Model: Silicon Power 750GB Stream S10 USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive
Manufacturer: Silicon Power
Provided By: Silicon Power
Silicon Power is a relatively new name in the storage industry. Founded in 2003 by a group of professionals specializing in international business, global marketing and technical engineering, the company has already established itself as one of Taiwan's top manufacturers. With an eye for attractive and versatile design, Silicon Power has built its brand around the concept that its customers deserve products that represent who they are in life and mirror their personality. The end result is a variety of uniquely designed storage products including USB flash drives, memory cards and solid-state drives (SSD).
Along with their flash based storage solutions, Silicon Power offers a growing number of portable hard drives. One of the latest additions to their product lineup is the Stream S10. Available in capacities ranging from 320GB up to 1TB, this lightweight drive sports a simple curvaceous design as well as an eye catching, metallic paint job with a fingerprint free finish. The Stream S10 also features a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface which allows transfer speeds up to 10x faster than USB 2.0. To top it all off, the drive comes with a carrying case, Silicon Power's SP Widget backup and security software, and is also covered by a 3-year warranty.
|Silicon Power Stream S10 USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive|
Dimensions and Weight
With specs and features like this, it's hard not to be impressed by the Stream S10. However, as you all know by now, we're not ones to take things at face value. In this review, we'll take a closer look at Silicon Power's portable hard drive and then put it through its paces to see how well it performs. Does the Stream S10 have what it takes? Keep reading as we find out.
Packaging and Contents:
The Stream S10 comes packaged in a simple, yet attractive, black box. The front advertises key features like the drive's 750GB capacity and USB 3.0 interface. There is also a large, plastic window which lets you look inside the box and see what the drive looks like. The back of the box provides a bit more information, including the Stream S10's system requirements and a longer list of features.
Inside the box you'll find the Stream S10 as well as a USB 3.0 cable, user manual, carrying case and an 8cm CD containing Silicon Power's SP Widget software.
While not the smallest portable hard drive in Silicon-Power's product lineup, the Stream S10 is still very compact and lightweight. Measuring 134.2 x 78.8 x 17.7 mm and weighing a mere 145g, the drive easily fits in a pocket, purse or laptop bag.
When designing the Stream S10, Silicon Power got much of its inspiration from Italian sports cars. Along with a simple, curvaceous design, the top of the drive has what Silicon Power calls an "artistry paint treatment" which looks great and is resistant to fingerprints. The Stream S10's LED status indicator also looks a lot like the grill on the front of a car. The LED in the middle lights up blue when the drive is powered on and will flash to show when data is being transferred.
The Stream S10's SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface is located along the right hand side of the drive. This connector not only transfers data, but provides power for the drive.
I wasn't able to crack the Stream S10 open. However, using CrystalDiskInfo, I was able to see what hard drive was in the enclosure. Looking at the screenshot below, you can see that Silicon Power has used Toshiba's MK7559GSXP hard drive. This drive features a SATA 3.0Gb/s interface, 8MB cache and a 5400 RPM rotation speed.
As with most USB drives, the Stream S10 was very easy to install. Those running Windows 2000, XP, Vista or 7 can simply plug the drive into any available USB 2.0 or 3.0 port on their computer. If the computer is already turned on, plug and play will automatically detect the drive.
If installed correctly, the Stream S10 should show up in the Device Manager. Under Windows 7, the drive is identified as a "SPCCN PHD 3.0 USB Device".
The Stream S10 comes formatted with FAT32, giving the 750GB model about 698GB of usable space. If you plan to store files larger than 4GB in size, you'll want to convert or reformat the drive with NTFS.
As I mentioned earlier, the Stream S10 comes bundled with Silicon Power's SP Widget software, which provides seven major backup and security functions for use with the company's portable hard drives and USB flash drives.
SP Widget's browser interface is pretty straightforward. Along with a meter that shows how full a drive is, there are a handful of icons along the right hand side of the screen. From here you can launch functions that will sync or backup your Documents, Favorites, Folders or email. You can also create your own custom backup tasks which can compress and encrypt your data and be scheduled to run at specific times.
The software also includes features to encrypt/decrypt files outside of a backup task and lock your computer when you are away.
The last major feature of SP Widget is Norton Internet Security 2011. The version available for download through the browser is only a 60 day trial. Silicon Power has cut a deal with Symantec, though, which lets users extend their subscription at a discounted rate.
The test system used in this review was an HP 8200 Elite. The computer came equipped with an Intel Core i5-2400 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 1333MHz memory, Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3250312AS 250GB SATA 6 Gb/s hard drive, NVIDIA Quadro FX580 512MB PCIe graphics card, Intel 82567LM-3 gigabit network card and Patriot SuperSpeed USB PCIe host card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 Enterprise.
To test the performance of the Silicon-Power Stream S10, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1, HD Tach RW 18.104.22.168, ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46 and HD Tune Pro 5.00.
First, I ran a few quick tests using CrystalDiskMark. This benchmark tool measures the performance of a storage device by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its random read and write speeds using blocks 512K and 4K in size.
Silicon-Power doesn't really say what kind of speeds the Stream S10 is capable of. Using CrystalDiskMark we can see that the drive is able to read at 104.4 MB/s and write at 103.7 MB/s when connected to a USB 3.0 port.
HD Tach RW 22.214.171.124:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the Stream S10's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.
When connected to the computer's USB 3.0 port, the Stream S10 had average read and write speeds of 85.5 MB/s and 85.4 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 191.7 MB/s. The drive wasn't nearly as fast when using USB 2.0 though. Compared to what we saw with USB 3.0, the Stream S10's read and write speeds dropped by more 50 MB/s.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the Stream S10's sequential read and write speeds. The test was run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the Stream S10's read and write speeds topped out at about 104 MB/s when connected using USB 3.0.
HD Tune Pro 5.00:
Next, I ran a series of tests using HD Tune Pro. This hard disk utility measures a drive's performance by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its access time, burst rate and CPU usage. For this review, I used it to benchmark the Stream S10's random read and write speeds, random access times and the number of operations per second.
Once again, the Stream S10 performed very well when connected to the computer's USB 3.0 port. The drive had average read and write speeds of 81.6 MB/s and 82.6 MB/s, respectively, and a burst rate of 167.3 MB/s when reading.
Using USB 3.0 didn't have nearly as big of an effect on the Stream S10's random read and write performance. Nevertheless, the IOPS and average speeds were, in most cases, higher than what we saw when the drive was connected to a USB 2.0 port.
With so many portable hard drives available today, it's hard to make your product stand out in the crowd. In the case of the Stream S10, Silicon Power has done just that. Along with a stylish, sports car inspired design, this USB powered, portable hard drive packs some impressive performance. Thanks to its USB 3.0 interface, the Stream S10 was able to read and write at speeds in excess of 100 MB/s. The drive is also backwards compatible with USB 2.0. However, as you saw in our tests, it's much slower when operating in this mode. Silicon Power tops all this off with a 3 year warranty and their SP Widget software which helps users protect and backup their data.
The 500GB, 750GB and 1TB versions of the Stream S10 are available now and can be purchased from Amazon.com for as little as $103.
- Available in 320GB, 500GB, 640GB, 750GB and 1TB capacities
- Fast transfer rates with USB 3.0
- Backwards compatible with USB 2.0
- Good looking and well constructed design
- USB powered
- Power saving sleep mode
- Includes Silicon Power's SP Widget software
- Comes with carrying case
- Reasonably priced
- 3 Year Warranty
- SP Widget software is Windows only
- Only available in green and orange