Silicon Power Jewel J80 32GB Review (Page 2 of 8)

Page 2: A Closer Look, Test System

Popping the Silicon Power Jewel J80 32GB out of the plastic shell, and the first thing I can say is, "Wow". I have not seen a USB drive this good looking for a very long time. Our conventional designs of a blocky rectangular plastic encasement is completely overshadowed by a new single metal construction. More specifically, the Silicon Power Jewel J80 is made up of a zinc alloy body, which is cool to the touch and also feels quite solid for a flash drive this small. On the top side is the Silicon Power logo engraved, with the size capacity of 32GB etched into the drive. A reminder of the USB 3.0 specification is located underneath the drive capacity. Of course, like any other USB 3.0 drive, this is backward compatible with older USB 2.0 ports, so this will not be an issue. The only difference will be the read and write speeds. At the very top is a metal loop, which allows people to use this as a keychain loop. In fact on the front of the retail box, it shows a set of car keys attached to the Jewel J80.

This design itself is not new, as Silicon Power had a very similar drive called the Firma F80, which looks identical to the Jewel J80 32GB, but is a USB 2.0 flash drive. However, you can still tell this is outside the box thinking for USB flash drive designs. For Silicon Power, this design thinking is found in other products too, like the Silicon Power Diamond D06 1TB. This company has once again pushed their boundaries and has produced a visually stunning flash drive. High props to Silicon Power as they have set my expectations even higher for their next USB drive. There are a few downsides to a full metal body though, and this is more of a fact of how the USB connection port is like. As there are metal pins inside the USB port, these will make contact with the outside body, and this metal-on-metal contact results in fine scratches on the Silicon Power Jewel J80. I only used the drive once or twice, but immediately the damage was done. It would be great to see a company actually produce a metal USB drive with the ability to withstand these scratches, but we have yet to see this happen.

Flipping over the Silicon Power Jewel J80 32GB reveals more uninteresting certifications. What is cool about the Jewel J80 though is they actually engraved these logos into the drive, which adds a bit of class to the flash stick as a whole. There is another model number, "D33B29", engraved on this side. I should note about the appearance of the drive is a lack of any LED lighting. It would be nice for them to throw in some sort of activity LED, since these indicators are cheap, and so users can see their device is working. Finally, Silicon Power has noted that this Jewel J80 drive is water, dust, shock, and vibration proof. While this drive may not look durable, and I am pretty sure it will blend in any BlendTec blender, this is really one of the advantages of "chip on board", or COB assembly.

For those who do not know what this is, chip on board refers to a bare chip directly placed onto the PCB, or printed circuit board. Afterwards, an epoxy or plastic covering is used to insulate the wiring and the chip for protection. Doing this allows for several manufacturing advantages. Traditional USB drives have their controller and flash memory built separately from each other. However COB memory assemble all of the components into one piece, making the drive both smaller, lighter, and cheaper than otherwise. Secondly, this makes the USB stick more durable compared to other drives. One downside though is the performance, as COB USB flash chips generally suffer from slower transfer speeds. Of course, we will see if this comes to fruition when we get to the benchmarks later. It is also almost impossible to fix the drive if it is ever broken, but honestly most manufacturers will just send a replacement rather than trying to repair a broken flash drive anyway.

Speaking of testing, the above picture shows the Silicon Power Jewel J80 32GB plugged into our test computer. Beside the Silicon Power Jewel J80 32GB is the Kingston HyperX Fury 64GB; another USB 3.0 flash drive I will be reviewing in the weeks to come. The Kingston HyperX Cloud gaming headset is also in the background for some shameless product placement. Our test system is as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K (Stock settings)
CPU Cooling: Intel stock cooler
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z87X-D3H
RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury HX318C10FK2/16 2x8GB
Graphics: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 2GB
Chassis: Fractal Design Core 3300
Power: Cooler Master V1000 1000W
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS124-04 24X DVD Writer
Hard Drive: OCZ ARC 100 240GB, Western Digital Blue EZEX 1TB
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional x64

Compared Hardware:
- Silicon Power Jewel J80 32GB (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 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 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