Integral Memory Portable SSD review - Superb value for money

Small and light SSD that's twice as fast as the best in portable external notebook disk drives

Integral Memory specialises in a range of flash-based storage products, from SD cards and thumbdrives up to industrial and encrypted SATA SSDs.

The real marvel with Integral Memory’s little cable-attached flash drive is its incredibly low weight as much as the small size. Only 8.8 mm thin and the same size as a credit card, this device is available in capacities from 128 GB up to a staggering 1 TB. Read more Storage and hard drive reviews.

We tested the 512 GB version, which can be found for a comparatively bargain price of £280. While that’s still rather expensive by disk drive standards it does equate to the lowest price per capacity on test, at just 55p per gigabyte.

To make is so light and relatively inexpensive, the Portable SSD has a simple plastic case. This has a non-slip matt black finish, and while it feels rather flimsy there’s little here to worry about breaking, just a Micro-USB 3.0 port on one edge and a blue LED that flashes when the unit is thinking.

Instead of an mSATA card inside as the case layout may suggest, the device uses Toshiba flash chips on a proprietary circuit board, managed by a Phiso controller that offers basic wear levelling but no support of UASP. 

Given its reliance on the slower BOT protocol for USB 3.0, performance was somewhat middling. Transfer speeds never exceeded 300 MB/s, reaching 295 and 199 MB/s for sequential read and writes – the same kind of performance we can now expect of the best USB thumbdrives. It’s not the raciest of drives but our tests did put it well ahead of Integral Memory’s modest advertised specification of 230 and 140 MB/s for reads and writes.

Random small-file writes were also low, the poorest in this group in fact, at just 21 MB/s when averaged from 4 kB to 1024 kB.

OUR VERDICT

It’s so small and light you could easily mislay this capacious little drive, yet the Integral USB 3.0 Portable SSD offers the best overall value for money, if not the fastest copy and read speeds. And putting back some context, this baby drive is still twice as fast as the best in portable external notebook disk drives.

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