With how popular content creation has become in recent years, fast reliable storage has never been more important. But, even higher-end boards only have so many M.2 slots, and processors only have so many PCIe lanes available for storage devices. But with the speeds offered by USB 3.2 Gen2 and the versatility of the USB Type-C connector, many companies are now offering external SSD offerings with speeds that exceed that of your traditional SSD. For example, the SE800 from ADATA. The SE800 is the focus of this review.
The SE800 from ADATA is an external SSD that runs on USB 3.2 Gen2 with a Type-C. The Se800 offers speeds up to 1000 MB/s on both the sequential read and write speeds. With its IP68 rating, the SE800 is said to be shock-resistant, dust-proof and even waterproof. But, can it withstand the pure clumsiness of this review? We put the SE800 through our normal suite of storage benchmarks, as well as a few special physical designed just for this review. So, how well did the SE800 hold up? Let’s find out.
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||72.7 x 44 x 12.2 mm / 2.8 x 1.7 x 0.4 inch|
|Weight||40g / 1.4oz|
|Interface||USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C|
|Operating temperature||0°C (32°F) to 35°C (95°F)|
|Op. Voltage||DC 5V, 900mA|
|System requirements||Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10 Mac OS X 10.6 or later Linux Kernel 2.6 or later Android 5.0 or later|
|Accessories||USB 3.2 Type-C to C cable, USB 3.2 Type-C to A cable, Quick Start Guide|
|Warranty||3-year limited warranty|
|Note||1. SE800 dust and waterproof ratings apply only when the USB port cover is firmly closed. 2. The product includes USB-C to USB-C cable and USB-C to USB-A Cable. Connection to MicroUSB requires separate cable, not included. 3. Please note that USB 3.1 Gen2 and USB 3.2 Gen2 are the same specification and feature the same performance capabilities. The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) recently rebranded USB 3.1 Gen2 to USB 3.2 Gen2. For more information about the change, please visit the US|
B-IF website at www.usb.org.
Packaging and Unboxing
The front of the box for the SE800 has the ADATA logo at the top left. To the right is their famous hummingbird mascot. Under the ADATA logo is the SE800 External SSD product branding. In the center of the packaging are the words Ultra Fast USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C. Across the bottom is an image of the SE800, as well as the capacity of the drive. Our sample was the 512 GB model.
The rear of the box has information such as product specifications, system requirements and package contents in nine languages. The term EXternal USB 3.2 Gen2 SSD is printed in 22 languages. There is also a QR code that when scanned, takes you directly to the product page for the SE800.
The ADATA SE800 comes packed in a two-piece plastic shell. The SE800 is placed in the center of the plastic shell. It comes packed with two cables. There is a USB Type-C to Type-C cable, as well as a USB Type-A to Type-C cable.
A Closer Look at the ADATA SE800
The ADATA SE800 is a very lightweight and compact external SSD. The ADATA Se800 weighs in at only 40 grams or 1.4 ounces. The SE800 is so small, it can fit into the 5th pocket on most jeans. The overall measurements of the ADATA SE800 are 72.7 x 44 x 12.2 mm or 2.8 x 1.7 x 0.4 inch. The SE800 is about 2/3 the size of a credit card. The 512 GB variant we received to review comes in blue. However, the SE800 also comes in black. The ADATA SE800 runs through the USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C interface. The best part about the Type-C connector, no more plugging the cable in wrong. However, the SE800 is also backward compatible with USB 2.0. Running the SE800 on USB 2.0 will affect speeds. The ADATA SE800 comes packed with a USB 3.2 Type-C to C cable, USB 3.2 Type-C to A cable and a Quick Start Guide. The SE800 comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
The ADATA SE800 has an IP68 rating. This means the SE800 is dust-proof and resistant to sand and dirt. The IP68 rating also says the ADATA SE800 is resistant to submersion underwater for up to 30 minutes, at a depth of up to 1.5 meters. Given is is as long as the cover on the left is tightly sealed. There is another cap on the tight that can be removed, but was rather difficult to remove. The SE800 also meets the MILSTD-810G 516.6 impact resistance standard so it can survive accidental drops and even being stepped on by a certain reviewer, with no issues.
The SE800 is compatible with Windows, MAC OS, and Android. The SE800 allows for fast transfers, even between platforms. The SE800 can transfer files up to 12.5 times faster than a traditional external hard drive. Through USB 3.2 Gen2, the SE800 is capable of transferring a 50 GB 4k file in as little as 50 seconds. The ADATA SE800 can run with either a USB 3.2 Type-C to C cable or a USB 3.2 Type-C to A cable and comes packed with both. The SE800 is backward compatible as far back as USB 2.0. However, you’ll take a hit on speedrunning the SE800 on USB 2.0 or USB 3.0.
Taking apart an SSD is a standard part of any SSD review we do. However, the SE800 was a bit more tricky than the average drive to disassemble. There were no screws involved, just bruit force. None the less, it did come apart. The end cap that isn’t meant to be removed has a thick rubber grommet around it, helping give the SE800 it’s IP68 rating. The actual PCB snaps into a small black tray that slides into the brushed aluminum housing.
I had expected to see a regular M-Key M.2 drive, just a Type 2242 drive, as opposed to the Type-2280 we are all so used to. I assumed the PCB would just be an M.2 to Type-C adapter. However, I was wrong. The drive uses ADATA memory modules, There are two on the drive we received for this review. However, you can see spots for two more on the opposite side of the PCB. The actual NAND used on the SE800 is Micron 3D TLC. TCL stands for triple-level cell NAND. TCL NAND stores three bits of data per cell. 3D NAND allows for higher density storage at lower costs by stacking memory cells vertically on a chip.
The ADATA SE800 uses an Innogrit Shasta (IG5208) NVMe controller and BGA SSD form factors for drives up to 2TB capacity. Using the PCIe Gen3x2 interface and NVMe1.3 standard, Shasta features a DRAM-less architecture with the full support of the Host Memory Buffer (HMB) function. The Shasta NVMe controller supports SLC, MLC, TLC, and QLC NAND.
Test System, Testing Procedures and Benchmarks
The ADATA SE800 was tested a bit differently from other SSDs I’ve personally tested in the past. Sure, we ran all the same benchmarks with the drive both empty, and at 75% capacity. However, it was the use cases that were different for the SE800 than other drives we’ve tested previously. First off, this is an external SSD. So it doesn’t just run through SATA 6 or PCIe. Rather, the SE800 runs through the USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C interface. So, the SE800 is good for more than plugging it into your PC and leaving it there forever.
We recently attended CES 2020. Anyone who covers this event knows that getting content up fast is the key to success with getting people to view CES content. This is where the SE800 began to shine. In the past, we’d spend the day, or the week taking pictures, then dump them at the end of the convention. Next, we’d spend a week sifting through images for the best ones. However, with the SE800 hooked up to my Sony A7III, I could take images directly to the SE800. Then, simply plug the drive into my phone, edit on the Photoshop mobile app, and have high res images on social media within minutes, not hours or even days. No more pretending my cell phone takes great images.
|Component||Product Name||Provided By|
|Processor||Intel Core I7-9700k||Retail Purchase|
|Motherboard||Z90 Aorus Pro||Gigabyte|
|Memory||Aorus RGB Memory 16 GB (2 x 8GB) 3200 MHz CAS 16||Gigabyte|
|Drive (OS)||Crucial P1 1TB||Crucial|
|Video Card||Aorus RTX 2080 Waterforce||Gigabyte|
|Monitor||LG 27UL500-W 27″ 3840×2160 @ 60 Hz||Retail Purchase|
|Case||Thermaltake Core P5||Retail Purchase|
|Power Supply||850 Watt EVGA SuperNova Ps 80+ Platinum Power Supply||Retail Purchase|
|Operating System||Windows 10 x64 Pro with latest patches and updates|
|Anvil’s Storage Utility|
|ATTO Disk Benchmark|
Anvil’s Storage Utilities
Anvil’s Storage Utilities is a powerful, older, yet still relevant performance measurement tool for traditional hard drives and SSDs. The tool can monitor, and test read and write speeds on hard drives while also providing information from the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) that provides basic information about the disk and its parameters, including partitions and volumes.
AS SSD Benchmark
AS SSD Benchmark is a simple and portable utility which helps you measure the effectiveness and performance of any solid-state (SSD) drives connected to your system. It will test “Seq”, “4K”, “4K-64Thrd” and Access Time. In the end, it will give your SSD a score. 4K tests the read/write abilities by access random 4K blocks while the Sequential test measures how fast the drive can read a 1GB file.
In the AS SSD benchmark, our SE800 hit speeds of 957.57 MB/s on the sequential read speed and 925.33 MB/s on the sequential write speed with the drive empty. At 75% capacity, our SE800 did slightly better on the read speeds with a speed of 952.42 MB/s. However, the SE800 did suffer a bit on the sequential write speeds with a write speed of 901.38 MB/s with the drive 75% full.
The AS SSD copy benchmark measures speed in MB/s. This test threw me for a loop at first. I had to restest twice to make sure these results weren’t skewed for any reason. The ADATA SE800 did far better with an empty drive on the AS SSD Copy benchmark. For the Games file, the SE800 transferred a file at a speed of 337.4 MB/s with the drive at 75% capacity and 957.97 MB/s with the drive empty. The Program file was transferred at a speed of 279.63 MB/s with the SE800 at 75% capacity, and 528.11 MB/s with the SE800 empty. The ISO file was more of the same. The ISO file was transferred at a speed of 611.43 MB/s with the SE800 at 75% capacity and 937.48 MB/s with the SE800 empty.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
The ATTO Disk Benchmark utility was designed to measure regular disk drive performance. However, it’s more than capable of measuring both USB flash drive and SSD speeds as well. The utility measures disk performance rates for various sizes of files and displays the results in a bar chart showing read and write speeds at each file size. The results are displayed in megabytes per second.
The ATTO Disk Benchmark is my go-to storage benchmark for one-off testing when checking the validity of a drive. The SE800 did better in ATTO with the drive empty. ATTO was the benchmark in which out SE800 offered the best overall read speeds. With the SE800 at 75% capacity, ATTO gave us a result of 994.17 MB/s on the read speed. With the SE800 empty, the drive hit a speed of 1003.92 MB/s. The write speeds followed the same pattern with write speeds of 928.3 MB/s with the drive at 75% capacity and 938.58 MB/s with the SE800 empty.
“CrystalDiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives. Currently, the program allows users to measure sequential and random read/write speeds.”
The sequential read speeds in Crystal Disk Mark 5 were very close with the SE800 doing slightly better with the drive being empty. At 75% capacity, the SE800 achieved a sequential read speed of 964.6 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 933.2 MB/s. With the SE800 empty, it came out ahead of the drive a 75% capacity with a sequential read speed of 966.4 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 948.8 MB/s.
Seeing as how the ADATA SE800 is backward compatible, we decided to see how well it ran through not only USB 3.2 Gen2 but also USB3.0 and USB 2.0. For these tests, we only used the ATTO Disk Benchmark. All three tests were run with the SE800 empty.
As the graphs will show, the SE800 did terrible running through USB 2.0 and this use case is not recommended for the SE800. In the ATTO Disk Benchmark, the SE800 averaged about 37 MB/s on the sequential read and about 42 MB/s on the sequential write speeds. The SE800 did slightly better running on USB 3.0. The SE800 ran at about 442 MB/s on the sequential read speed and about 432 MB/s on the sequential write speed. It goes without question the SE800 did best running though USB 3.2 Gen2. The SE800 hit a read speed of 1003.92 MB/s and 938.58 MB/s on the write speed.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
When I first received the SE800 from ADATA, I had expected this to be just another storage review. But I can sometimes admit when I’m wrong. At least to our readers I can. The ADATA SE800 was the most surprising sample I’ve reviewed in some time. For a content creator, an external SSD is a must. I have various external SSDs and hard drives laying around. However, none are as versatile as the SE800 from ADATA. The Type-C connector gives the SE800 a wide range of devices it can work with, not just PCs. I have eleven devices in my home that the SE800 works on natively that include PCs, laptops, tablets, phones, and cameras. Not to mention the SE800 is also compatible with both the PS4 and XBOX One and XBOX One X. I was even able to install Windows 10 on the SE800 and run the OS off the SE800.
The SE800 can be used for more than just storage. Currently, our sample SE800 has the Windows 10 ISO files for installing Windows 10 saved on it. I’ve also been using it to update the BIOS on my several computers and even have a Linux distro installed on it, just to play around with. Top that with the fact that running through a USB 3.2 Gen2 connection, the SE800 essentially doubles the speed of the average SATA 6 SSD. Even running through USB 3.0, the SE800 had speeds comparable to that of an older 2.5″ SSD. At the time of this review, you can pick up the 512 GB variant of the SE800 on Amazing for only $99.99 or the 1 TB variant for $189.99. Given, this is a bit more than the average 512 GB NVMe SSD. However, the versatility of this drive is priceless. If you’re a content creator, photographer or are just in the market for an external drive, check out the ADATA SE800, you will not be disappointed.