 single chip USB 3.0 controller takes care of interface.
The LED in the front lights up blue once connected to the host computer. It blinks when data is being transfered.
Taking a look at the USB 3.0 interface, it is obviously held back by the hard drive. Not even the newest SATA-III SSDs are able to hit the maximum of 640 MB/s the USB 3.0 interface is capable of. That said, it is better than other USB 3.0 drives we have benched in the past.
ATTO shows performance well over 100 MB/s in both read and write, as the benchmark stays within the inner circle of the platters. Nevertheless, the Toshiba drive does a great job considering it is only 5400 RPM.
USB 2.0 performance is a straight line, as the internal drive never becomes slower than the interface itself. This is a good thing and the Stream S10 manages to deliver over 35.2 MB/s read and a very good 30.7 MB/s write performance. So even if you do not own USB 3.0 yet, the Stream S10 is a good choice. This performance puts the drive in the higher half of our fairly large USB 2.0 performance line-up. In real life you will not really notice the slight difference in speed between the faster ones. In terms of writes the unit actually beats the ADATA CH11 USB 3.0 hard drive, but is beaten by the Vantec 1TB Store'n'Go USB 3.0.
ATTO gives us a similar image, but the read speed is similar, even though the benchmark doesn't break 35 MB/s in terms of read performance. This is due to the little ripple we can see in HDTach. This boosts the overall score to above the 35 MB/s mark.
Value and Conclusion
- The Silicon Power Stream S10 will set you back around 78 Euros, which is the same price as some other brand name external hard drives with 1 TB sell for. Interestingly enough the Stream S10 750 GB goes for a mere 82 US Dollars on Amazon, which is naturally much cheaper and equals a mere 69 € including German taxes for example.
- Very good USB 3.0 performance
- Good USB 2.0 performance
- Noticeable performance boost from USB 3.0
- Cool looking metallic color choices
- Sleek and lightweight design
- Carrying pouch included
- SPWidget application included
- 3 years warranty
- Expensive compared to other USB 3.0 drives in the EU.
- "Ultra 10X" naturally cannot be expected, but unknowing users may be disappointed
- No frills drive
- Colors may not be for everyone - but apparently most like it.
A lot of manufacturers are utilizing the new USB 3.0 interface to bring out new hard drive enclosures. Naturally, Silicon Power is one of these companies. The Stream S10 looks really cool, is very sleek and light weight. The choice of hard drive is also a wise one, as the Toshiba MK7559GSXP offers plenty of performance to justify the price tag. On the other hand, Silicon Power advertises a 10x multiplier in performance which is naturally unattainable by a mechanical drive or even a SATA 6 Gbps SSD. With very good performance in both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 the biggest hurdle is price. Currently the drive sells for just under 80 Euro, while other, similar ones from other brand name manufacturers go for just above 60 Euro. While this is partially due to availability, as the Stream S10 cannot be found in as many shops in the online price comparison, when compared to the cheaper ones out there, in the end this is probably what will sway the customer.
I for one really like the Stream S10, as it combines cool looks, nifty colors, very good performance, compact and lightweight design and a nice set of extras, but unless we see a price tag of less than 70€, it is hard to recommend it for Europeans at the moment. If Silicon Power can get the price to the same level as in the US, then the Stream S10 wholeheartedly deserves a recommendation.