Silicon Power Armor A65 1TB Review (Page 2 of 8)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

From my experience, ruggedness and aesthetics has always been enemies. If you want to look good, like the ADATA DashDrive HV620 1TB or Silicon Power Diamond D06 1TB, the drive is not going to be rugged. If you want to be rugged, and more so than the Silicon Power Armor A30 1TB, it is going to look fat and bulky. With the Silicon Power Armor A65 1TB, I think the company has found a pretty good balance between the two parameters. Sure, it is definitely not as slim and stunning as products from a certain fruit company, but I find it decently looking in its own right. The black rubber top with a strip of almost-orange yellow at the bottom instantly reminds me of colors used at local construction sites, and for a product made to withstand harsh conditions, I will have to say the color coordination is well done. Silicon Power's logo can be found subtly in the middle of the yellow-orange strip.

To give the external hard drive a little more style, the Silicon Power Armor A65's rubber surface features three flowing lines -- reminiscent of luxury yachts, as the company remarks -- along with curved edges at the top and bottom. This is not all show and no go, however. The rubber cover is the first of three layers of protection for the disk inside. Not only does the rubber provide a great grip even in sweaty hands, but it is also shock resistant, and not easily scratched. A second layer of rubber, plus a middle frame, makes it compliant with the MIL-STD-810G 516.6 Procedure IV transit drop test. In case your USB device falls into the water, the Armor A65 is IP67 rated. This means it is completely protected against dust penetration, and up to 30 minutes under water as deep as one meter. The only thing I do not like about the rubber surface is it catches a lot of dry dust, and you cannot clean it off until you wipe it with a wet cloth. Well, at least in this case, you can probably wash it under the tap. Imagine the look on your friends' faces when you wash your Armor A65 like a dinner plate, haha.

Flipping the Silicon Power Armor A65 1TB around, you will find the rubber jacket wraps completely around the enclosure. The two horizontal slots are for holding the included short USB cable shown in the previous photo. Regulatory certification logos, 1TB capacity label, and part number can be found along the yellow-orange strip. On the bottom edge, you will find a USB 3.0 SuperSpeed connector behind an attached rubber cap. The rubber cap is there to keep the standard Type-A connector free of water and dust when closed, and is labeled by a "SS" designator next to a USB logo. You know, because "SuperSpeed", and nothing to do with Germany or World War II.

A blue activity LED resides on the left side of the USB connector on this side of the drive. It shines through the black translucent plastic on the Armor A65, but it is pretty dim. You will see it under normal office lighting when viewed literally straight on, but anything beyond that, it is almost impossible see. A brighter LED with a wider viewing angle will definitely be welcome. The blue LED stays on when powered, and blinks when there is disk activity. It will turn off when the drive goes into power saving mode automatically.

Measuring in at 143.4mm deep, 86.7mm wide, and 20.7mm thick, the Silicon Power Armor A65 1TB is larger than your average portable hard drive, but not exactly bulky, either. I do not exactly know how much the 1TB model we are reviewing today weighs, but the 500GB version is 242g, and the 2TB version is 277g. These figures are about 100g more than ones without protection, which is quite reasonable. Because the Armor A65 has a 2.5" hard drive inside, and uses the USB 3.0 interface, the port already provides all the power it needs; no external AC adapter is required.

Since this is a sealed, waterproof drive, I did not disassemble the drive to take a look at its internal components, but a quick check using AIDA64 Engineer reveals a Samsung/Seagate Spinpoint M8 ST1000LM024 (HN-M101MBB) residing beneath the three layers of protection. The Samsung/Seagate ST1000LM024 is a 1TB 5400RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s laptop hard drive with 8MB cache. With 500GB per platter, it is fairly high density, which should translate to pretty decent speed in the benchmarks -- which we will find out soon. This is the same part used in the Armor A30 and Diamond D06.

After writing the section above, I went to the washroom. As any normal person would do, I reached into my pocket to get the hard drive out of my pants. Unfortunately, despite the grippy rubber jacket, the Silicon Power Armor A65 1TB slipped out of my hands, and became a projectile flying about a meter into the air, and coincidentally fell straight into my toilet. Thankfully, I have not started peeing yet, but it submerged into the water nonetheless. Thanks to the physical size of the A65, it was not hard to fish it out. Before plugging it in to my computer to see if it still worked, I decided to wash it under the tap in the sink. You know, just in case.

As it turned out, the Silicon Power Armor A65 1TB easily survived this test... I mean, "accident". Neither my toilet nor the USB hard drive had any signs of visible damage. The only thing I did not like was the rubber jacket retained quite a bit of water inside, which made drying it a bit of a hassle. Either way, it survived the drop test and the water test at the same time, which is good. Feel free to try this at home, but if anything goes wrong, I hold no responsibility, haha. With that in mind, let us move on to the benchmarks.

Our test configuration as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K @ 4.6GHz
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-U14S (2x Noctua NF-A15)
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution
RAM: Kingston HyperX Savage HX324C11SRK2/16 2x8GB
Graphics: Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 4GB
Chassis: SilverStone Temjin TJ04-E (Noctua NF-S12A PWM, Noctua NF-P12 PWM)
Storage: SanDisk Extreme II 240GB; OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB
Power: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 1200W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi Bravura
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional

Compared Hardware:
- Silicon Power Armor A65 1TB (USB 3.0)
- ADATA DashDrive Durable HD650 500GB (USB 3.0)
- ADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 64GB (USB 3.0)
- ADATA DashDrive HV620 1TB (USB 3.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ G2 32GB (USB 2.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ G3 32GB (USB 3.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 32GB (USB 2.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G2 32GB (USB 3.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB (USB 3.0)
- Kingston DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 32GB (USB 3.0)
- Kingston HyperX Fury 64GB (USB 3.0)
- OCZ Rally2 Turbo 4GB (USB 2.0)
- Patriot Supersonic Magnum 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Patriot Supersonic Rage 2 256GB (USB 3.0)
- Patriot Supersonic Rage XT 32GB (USB 3.0)
- Patriot Stellar 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Silicon Power Armor A30 1TB (USB 3.0)
- Silicon Power Blaze B05 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Silicon Power Diamond D06 1TB (USB 3.0)
- Silicon Power Jewel J80 32GB (USB 3.0)
- Silicon Power Marvel M70 64GB (USB 3.0)
- Silicon Power Mobile X31 32GB (USB 3.0)

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
4. Benchmark: ATTO Disk Benchmark
5. Benchmark: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tach
7. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 4.60
8. Conclusion