Lexar 512GB Portable SSD D512 USB 3.0 Solid State Drive Review

by - 4 years ago

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Introduction


Lexar_D512-Photo-data fillage

Today we are taking a closer look at fast external storage, more specifically Lexar’s newest portable SSD called the D512. Lexar also offers the drive in a smaller D256 version with 256GB capacity, but I have the pleasure to have to big 512GB model on the test bench today.

Right away we see that we have a small and compact drive which is perfect for a portable unit. On top of that, it is also a very light drive that you barely will notice when you have it packed next to the rest of your items. So we have a strong portable drive right of the start, but what about the performance. Performance has to match and that’s where a portable SSD shines over a flash drive. Both types of drives use NAND technology, but other than that there are big differences.

Lexar_D512-Photo-front

Lexar’s portable SSD is capable of sequential transfer speeds up to 450MB/s when reading and 245MB/s writing which is pretty nice for a portable storage solution that is as small and light as the D512. The is no official rating for random performance, but we’ll naturally have a look at that once we get the benchmarks rolling.

The tiny D512 provides plenty of space for you while you are on the go and travel about. Whether you want to take along you movie collect, music library, and photos, you’re covered with plenty of storage. It is also an optimal drive to unload all your vacation photos onto from memory cards and portable capture devices.

Lexar_D512-Photo-rear

One of the unique things that come with the D512 is the capacity meter on the front. The first five LEDs act as such and will light up as the drive gets filled with data. This allows you an instant view on the drive fillage as soon as you plug it into your system. The second unique feature works in conjunction with Lexar’s other Workflow products. The new portable SSD uses the same form factor and connector which makes it compatible with the Workflow drive hubs. Just plug the drive in and you are good to go. I love the Workflow system so much and use it almost every day for my work here at eTeknix.

Lexar_D512-Photo-top

The drive is also highly compatible when it comes to volume setup as it supports both NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT. On its own, the drive is fully plug-and-play and doesn’t require any drivers or tools of any sort. This naturally originates from USB standard that is plug-and-play by definition.

Lexar is part of the Micron Group which also means that the drive is equipped with some of the best NAND flash on the market and that has undergone high-grade quality checks before assembly.

Lexar_D512-Photo-bottom

Feature Highlights

  • SSD-level performance — up to 450MB/s read and 245MB/s write speeds
  • Sleek and compact design
  • Available in 256GB and 512GB capacity options
  • LED capacity meter displays available storage space
  • Great for use with Lexar Professional Workflow line products
  • Two-year limited warranty

Package and Accessories

Lexar packed the 512GB Portable SSD in a neat white box that shows the drive’s look and basic specifications on the top.

Lexar_D512-Photo-box top

The bottom of the box also has the system requirements, which is a USB port, as well as the basic specification again, but in several languages.

Lexar_D512-Photo-box bottom

Inside the box, you will find the portable SSD itself as well as a USB 3.0 cable.

Lexar_D512-Photo-package contents

Both sides of the drive are covered with a protective plastic film to make sure it arrives scratch-free in your hands. It also gives you that little bit of joy it is to remove the film from your brand new device.

Lexar_D512-Photo-top with plastic

Lexar_D512-Photo-rear with plastic

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Test Procedure & Methodology


Testing an external solid state drive isn’t much different than testing an internal one, except that there are a few tests that we can’t run because the apps only work for internal connection. We can still make it a great review and test all the drives aspects and use the same testing methodology.

We will start with a normal benchmark analysis of the formatted drive with various fillage scenarios. Depending on how a drive is built, it might perform differently depending on how much data it already is storing. To test this, the drive will be tested empty as well as with 25%, 50%, and 75% space usage. For these tests, we will be using Anvil’s Storage Utilities, AS SSD Benchmark, ATTO Benchmark, and CrystalDiskMark. Besides these synthetic fill tests, the drive will also be tested with AIDA64’s storage benchmark to get more drive details.

Durability is also a factor when it comes to NAND-based drives as the chips only can be rewritten so many times before they’ll stop working properly. Modern SSDs come with wear-level algorithms to increase the lifetime and reduce this factor as much as possible. We also take this into consideration in our reviews, but real-world conditions would take years to complete. Luckily Anvil’s Storage Utilities comes with an endurance test to simulate this. It is considerably faster, but it is still a process that can take up to three days where we’ll write up to 10 TB data to the drive in the form of thousands and thousands of small files in various sizes and compressibility. This is also one of the differences between ordinary flash drives and portable SSDs, the endurance abilities.

Following the conditioning process, all of the previous benchmarks will be run again in the same scenarios and order. This will give us a great view on how a drive will perform after 3 years of usage and that is a very relevant factor.

Modern operating systems all take care of the TRIM command in the background and it isn’t something normal users need to worry about. However, For these reviews, I will add a waiting period between each benchmark to make sure that the TRIM command has been fully executed and finished. We want a clear picture of the drives performance with minimal interference from the operating system.

On each page that follows with the benchmark results, I have inserted the screenshots from the benchmark results, created a drive analysis chart for fill-level as well as a drive comparison chart for each software used, where possible.

Lexar_D512-Photo-in docking station

Test system:

Software used:

  • Windows 10 Pro 64Bit
  • AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
  • Anvil’s Storage Utilities 1.1.0
  • AS SSD Benchmark 1.7.4739.38088
  • ATTO Benchmark 2.46
  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 64-bit

The drive will be connected to a 10 Gbps USB 3.1 port powered by Intel, via Thunderbolt, to make sure that there aren’t any system limitation and we get the best possible speed from our test SSD.

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AIDA64


AIDA64 is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for home users. It provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring.

It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives and is compatible with most Microsoft Windows operating systems. It also has a disk benchmark tool, and that is the one we’ll be using.

Fresh Drive

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-aida suite

The Linear Read and Write tests measure the sequential performance by reading or writing all sectors without skipping any. It gives, as the name says, a linear view of the drives overall performance from start to end.

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-aida read linear

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-aida write linear

The Random Read and Write tests measure the random performance by reading or writing variable-sized data blocks at random locations on the surface of the drive. The Random tests are actually a combination of both speed and access times as it moves the position before each new operation.

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-aida read random

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-aida write random

The Access time tests are designed to measure the data access performance by reading or writing small 0.5KB data blocks at random locations on the drive surface.

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-aida read access

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-aida write access

Conditioned Drive

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-aida suite

The Linear Read and Write tests measure the sequential performance by reading or writing all sectors without skipping any. It gives, as the name says, a linear view of the drives overall performance from start to end.

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-aida read linear

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-aida write linear

The Random Read and Write tests measure the random performance by reading or writing variable-sized data blocks at random locations on the surface of the drive. The Random tests are actually a combination of both speed and access times as it moves the position before each new operation.

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-aida read random

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-aida write random

The Access time tests are designed to measure the data access performance by reading or writing small 0.5KB data blocks at random locations on the drive surface.

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-aida read access

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-aida write access

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Anvil’s Storage Utilities


Anvil’s Storage Utilities is a new benchmarking utility that is completely free to download and has the ability to test mainly hard drives and solid state drives, but also any other form of storage medium that you can throw at it. As well as testing the drive in a variety of benchmarking tests.

Fresh Drive

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-anvils compr 75

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-anvils incompr 75

Conditioned Drive

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-anvils compr 75

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-anvils incompr 75

Drive Performance

Lexar_D512-Chart-Anvils_compressible

Lexar_D512-Chart-Anvils_incompressible

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

Lexar_D512-ChartComp-Anvils

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AS SSD


The AS SSD software determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains five synthetic and three practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are performed without using the operating system caches. In Sequential tests, the program measures the time it takes to read and write a 1GB file respectively. To give a clearer picture of the drives tested, I’ve chosen to include all tests. Special the copy test is one that I think is relevant on the consumer level as it gives the user a view of one of the operations he’s going to do many times.

Fresh Drive

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-asssd combined

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-asssd compr 75

Conditioned Drive

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-asssd combined

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-asssd compr 75

Drive Performance

Lexar_D512-Chart-ASSSD

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

Lexar_D512-ChartComp-ASSSD

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ATTO


The ATTO Disk Benchmark is a performance measurement tool is for Microsoft Windows. It measures your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. It has multiple options to available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. ATTO Disk Benchmark can be used to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives.

Fresh Drive

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-atto 75

Conditioned Drive

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-atto 75

Drive Performance

Lexar_D512-Chart-ATTO

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

Lexar_D512-ChartComp-ATTO

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CrystalDiskMark


CrystalDiskMark is a small HDD benchmark utility for your hard drive that enables you to rapidly measure sequential and random 4KB/512KB read/write speeds.

Fresh Drive

Lexar_D512-BenchFresh-cdm 75

Conditioned Drive

Lexar_D512-BenchCondi-cdm 75

Drive Performance

Lexar_D512-Chart-CDM

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

Lexar_D512-ChartComp-CDM

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Final Thoughts


Pricing

At the time of writing, the Lexar 512GB Portable Solid State Drive can be yours for as little as $169.99 at Amazon US, £112.44 at Amazon UK, or €147.90 through Geizhals.

Lexar_D512-Chart-PricePerGB

Overview

Lexar’s 512GB Portable SSD combines the best of a lot of worlds into a tiny drive. While it is larger than a thumbs drive, it is far smaller than external drives usually are – and it’s also extremely lightweight. Whether you want to use it at home or take it on the road, it will be a great companion.

The use of the same design as the Lexar Workflow series uses also allows you to use it in combination with the Workflow drive hubs. Mix and match up to four drives and card readers and connect them with a single cable to your system. This can make backup jobs from cards to portable drives a lot easier and faster than you’re used to. I really love the Workflow series and I’m using it every day here at the office to unload review photos from my camera, among other things.

Performance wise we also land somewhere between ordinary flash drives and solid state drives. While we didn’t reach the same performance as we get from internal SSDs, we do get something a lot better than we’re used to from USB 3.0 based flash storage. Awesome flash drives can perform around 200MB/s, but it takes a real SSD like this one to get up to and above the 400MB/s.

Lexar’s Portable SSD also comes with the unique feature that is the LED capacity meter. As soon as the drive is connected and powered, you’ll be able to see how full the drive is by the five LEDs on the front. The more light up, the fuller the drive is.

So to sum it up, you get a great performing, lightweight, portable, and good-looking solid state drive from Lexar if you choose to get a Lexar 512GB Portable SSD. At the same time, you get it pretty cheap and it isn’t a drive that will blow any budget.

Pros:

  • USB 3.0 connectivity
  • Small and lightweight
  • Good performance
  • Low price
  • Workflow drive hub compatibility
  • LED capacity meter

Cons:

  • None

“The Lexar 512GB Portable SSD is a great performing and lightweight drive that will be as good on the road as it is at home.”

innovation-award2

Lexar 512GB Portable SSD D512 USB 3.0 Solid State Drive Review

Thank You Lexar for providing this review sample

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Test Procedure & Methodology
  3. Aida64
  4. Anvil's Storage Utilities
  5. AS SSD
  6. ATTO
  7. CrystalDiskMark
  8. Final Thoughts
  9. View All

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