Model: Silicon Power PC60 960GB Portable Solid State 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).
This spring, Silicon Power launched its latest portable SSD, the PC60. This on-the-go back-up storage solution fits snugly in the palm of a hand and comfortably slides into a pocket, thanks to its slim 11mm profile. The drive's shock-resistant design can also withstand minor drops and bumps and features a convenient keyhole that lets you attach it to a keychain or bag. On the inside, the PC60 is powered by Silicon Motion's SM2259XT controller and is available with up to 1.92TB of Micron's 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash. To top it all off, it is equipped with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface that can transfer data at speeds up to 10Gbps.
The PC60 is available in 240GB, 480GB, 960GB and 1.92TB capacities. For this review, Silicon-Power sent us the 960GB version of the drive which is capable of delivering up to 540 MB/s sequential read and 500 MB/s sequential write speeds.
Needless to say, this is only a taste of what the PC60 has to offer. To give you an idea of what to expect, we'll take a closer look at Silicon Power's latest portable SSD and then see how well it performs. Does the PC60 have what it takes? Can it deliver the value and performance we've come to expect from Silicon Power? Keep reading as we find out.
The PC60 comes in a small white box. The front advertises many of the drive's key features including its 960GB capacity, Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface, LED indicator and its shock proof, pocket-sized design. 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 regarding the PC60's specifications, system requirements and box contents. Inside, you'll find the SSD, a Type-C to USB Type-A cable and a small user manual.
While not the smallest portable SSD in Silicon-Power's product lineup, the PC60 is still very compact and lightweight. Measuring 80.0 x 80.0 x 11.2 mm and weighing a mere 46g, the drive fits comfortably in the palm of a hand as well as your pocket. The PC60 can even be attached to keychains or bags thanks to its keyhole design.
The body of the PC60 is constructed out of lightweight, black plastic. While the outside frame has a shiny, polished finish, the center sections are textured, with the top featuring a unique ripple design.
The PC60's USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port is located on the end of the drive. This interface not only transfers data, but provides power for the device. It's hard to see in this picture, but on the right of the USB port is a small LED that lights up blue when the PC60 is transferring data.
I wasn't able to crack the PC60 open. However, if you were to do so, you'd find a PCB that looks a lot like the one found in the current version of Silicon Power's S55 SSD. The drive is equipped with Silicon Motion's DRAM-less SM2259XT controller and has a single 1TB 96-layer 3D TLC NAND chip that is manufactured by Micron. The PC60 also uses a USB 3.1 to SATA converter with ASMedia's ASM235CM bridge controller.
The test system used in this review is equipped with an Intel Core i7-6700K CPU, GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-UD3 motherboard, 32GB (16GB x 2) of Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 memory, Samsung 960 PRO 512GB SSD and a GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 WINDFORCE OC 6G graphics card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 10 Enterprise.
To test the performance of Silicon Power's PC60 SSD, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark, HD Tach RW, ATTO Disk Benchmark, AS SSD, HD Tune Pro, Anvil's Storage Utilities, Iometer and PCMark 8. For comparison, I've also included test results from the SK hynix Gold S31, ADATA Ultimate SU750, Samsung 860 QVO, Samsung 860 PRO, Crucial MX500, Plextor M8V, Crucial BX300, ADATA Ultimate SU900, Plextor S3C, Toshiba OCZ VX500, ADATA Ultimate SU800, Plextor S2C, Crucial MX300, Plextor M7V, PNY CS1311, OCZ Trion 150, PNY CS2211, Plextor M6V, Crucial BX200, OCZ Trion 100, Kingston HyperX Savage, Crucial MX200, OCZ Vector 180, Kingston BX100, Samsung 850 EVO M.2, Samsung 850 EVO mSATA, AMD Radeon R7, Silicon Power Slim S80, Samsung SSD 850 EVO, OCZ ARC 100, SanDisk Ultra II, Crucial MX100, SanDisk Extreme Pro and Samsung SSD 850 PRO.
As I mentioned earlier, the PC60 is based on Silicon Motion's SM2259XT controller chip. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that it performs equally well with both incompressible (0%) and compressible (100%) data.
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.
According to Silicon Power, the PC60 is capable of reading at 540 MB/s and writing at 500 MB/s when connected to a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port. While the drive performed relatively well, it came up a bit short of these numbers in CrystalDiskMark's sequential read and write speed tests.
The PC60 can also be plugged into a USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) port. However, with half the bandwidth, its sequential read and write speeds aren't quite as fast.
HD Tach RW 126.96.36.199:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the PC60's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.
Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the PC60 had average read and write speeds of 311.7 MB/s and 96.6 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 234.3 MB/s. The screenshot also shows that it uses some sort of SLC caching. The drive starts writing at about 300 MB/s and then drops to about 75 MB/s when the write operation exceeds the size of the cache.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the PC60's sequential read and write speeds. The tests are run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the PC60's read speeds topped out at about 506 MB/s and its write speeds at 492 MB/s.
AS SSD is a benchmark designed specifically for solid state drives. The application contains five synthetic tests which are used to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of a drive.
AS SSD also includes a copy benchmark. This test copies an ISO (two large files), program (many small files) and game (small and large files), returning the speed and duration of each.
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'm also going to use it to benchmark the PC60's random read and write speeds, random access times and the number of operations per second.
The PC60 performed relatively well when benchmarked with HD Tune. The drive had average read and write speeds of 440.9 MB/s and 390.1 MB/s, respectively, and a burst rate of 103.0 MB/s when reading.
When reading 4KB blocks, the PC60 reached 11,830 IOPS and had an average speed of 46.211 MB/s. The drive was faster when writing, reaching 12,179 IOPS with an average speed of 47.578 MB/s.
Anvil's Storage Utilities:
Anvil's Storage Utilities is another benchmark designed with SSDs in mind. The standard storage benchmark measures a drive's performance by testing its transfer speeds, access times and IOPS.
Lastly, I ran a series of tests using Iometer. This tool can be configured to benchmark a number of things. In this case, I used it to measure the PC60's read and write speeds and the number of operations per second. The tests were run using random bytes and a queue depth of 3.
The PC60's performance was very similar to what we saw in our other tests. The drive was able to read at 469.38 MB/s and write at 461.59 MB/s.
The PC60 wasn't one of the faster drives we've tested when it came to random reads and writes. In our tests, the drive was able to read at 80.4 MB/s and write at 113.02 MB/s.
Silicon Power really doesn't say what the PC60 is capable of in regards to IOPS. In our tests, the drive reached 20,583 random read IOPS and 28,993 random write IOPS.
Vantage PCMark 8 - Storage Test:
PCMark 8 is a complete benchmark for Windows. It includes five benchmark tests, each designed around a specific scenario. The storage benchmark measures drive performance using real-world traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games.
PCMark 8 also includes a consistency test which measures the performance consistency and degradation tendency of a storage system. The test reports the performance level at the start, the degraded steady-state and the recovered state as well as the number of iterations required to reach them. For this test, we are focusing on the Adobe Photoshop (Heavy) trace and will look at both the bandwidth and latency of the drive
The PC60 didn't do as well as the other drives in this test. Its bandwidth dropped below 50 MB/s during the degradation and steady phases, pushing its latency well above the 3000ms mark. The PC60's performance did eventually recover. However, this wasn't until the last recovery phase.
While SSD's offer many benefits, there are some downsides to using flash memory. One of the biggest issues people run into is performance degradation. Over time, an SSD will run out of fresh blocks and will have to write over data the file system has marked as deleted. This procedure is very complicated and can slow an SSD's write speeds considerably.
To fix this problem, most manufacturers have added TRIM support to their SSDs. The TRIM command allows an operating system, such as Windows 7, to tell an SSD which data blocks are no longer in use. Using this information, the drive pro-actively erases these blocks and adds them to the free block pool.
To test the PC60's TRIM and garbage collection functions, I first put the drive in a "dirty" state. I used Iometer to fill 80% of the drive and then ran a random write test for 30 minutes. This had little impact on the PC60's read speed. However, its average writing speed dropped to 262.86 MB/s.
Silicon Power PC60 - Dirty
To see how well the PC60 could recover, I let the computer sit for about 30 minutes and then reran the test. The drive wasn't able to reach the factory fresh performance shown in our earlier tests. However, its sequential write speed jumped up to 446.14 MB/s.
Silicon Power PC60 - After TRIM
Unfortunately, the PC60 does not support the secure erase function so I was not able to wipe the drive with Parted Magic. Instead, I did a quick wipe and format from within Windows. After this, the PC60 was able to read at 463.70 MB/s and write at 446.27 MB/s.
Silicon Power PC60 - Secure Erased
Silicon Power's PC60 portable SSD is a great choice for the consumer looking for a fast, yet affordable, storage solution that they can use to back up their data while on the go. This lightweight, pocket-sized drive not only looks great, it features a shock-resistant design that can withstand minor drops and bumps as well as a keyhole that lets you attach it to your keychain or bag. The PC60 is also powered by Silicon Motion's SM2259XT controller and is available with up to 1.92TB of Micron's 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash. Combine this with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface and you have a high capacity, portable SSD that's capable of some respectable performance numbers. In our sequential read and write tests, the PC60 was able to read at speeds as high as 506 MB/s and write at speeds in excess of 486 MB/s.
The PC60 is available now in 240GB, 480GB and 960GB capacities. Prices start at $45 and go up to $95 for the 960GB version reviewed here. There is no word yet on when the 1.92TB drive will be available or how much it will be.
- Available in 240GB, 480GB, 960GB and 1.92TB capacities
- Lightweight, pocket-sized design
- Silicon Motion SM2259XT controller
- Equipped with Micron 3D TLC NAND
- USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface
- Good sequential read and write speeds
- Works with SP Widget software
- Reasonably priced
- 3 year warranty
- Not dust or water proof
- Mediocre random read and write performance
- Write speed drops when SLC cache is full