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100Gb Core by CnM – Portable HDD Review

100Gb Core by CnM External USB 2 HDD

I am looking to replace my USB flash drive with something with more capacity and speed, so I thought a small external hard drive would be great, and the Core by CnM 100Gb drive for only £22 compares very well against the Sandisk Cruzer Edge 8gb flash drive I just paid £12 for.

              Drive Name :  Size  : Cost : £ Per GB
     Sandisk Cruzer Edge -    8Gb - £12  - £1.50
             Core by CnM -  100Gb - £22  - £0.22
     Verbatim Store N Go -  500Gb - £40  - £0.08
     Samsung S2 Portable - 1000Gb - £69  - £0.07

Value For Money

So we already know that this drive is about 7 times cheaper per gigabyte than the USB flash drive from Cruzer, and from past experience, all external USB hard drives really are just a laptop drive in a shiny plastic shell.

I tried to find a 100Gb  2.5″ drive for under £22 and had no luck, the smaller capacity drives are inordinately expensive, so I began to wonder what was in the box…

Disassembly

The drive was relatively easy to open, I applied pressure to the shiny Core top, in the direction indicated in the image below, the bottom edge seems to be the least secure and it popped open. I have highlighted the location of all the clips for you.

The Hard Drive

Inside the box is a REFURBISHED Hitachi Travelstar HTS721010G9SA00 – SATA 150, 8Mb cache, 7200 RPM.

The drive is not secured into the caddy with any screws, there are only 2 damping strips and the cabling for the LED to prevent the drive inside from moving.

It is connected via a SATA to USB board.

SATA to USB connector

Performance

I don’t find it noisy in operation, this is obviously subjective, it clicks and clatters a bit during file transfer, but nothing I find annoying.

Performance is limited by the USB 2.0 spec, it maxed out around the 32MB/sec transfer limit, my system allocates 20% to system overhead.

Check what overhead your system reserves  –

  • Open Device Manager – Right click on My Computer and select Manage or  run devmgmt.msc
  • Find Universal Serial Bus Controllers, and click the plus sign
  • Locate one of the “USB Enhanced Host Controller” entries
  • Right Click and select Properties
  • Click onto the Advanced tab

USB Enhanced Host Controller - 20% Overhead

I used HDTune to run a benchmark on the drive, you can download a copy from http://www.hdtune.com/download.html – the free version only tests read speed.

HDTune 2.55 Read Speed

Conclusion

I’m using this drive with a blu-ray blayer to stream HD content. It takes a while to fill the drive with large files, write transfer speeds are slow compared to my raid array, but much faster than any USB flash drive I own.
My computer supports USB 3.0 but I felt the additional cost of a USB 3.0 external drive isn’t worth it yet, especially as the player is still only USB 2.0 capable.
The price per GB is very attractive for a portable drive, I would recommend the Core by CnM drives if you want a cheap portable solution.

Alternatives? The USB 3.0 Verbatim Store n Go 500GB almost got my money, shop around.

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