Wintec Industries FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD Review
Just how fast data storage technology has advanced over the years, it never stops amazing me. It always advances at such incredible speed, and once you think you have the best, largest or fastest device, something other comes along that supersedes what was possible.
Recently, I had the chance at sharing with you two truly unique USB flash drives where one was tiny and the other being tough and rugged. Today I will be reviewing a new product from Wintec Industries that is based on the newer SSD technology, which has been gaining much attention. SSD (solid-state drive) technology actually isn’t totally new but rather rearranges existing flash technology in order to provide a better alternative over traditional magnetic hard drives that we are accustomed to for so long. That is why the name is “solid-state drive”.
Since SSD is meant to be an alternative to the conventional hard drive but delivering the same benefits of flash technology, what are some of the advantages we can expect from an SSD over the usual magnetic based hard drive? Well for one, since there is no platter, spindle, head or moving parts, SSD by nature will emit less heat, one of the leading factors in traditional hard drive failure. Also since there are no moving parts, SSD by nature will emit zero noise such as a USB drive.
As with USB drives, SSD offers extreme levels of shock and vibration tolerance and offers a substantially higher operating temperature threshold than the conventional magnetic hard drive. You should be more worried about how hot your regular hard drive is running (maximum I would let a traditional hard drive reach is 50 degrees Celsius – mine runs at 30 degrees) than being worried about how hot your SSD is running (it can reach 70+ degrees in some cases with no ill effect). SSD’s more often than not will indeed run hot since their confined to small passive enclosures with little to no room for hot air to be dissipated. But as stated, with SSD’s there is no need to be afraid, unless it’s hot enough to melt hard plastic – then you’ve got a big problem.
About Wintec Industries
“Wintec is a leading independent designer, manufacturer and supplier of value added memory modules to original equipment manufacturers. Our manufactured products include Memory storage, Communications, and Video devices which we offer to customers worldwide. Along with manufacturing, Wintec provides highly integrated supply chain management services which allow customers to gain better control of their global supply chain through complex IT systems and optimized planning tools. Wintec also carries partners with its distribution suppliers to provide IT systems, peripherals, system components, software and networking products for thousands of independent resellers across the globe.”
Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD Product Overview
The FileMate SolidGO ExpressCard 34 Ultra SSD is a NAND flash memory drive that is designed to provide a high performance, high capacity, plug-in removable storage for your notebook or portable device. The ExpressCard Ultra uses a high bandwidth PCI-Express interface that attains super fast direct access to the SSD and has a built-in mini USB 2.0 connector on the other end to allow connectivity to systems without an available ExpressCard port and double as a portable external hard drive for easy data transfer.
Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD Product Features and Specifications
By reading the overview, features and specifications for the Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD, we become aware that this product is targeted towards notebook users who have the ExpressCard interface available to their disposal. SSD hard drives come in different forms and for different usage (SSD with SATA interface to replace the traditional magnetic hard drive) but this SolidGO ExpressCard Ultra SSD is meant exclusively for notebooks that feature the ExpressCard/34 interface.
The ExpressCard interface will be the main interface you would want to utilize because it will allow the SolidGO ExpressCard Ultra SSD to perform to its fullest potential. The problem is that the ExpressCard slot is only offered on certain higher-end notebooks, which is a shame in my opinion but I can see why manufactures could have decided to do this – the notion that very little people use the ExpressCard slot. That probably does have some merit as I do believe USB is to blame but with the recent SSD movement being offered in ExpressCard format, Wireless N adapters offered in this format, etc, ExpressCard could have become more useful. Heck having an ExpressCard slot on lower-end laptops and netbooks would be awesome as you could avoid upgrading existing hard drives and just purchase an SSD as the Wintec FileMate SolidGO ExpressCard Ultra SSD for more hard drive space.
However, if you do not have an ExpressCard slot on your notebook, fear not because Wintec Industries was smart in adding a mini USB 2.0 port for added flexibility as everyone uses this standard. By using USB 2.0 though, you are not going to achieve 100% performance, something that this SSD is claimed to have – tons of speed.
That is definitely possible and I was fortunately enough to come across the great guys at SIIG Inc. who offers the ‘SIIG PCIe to ExpressCard Bay (part: JJ-000082-S1)’ that allows you to add a front-accessible ExpressCard slot to your PCIe desktop systems. The price is a reasonable $59.99US and has allowed me to review this Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD to its fullest potential, right on my desktop PC. I will be reviewing the ‘SIIG PCIe to ExpressCard Bay’ very soon to tell you how it works and if it’s worth purchasing.
The Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD comes in the usual loathed plastic blistering package that is bloody hard to open being stamped shut and all. It requires the use of scissors to open and even still it’s hard to pull apart.
We see a simple but attractive design that showcases an image of the SSD in the front, with certain selling factors such as the rated speed of up to 115MB/s (this is the read speed we’re talking about – but Wintec doesn’t mention this on the front, heck 115MB/s sounds better than 65MB/s so I don’t blame them) but it is only until they read the back that the 115MB/s is its rated read speed and 65MB/s is the rated write speed of the SSD device. I would have preferred Wintec had displayed both read and write speed on the front, it’s nothing to be ashamed about because 115/65 is pretty damn fast! The rear has dimensions and product features listed.
We also see that the Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD can work on both PC and MAC platforms. ExpressCard slots are offered on the higher end MacBooks (I recall the 13 and 15 inchers having an ExpressCard slot if that still remains true today – I’m not too sure about the new ones) and certain PC notebooks.
Open the box and you are presented with the following items…
I don’t think Wintec could have added anything else to their bundle, there is seriously nothing left to include, other than maybe a Wintec sticker. The included mini USB 2.0 cable is a nice addition even though it is quite short but that’s not really a problem with such a device.
However after using the Wintec SSD for almost two months, I really wanted a cover (whatever material) for the ExpressCard slot side of the SSD and it would be useful for times where the SolidGO SSD is being used with the mini USB 2.0 interface instead since you can use this as a USB drive essentially. You could even add in a rubber USB mini cover as well, that would be just as useful for longevity.
Let us now look at the Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD. The card is meant for the ExpressCard/34 slot so thus the dimensions reflect as such: 75mm x 34mm x 5mm. The SolidGO is covered by a thin aluminum enclosure and capped off with plastic ends. The enclosure isn’t super tough by any means because I could flex the outer shell a little bit and I’m sure you could actually snap the SSD like a “Kit Kat Bar” but for the most part, it’ll survive day to day usage fairly easily with the ability of being thrown on the desk, etc and still holding up without problems. A golden colored sticker is located at the front making it look nice as well as describing what it is.
Coming to the rear of the device we see more of the same. A plain white sticker indicating the product, model number and that is made in good old USA. We see certification symbols and the RoHS designation meaning it is environmentally friendly in a way.
One end contains the ExpressCard slot and the other contains the mini USB 2.0 port and green LED activity light for when under usage.
Performance and Results Testing
The Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD drive will be tested in the following programs to verify its speed ratings: HD Tach, HD Tune, FDBENCH, and Flash Memory Toolkit.
Also the Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD drive will be put through the stop-watch test verifying how long it takes to transfer 716MB and 1.36GB video files onto the SSD drive for both ExpressCard and USB interfaces. This is the same procedure conducted on recent USB drive reviews. I will compare its speed to the Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go USB drive only for fun and games but you already know how that will end.
Wintec Industries claims a read speed of 115MB/s and write speed of 65MB/s. On both fronts, those numbers are spot on. The Wintec SolidGO SSD is EXTREMELY fast under ExpressCard usage and I cannot believe how close the actual numbers are to the rated numbers. For speed freaks, this is definitely one of the fastest and most reliable drives you’ll come across.
Under ExpressCard interface, it manages according to CrystalDiskMark, 112.4MB/s read speed and 66.87MB/s write speed.
Equally impressive is the Wintec SolidGO’s USB2.0 performance. Under USB 2.0 interface, it manages according to Flash Memory Toolkit, 26137KB/s read speed and 21781KB/s write speed.
It’s essentially the fastest USB flash drive I’ve tested to date and literally trumps the Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go which I thought was already fast. The Wintec is on a whole different level of fast compared to most USB flash drives. It’s also essentially as fast as conventional hard drive enclosures (for example 3.5 or 2.5” inside USB enclosures) but on a much smaller scale. Obviously being limited to only USB 2.0, it’s not going to be faster than FireWire enclosures but that’s not really the point. The fact is that you will love the Wintec SolidGO SSD’s performance under either interface.
For another test, I timed how long it took to copy over a 716MB video file and a 1.36GB file to the Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD drive.
The results speak for themselves. This is insanely fast speeds we’re talking about. Under ExpressCard interface I can pull in a 1.36GB video file in only 37.8 seconds and a little over a minute under USB 2.0 interface. Under ExpressCard interface, it takes only 22.1 seconds to move a 716MB video file and only 32.3 seconds under USB interface. For a small miniature removable storage device such as the Wintec SolidGO, these speeds will satisfy most if not all people out there and is unheard of to experience something this small being lightning fast.
In case you have forgot, these are the times for how long it took to copy over a 716MB video file and a 1.36GB file to the 4GB Store ‘N’ Go.
I used and tested this Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD for close to two-months now and I have had zero problems regarding its reliability and usefulness. I totally can understand how useful such a device the Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD is when it can be used on a notebook/netbook computer. Notebook and netbook manufacturers listen up…Add ExpressCard slots to all of your product offerings.
What is not to like about the Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD? I literally cannot say anything negative about the performance aspect of this drive. It’s smoking fast. I really can’t say anything bad about the physical aspect of the drive. Construction for what it is, is highly sufficient for day to day usage but the only “nit-picks” I have is Wintec should include a cover for the ExpressCard slot side of the SSD and a cover for the mini USB port.
There’s nothing left to do but award the Wintec FileMate SolidGO 24GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD our Editor’s Choice Award.
Pros and Cons