VisionTek’s USB 3.0 Hot Swappable Wallet Drive
For less than $20, this bus-powered Wallet Drive enclosure fits in a shirt pocket to offer convenience and performance with plug and play design for instant install and hot-swapping of HDDs and SSDs.The Wallet Drive’s leather cover with magnetic flap closure conceals a hot-swappable, screw-less drive tray with an integrated 7″ long USB 3.0/2.0 connecting cable. Any SATA hard drive or solid state drive can simply be slid into the Wallet Drive to deliver data transfer speeds up to 600MB/s with nearly any PC using the built-in USB 3.0 (or USB 2.0) cable.
To start using data with the Wallet Drive, just slide any 2.5″ 7mm or 9mm SATA HDD or SSD into the drive tray. The pressure fit tray snaps tight and securely holds the drive by its magnetic clasp.
No AC adapter is required as the SSD inside the Wallet Drive draws its power from the USB bus.. After a drive is inserted into the Wallet Drive’s drive tray, it can be connected to a PC by using the attached 7 inch long USB cable. We found that 7 inches was a little short for connecting to a desktop and would have preferred a longer and also a retractable solution.
We installed a 240GB HyperX SSD into the Wallet Drive, plugged it into a USB 3.0 port on our PC and compared its performance with an identical SSD directly connected to a SATA port using the DriveXpander’s pass through connectors.
Before we look at performance, check out our test bed.
Test Configuration – Hardware
- Intel Core i7-4790K (reference 4.0GHz, HyperThreading and Turbo boost is on to 4.4GHz; DX11 CPU graphics), supplied by Intel.
- ASUS Z97-E motherboard (Intel Z97 chipset, latest BIOS, PCOe 3.0 specification, CrossFire/SLI 8x+8x)
- Kingston 16 GB HyperX Beast DDR3 RAM (2×8 GB, dual-channel at 2133MHz, supplied by Kingston
- GeForce GTX 780 Ti, 3GB, reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
- VisionTek DriveXpander, supplied by VisionTek
- VisionTek Wallet Drive, supplied by VisionTek
- EVGA 1000W power supply unit
- Cooler Master Seidon watercooler, supplied by Cooler Master
- Onboard Realtek Audio
- Genius SP-D150 speakers, supplied by Genius
- Thermaltake Overseer RX-I full tower case, supplied by Thermaltake
- ASUS 12X Blu-ray writer
- HP LP3065 2560×1600 30″ LCD display
- Monoprice Crystal Pro K display.
Test Configuration – Software
- Nvidia GeForce 347.52 WHQL drivers
- . High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display.
- Windows 7 64-bit; very latest updates
- Latest DirectX
- All games are patched to their latest versions.
- VSync is off in the control panel.
- AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied; 16xAF forced in control panel for Crysis.
- All results show average frame rates.
- Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
- Windows 7 64, all DX10 titles were run under DX10 render paths; DX11 titles under DX11 render paths
- The Benchmarks Synthetic
- SiSoft Sandra 2014
- AS SSD benchmark
- ATTO benchmark
- HD Tune
- HD Tach
- File transfer timed
How we tested
We tested using all identical 240GB Kingston HyperX SSDs. We used the OS on one SSD. Another SSD was connected to a native SATA port using the pass-through connector of the DriveXpander, and we then compared its performance to the other SSD inside the Drive Wallet which was attached to a USB 3.0 port on the test PC.
Always make sure to use a USB 3.0 port to connect the Drive Wallet. The ports are different from each other, and using a USB 2.0 port instead of 3.0 will slow the data down to USB 2.0 speed transfers which are painfully slow in comparison with USB 3.0.
50GB File Copy Times
One task that we find quite useful is using the Wallet Drive to quickly and easily move large files from one PC to another. Our first test copied the 49.9GB files of NBA:2K15 using first the SATA drive directly connected to the motherboard versus copy times using the Wallet Drive over USB 3.0.
It took 3 minutes and 41 seconds to copy the NBA:2K15 folder from the SATA drive using the SATA cable and less than a minute longer using the Wallet Drive over USB 3.0 for a total of 4 minutes and 25 seconds for the same 49.9GB copy.
When you first plug in a brand new SATA drive, it may need to be initialized by Windows before it becomes recognizable and plug and play. On the other hand, the VisionTek Drive Wallet mini enclosure is recognized instantly by Windows and drivers are loaded immediately and it is ready for use.
Since we are using our HyperX SSD in the VisionTek USB 3.0 enclosure, we will rely on synthetic benchmarks to test the drive independently of our main hard drive based PC.
As we need to compare drive speeds over USB 3.0 versus over the native SATA interface, there is no better tool than SiSoft’s Sandra 2015. There are several versions of Sandra 2015, including a free version of Sandra Lite that anyone can download and use. It is highly recommended! SiSoft’s Sandra 2015 was released late last year. It has quite a few improvements over Sandra 2014 and there are regular service packs released to keep it up to date.
First we run the 2015 Sandra benchmark suite with the SATA drive on its native port and then the same benchmarks with the USB 3.0 Wallet Drive.
Here are the Physical Disks Read results with the Kingston 240GB SATA SSD connected to the motherboard using a SATA connector. Sandra identifies the 240GB Kingston HyperX SSD natively connected to a SATA port on Drive D as a Kingston SATA SSD, while the 240GB HyperX SSD connected via USB 3.0 is identified as “ASMT 2105 USB 3.0”, for the controller that VisionTek uses.
You can see in the ranking that the HyperX drive in the VisionTek Wallet Drive mini enclosure is slower than the HyperX SSD connected to the motherboard’s SATA port.
Again, the native SATA SSD (409.71) has better performance than the SSD in the VisionTek Wallet Drive USB enclosure (285.7MB/s) although USB 3.0 is very fast
CrystalDiskMark is a HDD benchmark utility for your hard drive that enables you to measure sequential and random read/write speeds. Here are some key features of “CrystalDiskMark”:
- Measure sequential reads/writes speed
- Measure random 512KB, 4KB, 4KB (Queue Depth=32) reads/writes speed
First up is the Kingston SSD directly connected to the SATA port.Now the the HyperX SSD in the VisionTek Wallet Drive USB 3.0 enclosure.Again, the performance with the Native SATA SSD enclosure is better in Reads, although Writes are much closer.
HD Tune is a hard disk utility which has the following functions and measures the performance of:
- Transfer Rate
- Access Time
- CPU Usage
- Burst Rate
- Random Access test
- Write benchmark
- Hard Disk information which includes partition information, supported features, firmware version, serial number, disk capacity, buffer size, transfer mode
- Hard Disk Health
- S.M.A.R.T. Information (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology)
- Power On Time
- Error scan
- Temperature display
First up is the Kingston SSD directly connected to the SATA port. Now the the HyperX SSD in the VisionTek Wallet Drive USB 3.0 enclosure.Native SATA performance is always faster but USB 3.0 is certainly usually “good enough”.
AS SSD is especially designed for Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains synthetic and practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD without use of the operating system caches. In Seq-test the program measures how long it takes to read and write a 1 GB file.
In the 4K test, read and write performance for random 4K blocks are determined. The 4K-64-thrd test are similar to the 4K procedure except that the read and write operations on 64 threads are distributed as in the usual start of a program. In the copying test, two large ISO file folders are created, programs with many small files, and a games folder with small and large files. These three folders are copied by the OS copy command with the cache turned on.
The practice tests show performance with simultaneous read and write operations AS SSD gives an overall “score” after it runs the benchmarks. These scores and comparisons are summed up in the performance summary charts.
ATTO is a disk benchmark. The ATTO Disk Benchmark measures a storage system;s performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Options are available to customize the tests, including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode.
HD Tach is a low level hardware benchmark for random access read/write storage devices including SSDs and HDDs. HD Tach uses custom device drivers and low level Windows interfaces to determine the physical performance of the device. It is no longer supported and needs to be run in compatibility mode for Windows 7.
The VisionTek enclosure provides very good transfer rates over USB 3.0 although Native SATA performance will be better.
Warm Operating Temperatures
One thing we did note is that the Wallet Drive enclosure will get warm to the touch after using the Kingston HyperX SSD over an extended period. It did not get uncomfortable as it only reached about 5 F higher than an identical SSD in the air cooled Thermaltake drive cage.