Chapter in this post:
The selection of SSDs that can be plugged into the Mac as an external drive has increased massively in recent years. Another positive development is the price per gigabyte, which is falling steadily. In my opinion, SSD storage is also suitable for non-professional use, when it comes to adding hard drive storage to the Mac or to quickly outsource data.
Especially for people who have a MacBook with a fast USB-C connection, an external SSD is even recommended as a start-up volume or as a drive for quick backups. For example, I currently have my startup disk with me Carbon Copy Cloner copied to an SSD and use it with a borrowed MacBook Pro until my own Mac comes out of repair. Due to the high speeds of the SSDs, the MacBook even boots quite quickly from the external medium.
And here we come again to the beginning of the article, because the ADATA company made such an external SSD available to me so that I can subject it to a small test and report on it.
ADATA gave me that Model SD600Q Durable provided for the test. I was not offered any money for the report, but the SSD itself can remain in my possession. ADATA had no influence whatsoever on my test report and was unable to read it before it was published.
My attitude towards this type of test, in which I get a product for free, has been the same for years: I feel obliged to you, readers, and would like to write a report that is as objective as possible. If, from my point of view, a product has weaknesses, I also write about them - regardless of whether the manufacturer may no longer send me test products in the future. I will be giving away many of the products I have tried out later in my newsletter anyway and will not keep them myself - this is also the case here (see competition below).
As mentioned earlier, I received the 600GB model SD480Q. ADATA has a larger SD600Q with 960 GB and a smaller model with 240 GB on offer. In addition, of course, there are many other SSD models that differ from the SD600Q in terms of equipment, colors and housing shape.
The first thing that interests me about the external SSD drives is the interface they work with. In the best case, you have Thunderbolt 3, which is usually only supported by very expensive SSDs. The ADATA works with USB 3.2 Gen 1, which is also referred to as USB 3.1 or SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps, which according to the standard supports a maximum data rate of 10 Gbit / s.
It is interesting, however, that the note "USB 3.1 (max. 5Gb / s)" is printed on the packaging of the SSD. I think that shows how confusing the whole topic of USB names is. The following note underlines that ADATA is also aware of this on the website:
Please note that USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen1, and USB 3.2 Gen1 are in fact the same specification and feature the same exact performance capabilities. The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) recently rebranded USB 3.1 Gen1 to USB 3.2 Gen1. For more information about the change, please visit the USB-IF website at www.usb.org.
In German: USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen1 and USB 3.2 Gen1 are the same specifications and the USB Implementers Forum has decided that USB 3.1 Gen1 should be called USB 3.2 Gen1 in the future. The bottom line is that you shouldn't be particularly interested in the names, because what is important is the speed at which the SSD reads and writes data - and that is very good with the ADATA. More details on this later in the benchmark test.
One can certainly argue about the design of the ADATA SD600Q. Personally, I like less conspicuous cases for drives better, but from a practical point of view, the case of the ADATA SD600Q is well thought out. The blue part that you can see in the photos is made of a flexible material that protects the hard drive in all corners and on the top and bottom in the event of a drop.
Those who like it more discreet will find a black version with no housing parts in other colors.
Yes, there is a cable with the SSD, but if you want to connect the drive to a current MacBook (Pro/Air), you need a USB-C to USB-A adapter or, best of all, get a USB-C Micro-USB-Type B cable. I got this 30 cm long Adapter cable from OpenII fetched and with it already provided some external USB 3 hard drives so that they can be connected to my MacBook Pro without an adapter.
If you can handle a USB cable with a USB-A connection, you don't need an additional cable, because a standard USB-A to micro-USB type B cable is already included in the scope of delivery.
Important for Mac users: The ADATA SD600Q is delivered in the Windows NT file system NTFS. If you want to use the SSD on the Mac, you should open it in the hard disk utility APFS format. Important: It is essential to select the "GUID partition table" under "Scheme" so that the "APFS" file system can be found at the top under "Format". Some time ago I had an evening with another SSD because I just couldn't find the APFS option (here is the contribution to it).
The most important criterion for external SSD drives is probably the speed of the data transfer. I check what the SSD can do in practice with a MacBook Pro 15 inch from 2018 and the program AJA system test.
Of course, the values will look completely different on an old iMac that only has USB 2 ports, but I think a test with a reasonably current MacBook Pro model is reasonably meaningful.
In my test, in which the AJA System Test app read and write 16 GB of data, the average was about 393 MB / s when writing and about 419 MB / s when reading. As a further test, I copied a folder with 37 GB of data (larger files) from an external Sandisk SSD to the external ADATA drive. Here the Mac needed a good minute and 41 seconds, which corresponds to around 360 MB / s.
Here is a table with a few comparative values. Below you will also find a Seagate hard drive in 2,5 inch format that still works with rotating platters. I use this as a time machine volume, because rotating disks are not that fast, but they have a longer life expectancy in terms of the number of possible write operations. At this point there is also a cross-reference to the DriveDx hard drive health check, because that's where I took this knowledge.
The ADATA SSD naturally also supports the SMART status, which the Mac app DriveDx, for example, evaluates to check the technical health of the drive. This is helpful in order to be able to recognize, with frequently used SSDs, when a failure becomes probable due to one of the monitored factors.
Not so long ago I did have one Cheap SSD from Teyadi had in the test. Unfortunately, this had poor data rates and, with almost 130 MB / s when writing, did not come close to the speed of the ADATA SSD.
The ADATA SSD drive is in a speed range in which other SSDs from well-known manufacturers such as SanDisk or Samsung work. Despite everything she could SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD in direct comparison, read and write a few more megabytes more per second - which, however, should hardly be noticeable in everyday use.
I would choose the ADATA - as you often read in tests - as the price-performance winner, because it is cheaper than the SSDs from SanDisk and Samsung, but still offers almost as good data rates.
If you're interested in the ADATA SD600Q Durable, you'll find it here at Amazon. The 2-star rating in Dutch is obviously from a user who has technical problems, because after a few seconds the transfer rate drops to 6 to 7 MB, which I didn't even find in my tests.
I would like to raffle the ADATA SD600Q and I will soon be asking a question about it in the newsletter. Who wants to participate It is best to subscribe to the newsletter and then learns there how to win the SSD. Please note, however, that I was already using the drive to test it.
A little tip: if you can still read this paragraph, the raffle has not yet taken place. I will remove the reference to the competition if you can no longer participate.
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.
The page contains affiliate links / images: Amazon.de