Some motherboards have a limit on the speed at which the USB ports can be accessed, and cap them at 25mb/s which is slower than the advertised speed of the ToughDrive Mini. We used the drive on several motherboards with a variety of past and present chipsets (inc. 680i) from various manufacturers and the speeds were all the same.
|Processor||AMD AM2 6000+ Dual Core|
|Motherboard||Biostar TA690G AM2|
|RAM||Corsair XMS2 6400 2GB (2x1GB)|
|HDD||Maxtor DiamondMax 20 80GB SATA|
|Power supply||Jeantech Storm 700w|
|Graphics card||Onboard – ATI Xpress 1250 series|
To test the USB drive we run several synthetic benchmarks in order to determine the speed of the drive in relation to others in the same environment. The tests that we run are easily repeatable by anyone. Each test is repeated three times and the average taken to ensure accuracy. If one of the tests is wildly different from the rest, all the results are scrapped and retaken. It should be noted that a fresh installation of Windows XP was used to carry out the testing.
First comes SiSoft Sandra Lite XIIc’s removable media test which determines the number of operations per second for varying file sizes, and also the endurance factor of the drive which gives an impression of how long the drive will last. We also use HD Tach to determine the hardware speed of the device. HD Tach uses low level hardware drivers in order to bypass any software that may stand between getting the highest transfer speed. By design, this means that the figures shown by HD Tach can never be reached in a real world scenario but is useful when used in conjunction with other benchmarks.
Next is HD Tune which gives maximum, average and minimum read speeds of the drive, and also the CPU usage along with burst read speed and access speed.
The final test is a real-world test which gives you an example of how the drive performs with a standard file transfer. 900mb of 65 files of varying size is transferred to the drive, and then copied back; giving read and write speeds. This will always be slower than the advertised speed as smaller files take longer than bigger files to transfer, as each small file requires space to be allocated, the file to be transferred, then finished etc. The figure from this test is represented as mb/s by dividing 900 by the amount of time taken.
|Name||512B||32KB||256KB||2MB||64MB||Combined index||Endurance factor|
|Lexar JumpDrive Secure II 4GB||6313||4964||1601||220||8||3939||81.5|
|ATP ToughDrive Mini 2GB||2381||13808||4491||680||22||9543||24.5|
|ATP Petito 2GB||16122||13346||4392||674||22||10527||22.4|
|OCZ ATV Turbo 4GB||16465||11377||4133||607||22||9272||22.2|
|Corsair Voyager GT 8GB||13813||10706||4090||611||22||8591||22.2|
The ToughDrive Mini manages a respectable second place score in Sandra of 9543 but it seems to be let down by the 512b area where it scored much less than the other drives in the line up.
Looking at HD Tune, you can see that the ToughDrive Mini is the fastest. Not by a massive margin, but 0.1mb/s which could easily be attributed to testing anomaly although each test was repeated three times for precision.
For our 900mb file transfer test, the ToughDrive Mini is the fastest in the read stakes by 0.5 mb/s while it gets a second place in the write arena, losing out by 0.7mb/s to its sister Petito. Looks like once again the advertised speed that ATP have written is actually possible to reach.
HD Tune tells us that the access speed of the ToughDrive Mini is 0.5ms which makes it easily usable with ReadyBoost. HD Tach agrees with this speed, although slightly lower at 0.4ms. While HD Tune reports a maximum speed of 30.8 mb/s which puts it in pole position while HD Tach says that it can read at 32.3 mb/s which leaves it trailing in fourth position.
For CPU usage, if you are really worried about the difference between 4% and 7% when copying a file, you need to consider an upgrade soon. The figures are only included for your reference should such things interest.