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Glyph Atom RAID SSD review: Extreme speed in a tiny (expensive) package

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The Good The Atom RAID SSD is superfast, rugged, compact and USB-C-compatible.

The Bad You can't change its RAID setup and it doesn't include data recovery in the warranty.

The Bottom Line If you're going to take advantage of its RAID-0 speed, the Atom RAID SSD is worth its high price. If not, stick with the non-RAID version instead.

7.9 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 6
  • Performance 10
  • Support 6
glyph-atom-ssd-raid-2774-001.jpg

The Atom RAID SSD is a rugged portable drive with a removable rubber protective case.

Josh Miller/CNET


Editors' note: The Glyph Atom RAID SSD and the Atom SSD are similar in design, so their reviews are similar as well.

The Glyph Atom RAID SSD is basically the Atom SSD on steroids. The two drives are similar in design, with the same warranty, and both support 10Gbps USB 3.1 speeds through a single USB-C port. There's one major difference, however: Instead of embedding just one solid-state drive (SSD), the Atom RAID uses two, combined into a single RAID-0 volume. As a result, the RAID SSD is 30 percent wider and it's more expensive, but it's almost twice as fast as its non-RAID sibling.

In fact the Atom RAID is the fastest portable drive to date, bar none, with sustained copy speeds of 675MBps and 460MBps for writing and reading, respectively, via a 10Gbps USB 3.1 connection. (The drive also works with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.) Available in 1TB and 2TB capacities at $450 and $870, respectively, with a 4TB coming soon, the Atom RAID is not cheap. However, that's only $10 more than the non-RAID Atom drive of the same capacity.

CNET Labs USB 3.0/3.1 performance

Glyph Atom RAID SSD
674.8
459.89
Glyph Atom SSD
421.4
269.45
SanDisk Extreme 9000 Portable SSD
312.6
259.53
Samsung Portable SSD T3
311.1
240.91
LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt All-Terrain
155.7
227.43
G-Drive Mobile USB-C (USB 3.1)
109.9
125.75
WD My Passport (Fall 2016)
103.4
108.56

Legend:

Write
Read

Note:

Measured in megabytes per second. Longer bars mean better performance.


The Atom RAID SSD gets the same three-year standard warranty as the Atom SSD. That warranty, however, doesn't include the one year of free data recovery that you get with the Glyph BlackBox Plus. Since the drive supports RAID-0, which is more susceptible to data loss (read more about RAID here), data recovery would be nice to say the least. By the way, the drive's RAID setup is fixed, meaning you can't change it into RAID-1, for example.

Out of the box, the drive was preformatted for Mac and appears as single volume, just like any other portable drive. You can reformat it into NTFS for Windows or exFAT to work with both operating systems. Since this is a superfast RAID-0 drive, it's best to use it as a production drive that houses data that you need to work on regularly, such as a raw footage you're editing or content that you want to view, such as photos or high-def movies. It's also great for transferring data from one computer to another. However, it's generally not a good idea to use it as a backup drive to store important data for a long time (though it can work as one.) This is because, due to the nature of RAID-0, if one of the SSDs inside the Atom SSD RAID fails, you lose all the data the portable contains.

Should I get it?

The Atom RAID SSD is not for everyone. If you need a compact and extremely fast portable drive you'll find it worth the investment since, for now, it's the only compact portable drive with this kind of performance. What's more, the 1TB version, at $450, is only $10 more expensive than the Atom SSD. But if you don't have uses for it that take advantage of the extreme speed, it's not going to be any better than the Atom SSD, which is already really fast. In short, if you're a pro user, this is the drive for you. For everyone else, the Atom SSD is a better choice.

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