Silicon Power Armor A80 review: Silicon Power Armor A80

I actually tried submerging the drive in the kitchen sink overnight, leaving it under a running showerhead for about half an hour, and dropping it from the level of my belt a few times while walking, and the drive indeed survived it all. The cover of the drive is susceptible to dents and scratches, however, so you probably don't want to do these things to your drive.

There's nothing to setting up the A80. The drive is preformatted in the FAT32 file system and all you need to do is plug it into a Mac, Windows, or Linux computer and it's ready to be used. Note that FAT32 works across platforms but it can store file sizes up to only 4GB. If you want to store larger files, you will need to format the drive into NTFS (Windows), HFS+ (Mac), or Ext3 (Linux), to use with each of the platforms exclusively.

The A80 doesn't come with any software installed, but Windows users can download the SP Widget from Silicon Power's Web site to add backup and data encryption features to the drive.

Performance
The Silicon Power Armor A80 excels where it's most important: performance. I tested it with both USB 3.0 and UBS 2.0.

With USB 3.0, the drive registered a write speed of 87MBps and a read speed of 102.7MBps. Both of these numbers are among the fastest I've seen so far. When used with USB 2.0, The drive offered a write speed of 28.8MBps, being the third fastest among the drives compared for this test, and a read speed of 38.8MBps, about average.

The drive also worked very well and generated almost no heat in my trial, even after lengthy operation.

USB 3.0 external hard-drive performance (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Silicon Power Armor A80
102.7 
87.8 
LaCie Minimus USB 3.0
104.9 
87.7 
Clickfree C6
103.4 
87.7 
LaCie FastKey
115.5 
87.1 
Hitachi Touro Mobile Pro
103.5 
86.2 
Seagate GoFlex Slim
101.9 
82.4 
IoSafe SoloPro
106 
77.1 
HP Portable Hard Drive
83.65 
69.4 
Seagate GoFlex Satellite
76.1 
69.3 

USB 2.0 external hard-drive performance (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Silicon Power Armor A80
32.8 
28.8 
LaCie FastKey
36.6 
28.8 
Seagate GoFlex Satellite
32.7 
28.8 
Clickfree C6
33.1 
28.7 
IoSafe SoloPro
36.6 
28.7 
LaCie Minimus USB 3.0
36.5 
28.7 
Clickfree C2N
40.1 
28.2 
Seagate GoFlex Slim
37.25 
27.66 

Service and support
Silicon Power backs the Armor A80 with a three-year warranty, which is decent for a storage device. At the company's Web site, you'll find a page dedicated to the drive where you can download its manual, software, and so on.

Conclusions
Attractive, compact, rugged, and offering fast performance, the Silicon Power Armor A80 portable hard drive would be an excellent choice for anyone who wants to bring extra storage on the go.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Form Factor 2.5"
  • Hard Drive Type external hard drive
  • Interface Type SuperSpeed USB 3.0
  • Capacity 1 TB
About The Author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.