Angelbird Adler SSD & SSD2Go PRO Review

Author: AkG
Date: February 24, 2014
Product Name: Adler SSD / SSD2Go PRO
Part Number: Adler SSD / SSD2Go PRO
Warranty: 3 Years
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A Closer Look at the Adler 320GB & 640GB

In keeping with the premium theme, the Adler series comes clad in ultra-durable metal case which is milled from solid billet aluminum. While not the first full metal case we’ve seen the Adler is the first consumer grade model we’ve seen that boasts such a robust design.

Besides being extremely durable, the aluminum has a secondary benefit: it can act as large heatsink for the internal components. To take full advantage of this, every single IC on both sides of the PCB comes equipped with a heatpad to help promote heat transfer. In grand total there are 22 heatpads used inside each Adler and this includes coverings for all 20 NAND ICs, the external RAM cache IC and the controller itself.

Opening up the case on both the 320GB and 640GB drives we can see they share the exact same internal architecture. The only difference between the various sizes is the capacity of the NAND itself. While the Adler series makes use of a ten channel controller, the internal architecture strongly reminds us of the original Intel X25-M series rather than other modern SSDs. One side there is the solid state controller, its accompanying 256MB external RAM IC and then two rows of 5 Micron branded, ONFi 2 MLC NAND ICs. The other side of this PCB holds another two rows of five chips.

As we’ve already mentioned, the Adler series uses the brand new Novachips NVS3600A controller. This is the heart and soul of these units and is what Angelbird is counting on to help justify their high asking price. Angelbird is only the second company to make use of this new controller and is the first available in the North American marketplace since BinWin’s SSD has yet to make it into the North America market. ‘

The NVS3600A is a ten channel design but can handle 20 NAND ICs and eight way interleaving, making for a potential of 80 separated NAND layers compared to 64 for most SSDs available today.

Backstopping this cutting edge controller is are 20nm Micron MT29F256G08CJABB WP-12 NAND ICs. These may not be the most cutting edge technology when compared against the various Toggle Mode NAND offerings now available but with a p/e cycle rating of 3,000 they well respected, and are a reliable choice. Of course, considering the extreme premium demanded by Angelbird’s latest SSDs, 19nm Toggle Mode NAND –as seen in the Barefoot 3 based OCX Vector 150 – should have been used but we can nonetheless understand why such a “safe” decision was made here.

A Closer Look at the SSD2Go Pro

At 5.0" x 2.59" x 0.39" the Angelbird SSD2Go Pro 640GB external storage drive is much larger than its Adler brethren but it too comes clad in a solid metal class that is rather heavy and robust. This is a great addition for durability since we’re sure this thing will take a pounding if it’s used as a mobile storage device.

The reason for using such a heavy case became apparent once we opened the SSD2Go Pro up. As you can see, it consists of an Adler 640GB SSD alongside a small additional adapter card which includes an ASMedia USB to SATA host controller and a few small capacitors which provide the SSD2Go Pro with Flush In Flight – or what Agnelbird calls ‘UPS’ – capabilities. Since this is essentially an Adler 640GB SSD in another guise, the SSD2Go Pro makes use of 22 heatpads to cool the internal components, twenty 20nm Micron ONFi 2 MLC NAND ICs, a NVS3600A controller and a single 256MB ram IC.

Angelbird has taken full advantage of the ASMedia 1053’s capabilities by provided this external storage solution with an eSATAp, combination USB 3.0 & SATA port. To help make this a truly portable storage solution, Angelbird has even included USB 3.0 and eSATA cables with the necessary USB-based power adapters.

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