Storage is plentiful, convenient, and a necessity. Flash-based storage can be all of those things, but your wallet has to take a beating. EMTEC offers a remedy with their SpeedIN’ X600 USB External SSD, an inexpensive and fairly decent option if your needs involve light backup storage.
It’s an 1.8-inch SSD with a detachable USB 3.0 that you should never misplace. The construction is all plastic with the only unique touches being a sharp rectangular body dressed in a faux Kevlar pattern.
So, what’s the big deal? Well, it’s the size of X600 that may have you intrigued — all 256GB of it to be exact. This is the defining trait of this otherwise plain jane accessory, having the storage of a small desktop in the palm of my hand
And the on-paper performance is relatively good too. We know many will glance at the numerical benchmarks of a flash drive, and EMTEC is advertising a maximum write speed of 300MB/s and 400MB/s for file reading. These figures are often out of reach for real-world applications, and no, that’s not just EMTEC telling blatant lies, just theoretical maximums that the device should be capable of.
We tested the X600 two different ways, with the first being real-world usage. Transferring assorted media files that totaled up to 30GB in data between our PC and the EMTEC drive, we averaged a max read speed of 158.1MB/s and 46.5MB/s writing with 1.04ms access time. Obviously, this is far from what was advertised on the box but it is leaps and bounds ahead of other options we had laying around. Taking a little over 2 minutes to complete.
Transferring a dummy file between external drives was second best against the benchmark software, but not by much at 163.2MB/s read and 50MB/s write. Any improved figures are better than none, I’d say.
Utilizing software like Crystal DiskMark 5.1.1 gave the X600 more optimal benchmarks, albeit, very few owners will actually see these results outside of controlled simulations. Sticking with the USB ports on a Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 7 Motherboard gave us sequential read/write speeds of 303.7MB/s and 144.9MB/s respectively. Our session out of three runs was consistent across the board but seem to be aided by our base system configuration.
Beyond the performance lie a few caveats in practicality, specifically the pre-installed software that EMTEC sticks you with. Upon first use you’ll notice that roughly half of the available storage is inexplicably quarantined, which is annoying and borderline stupid because it’ll be unnecessary for normal people
That’s where the trouble really starts since you’ll be screwing yourself if you unknowingly delete the software without a second thought, and no amount of partition formatting will bring it back. I experienced this event firsthand and only through a fevered search through the EMTEC website FAQ page under the USB/SSD subsection labeled “EMTEC Security” and found the needed software to remedy the situation. Don’t fret because you can correct this potentially dire mishap if your flash drive is so equipped, or (luckily) not installed on units manufactured after January.
The EMTEC SpeedIN’ X600 External SSD is a good choice for not a lot money. My only gripes are the slightly lower speeds and the short USB cable, but few will complain considering it a cost roughly a hundred dollars less than the S600 USB Drive — something that will be an immediate turnoff for cash-strapped users needing quick physical storage. It might not be the USB stick you dreamed of but it is a fitting alternative nonetheless.