No matter how much advancement in technology we see through the years one thing continues to stay unaltered and that's the continuously growing storage demands/needs for most enthusiasts and professionals. Personally for backup purposes only i use quite a few Terabytes and i know many others who use even more so i really hope that the 5TB HDD models will get released sooner rather than later (Q1 2013 is the projected date after all). Now as you all know lately we've been focusing most of our efforts into testing all the latest storage related devices to hit the market from internal devices such as SSDs and HDDs up to portable devices including USB flash drives and 3.5"/2.5" external HDDs. Still the market is huge, new models get released almost on a daily basis and so today in our hands we have yet another such device the Armor A15 1TB USB 3.0 2.5" portable hard drive from Silicon Power.
Silicon Power Computer & Communications Inc., founded in 2003 by a group of enthusiastic specialists in International Business, Global Marketing, and Technical Engineering of flash data storage industry. Well dedicated in brand image and product quality, Silicon Power has been recognized and well accepted by millions of end-users in more than 100 countries, becomes the world's leading manufacturer of flash memory cards, USB flash drives, card readers, DRAM modules, solid state disks, and portable hard drives in less than a decade. Headquartered in Taipei, we continuously established various branches throughout the world including Netherlands, Japan, Russia, Mainland China and other emerging market to reach the worldwide market. Silicon Power's overall performance has gradually drawn great attention worldwide. In 2006, we received Taiwan Rising Star Award for our foreign business achievement. In 2008, we won 17th National Outstanding Small & Medium Enterprise Award for our outstanding progress. Moreover, with superior quality and innovative design, our products stood out in several competitions and awarded Taiwan Excellence and COMPUTEX Design & Innovation Award in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Winning trust of global consumers, Silicon Power holds a record of successive double-digit revenue growth for last seven years. According to the Common Wealth Magazine's 2010 Survey of Taiwan Top 1000 Manufacturers, our 2009 revenue growth rate was ranked No.11 among Taiwan's top 1000 manufacturers, and even ranked No.1 in semiconductor industry. Positioned as Passionate, Creative and Hungry for Success, Silicon Power introduces products for users who are seeking individualized, unique and personal digital storage devices. With the mission of creating unprecedented experience for users, Silicon Power will endeavor to deliver a full range of high quality products that have innovative designs, distinctly unique features and comprehensive after sales services to create and fulfill your personal memory.
Much like the award winning Armor A80 the newly released A15 is also a rugged portable hard drive aimed mostly towards people who need/want the extra data protection offered by it. However unlike the anti-dust/pressure/shock and water resistant metal enclosure of the A80 the A15 features just a rubber anti-shock enclosure which is certainly not as durable but it does look and feel better (it actually looks like a sports accessory by Nike). That aside it also features USB 3.0 connectivity (5Gbps), is currently available in 3 different capacities (500GB/750GB/1TB), features an quick backup button that doubles as a blue activity LED, can be used the SP Widget free download software by Silicon Power and finally comes with 3 years warranty. All these sound great but how does it perform? Well that's what we're here to find out.
SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES
PACKAGING AND CONTENTS
Just like most PHDs by Silicon Power the Armor A15 gets shipped inside a cardboard package with a cut out section at the front from where you can take a look at the actual product prior to purchasing it.
Over at the left side SP has placed a list of the number of media files you can store on the drive.
A table showcasing the current capacity models of the Armor A15 line right above the features and system requirements of the unit are placed at the rear.
Aside the Armor A15 you will also get a user's manual and a USB 3.0 cable.
THE ARMOR A15 1TB
The Armor A15 features a sleek black/UV green rubber enclosure measuring 136mm in length, 82.5mm in width and 19.8mm in height and weighs a total of 200g.
The quick backup button is placed at the lower left side and is also an HDD activity LED.
Unfortunately the USB 3.0 host port is exposed and that reduces the water-resistant ability of the A15.
Some certification and warning logos are placed at the rear right above the country of manufacture.
The model capacity is also placed at the rear but not very easy to spot at first glance.
Just like the Armor A80 the A15 also features the ST1000LM024 2.5" HDD by Seagate/Samsung (SATA 3.0 Gbps/8MB Buffer/5400RPM/Avg Seek time: 12ms/Avg Latency: 5.6ms).
The quick backup button/activity LED lights up blue when you start using the drive.
You can use the quick backup button with the free SP Widget (downloadable from Silicon Power) which allows you to backup pretty much everything from your computer onto the USB drive with or without Data encryption.
The SP Widget also provides information regarding the drive that can come in handy.
Keeping things simple so even people new in the field of computers can understand will always be our way so once again our testing procedure is almost exactly the same as the one we use with 2.5/3.5" external docking stations. This time however we will be comparing the product at hand with a wide range of 2.5" portable drives and standalone 2.5" enclosures all of which were benched using a HGST 7K750 SATA II hard disk drive. Our standard selection of benchmark suites is used here as well including the famous HD Tach RW (Long Bench 32mb Zones), HD Tune Pro (read/write -when possible- speeds), Sisoftware Sandra Pro (Read/Write - also when possible- speeds), AIDA64 (Linear Read/Random Read), Crystal Disk Mark x64 (100MB/1000MB read/write speeds) and finally the quite outdated yet highly reliable ATTO 2.46 (Max Read/Max Write speeds). Every test was repeated for a total of 6 times and after that the average (not peak) numbers were recorded into our charts. As always every test was performed in a fresh installation of Microsoft Windows 7 Service Pack 1 with every update installed up to February 2nd 2013.
TEST RESULTS - AIDA 64 / ATTO
TEST RESULTS - HD TACH RW / HD TUNE PRO
TEST RESULTS - SISOFTWARE SANDRA PRO / CRYSTAL DISK MARK X64
TEST RESULTS - TEMPERATURES
The moment we found out what kind of hard disk drive Silicon Power had fitted into the A15 we knew exactly what to expect in terms of performance and we weren't disappointed one bit. True mechanical USB 3.0 drives still can't come close to the performance achieved by good USB 3.0 flash drives so to some people they may seem as somewhat slow but let’s not forget that up until 3-4 years ago the same performance numbers could only be achieved from internal HDDs and eSATA compatible devices. During testing we also found out that the rubber exterior housing may not be water resistant like that used with the A80 model (since the USB host port is exposed) but it is splash proof. We also did drop the drive down a few times to check its anti-shock feature (we even threw it down once while plugged in to a laptop) and it's still working so i guess when a drive gets the U.S Army MIL-STD-810F drop-test certification it's not only to show off.
Since the rubber housing used with the Armor A15 is not as durable as the one used with the A80 we did expect it to retail for less and we were not wrong since currently you can find it for USD77.90 inside the USA (Amazon) and at around 100Euros inside the EU. Our opinion is that if Silicon Power hadn't released the Armor A80 then the A15 would be our favorite 2.5" USB 3.0 PHD in the market as we speak but we do prefer the extra data protection offered by the tank-like external housing of the A80 more. Things like that however are personal preferences but what we can't deny for sure is the quality and performance of the Armor A15 1TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive by Silicon Power and that's why we give it our Golden Award.
- Build Quality
- Military Grade Enclosure (Shock-proof/Splash-proof)
- Very Good Performance
- Quick Backup Button
- SP Widget (Free Download From Silicon Power)
- Price (For Some)
- Sporty Design May Not Appeal To Everyone