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Cavalry Storage Pelican 64GB External SSD Review

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AkG

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XP Start Up / Adobe CS3

XP Start Up


When it comes to hard drive performance there is one area that even the most oblivious user notices: how long it takes to load the Operating System. For our tests the clock starts as soon as the system “beeps!” and stops when our Anti-Virus splash screen disappears. While all the other tests were run with a streamlined XP image this particular image is the test bed's “day to day” OS and it has accumulated a lot of crud over the months from installs and removals. We chose the Anti-Virus splash screen as our finish line as it is the last program to be loaded on start up.



While not terrible, 49 seconds for an SSD is on the low side. It appears that this drive's strengths are in its storage capabilities, and its USB connectivity….not its SATA abilities. Let’s see if the other real world tests can shed some more light on this for us. As with the IOMeter tests we did not test via USB as that would be a highly unusual setup…and one where you know going into it that speed would not be all that high.


ADOBE CS3 LOAD TIME


Photoshop is a notoriously slow loading program under the best of circumstances, but when you add in a bunch of extra brushes and the such you get a really great torture test which can bring even the best of the best to their knees. Let’s see how our review unit fared in the Adobe crucible!



As with XP load times, the Pelican is not a power house performer by any stretch. The combination of small and large files needed to be loaded in a time sensitive manner really did put a lot of stress on this underpowered controller and it shows. Once again no USB testing was done as that would be an unrealistic (i.e. NOT real world) situation for this drive to encounter.
 
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AkG

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Real World Data Transfers

Real World Data Transfers


No matter how good a synthetic benchmark like IOMeter or PCMark is, it can not really tell you how your hard drive will perform in “real world” situations. All of us here at Hardware Canucks strive to give you the best, most complete picture of a review item’s true capabilities and to this end we will be running timed data transfers to give you a general idea of how its performance relates to real life use. To help replicate worse case scenarios we will transfer a 4.00GB contiguous RAR file and a folder containing 49 subfolders with a total 2108 files varying in length from 20mb to 1kb (1.00 GB total).

Testing will include transfer to and transferring from the devices, timing each process individually to provide an approximate Read and Write performance. To then stress the dive even more we will then make a copy of the large file to another portion of the same drive and then repeat the process with the small one. This will test the drive to its limits as it will be reading and writing simultaneously. Here is what we found.








By this time is there anyone who finds these numbers surprising? I know we weren’t in the least bit shocked by the Pelican's anaemic performance via SATA. On the bright side it seems the slow and relatively archaic USB limitations actually work in the Pelicans' favour as these numbers may not be great but at least it has a good excuse. Let’s move on as the less said about this drive’s “cutting edge technology” the better.
 
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AkG

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Value

Value


The term “Value” is such an amorphous term that it truly has different meanings for different people. For some a hard drive is only as good as its performance potential, for others it is how quiet or durable it is; for others still it’s how effective it is for its cost. We here at HWC try to provide as many answers as possible for the term “Value”. Hopefully by this point in the review people looking at performance potential will have a fairly good idea of what its Value is. For the “best bang for the buck” crowd we have included a chart below showing how much a give drive costs per GB . No consideration has been made for performance, “durability” or any other extraneous factors; this is just raw performance vs. monetary cost. All prices are based on the lowest price found in our Price Comparison engine at the time of this review.



For an SSD, the Pelican is certainly not a bad value; in fact its one of the best Values we have seen. This was to be expected as it does use older (and slower) components but considering the inclusion of the USB connector, value has certainly been added. It may not be able to compete with HDDs but then again it does offer a lot of features they can't. Good value or not, we still don't recommend the Pelican as a first time internal SSD as it may cause you to have an overly poor opinion of this newer tech. Conversely, if you are a road warrior who is frugal with your money this may just be the external storage solution for you.
 
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AkG

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Conclusion

Conclusion


Before we get too far into this conclusion, let's just spill the beans: If you are looking for an internal OS drive, the Pelican is easily the worst possible option of the SSDs we have reviewed. Admittedly, our list of reviewed SSDs is quite short and we have been fairly choosy in which drives we look at, but the sad fact is this drive as about as out dated and weak an SSD as we have seen. To get worse than this we would probably have to look at some of the non 2.5” from factor early gen netbook drives which had infamously poor performance. Indeed, if you are seriously looking at the Pelican you might as well ignore the fact it has SATA power and data ports and think of these as (nearly) non-functioning accessories.

If this was a normal storage review this is where the story would end…and what a sorry story it would be. Fortunately, and as we said in the beginning of this review, the Pelican’s main claim to fame is the integrated mini-USB port. As an external USB storage device it’s a pretty good one, not as good as some external storage solutions we have reviewed in the past but certainly better than darn near any USB thumb-drive out there. . It really is stuck in the middle with some good features and some bad. If size nor having a power brick are not factors in your decision making process, this device is not for you. If however, you need storage capacities greater than a thumb-drive can offer and / or need increased performance the Pelican just may be the perfect addition to your road warrior load out. I know that there are many times when slipping an extra 2.5 SSD into an extra pocket of my laptop bag would have been a god send as it took numerous (and S-L-O-W) drives to carry all the data from point A to B.

When looked at in this light, the SATA capabilities can be considered a secondary function, not something we would pay extra for, but a nice bonus none the less. The Pelican plus a hot swap 2.5 caddy in a 5.25 bay adapter to “quickly” load large chunks of data in your main system and then the USB to access it from a laptop on the road, may actually make a good combination. In the end, only you can decide if this device is exceptional, less than exceptional or a down right terrible choice for your needs. In our case, we can see the occasional need for it, but truly don’t know if it would be money well spent.


Pros:

- Very good USB performance (better than thumb drives, less so than dedicated external storage solutions)
- Low power usage
- Good external storage solution for “road warriors”
- Integrated USB


Cons:

- Price
- Potentially slow writes
- Extensive Stutter problems
- Exposed SATA data and power connectors (no covers / plugs included)
- Short USB cable included
 
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