OCZ Throttle 16GB eSATA Drive
Written by Huy Duong   
Wednesday, 11 March 2009

thumb.jpgOCZ Throttle eSATA Flash Drive

Even the fastest USB drives can't hold a candle to eSATA. Today we'll be looking at OCZ's entry into the eSATA flash drive market. Will the Throttle fly, or will it stall at the gates?
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We would imagine most of our readers own or at the very least are well aware of flash drives. Over the last several years, the capacities have grown tremendously and more recently, the shift in attention has been towards speed. There's little desire in a large capacity flash drive if it takes over an hour to fill it up.

From our experiences, the OCZ Rally 2 Turbo has been the pinnacle of fast USB flash drives. For the most part, we haven't had any complaint that something took too long to copy. That said, with the increasing popularity of eSATA, we've been wondering why we haven't seen more flash drives migrating to that format. The speed potential is great, and while we are not engineers, we would think it would not be overly complicated to present more options for consumers.

We are starting to see more eSATA devices pop up nowadays, and today we'll be reviewing OCZ's Throttle eSATA Flash Drive. As the name suggests, this flash drive has the ability to plug into an available eSATA connection and perform at speeds unseen by traditional USB devices. 

OCZ Throttle eSATA Flash Drive

 

The OCZ Throttle eSATA Flash Drive ships in a rather simple box. The box itself is adorned with basic artwork and drive specifications. The thin cardboard exterior is covered with a thin shrink wrap that is easily removed. At first we thought something was amiss as the box weighed pretty much nothing, but upon opening it, everything was there.

Contents are simple enough. We have the OCZ Throttle and a short USB cable. Why include such a cable if the drive is an eSATA based one? We'll explain shortly. Not included was any sort of transportation assistance such as a lanyard or pouch. There is also no driver CD, but the device is plug and play. We had no issues with either 32-Bit or 64-Bit Windows Vista.

The OCZ Throttle is a piano black drive, with the exterior shell being made of plastic. To be totally honest, I am not sure if I am sold on the physical design aspects of it as it isn't exactly the prettiest flash drive I've seen. Where the OCZ Rally 2 sits on the top of this preference list, the Throttle, not so much. I realize looks isn't everything, so we'll leave it at that. One one side of the throttle shows off the Throttle logo as well as the capacity. In this case, it is 16GB.

On the other side of the Throttle is the URL for OCZ Technology. Being the shell is made of plastic, the drive will not be as durable as some of the military grade drives we've seen popping up, but the Throttle is strong enough to withstand a fall from a table on to the floor. Missing from the Throttle is any means to attach a lanyard, which is also not included. The Throttle is designed to go into your pocket exclusively (or held). This is not a big deal for us since I never use lanyards, but something to note for those of you who do.

The OCZ Throttle measures (L)79.1mm x (W)29.9mm x (H)10.3mm. It sits in around the middle when it comes to drive sizes we've worked with before. 

Popping off the cap, we have the eSATA connection. The eSATA interface can plug directly into any compatible motherboard or laptop with powered eSATA port. With the eSATA connection, the Throttle is capable of up to 90MB/sec read speeds and 30MB/sec write speeds.

 

  

The Throttle is being marketed as an eSATA flash drive, which it is, but it does have a mini USB 2.0 port for those of you without an eSATA connection. This is where the USB cable we mentioned earlier comes in, but for two reasons. As we just said, the cable is there for data connectivity, but as we also mentioned previously, in order for the OCZ Throttle to work in an eSATA interface, the drive needs power. If the eSATA connection you have on your motherboard or case is not powered, you will need to plug the USB cable into the Throttle (while it is in an eSATA port) and connect the other end into a USB port for power.

At this time, you're not going to find any powered eSATA ports on existing motherboards on the market. The SATA standards committee is still ratifying this, so you will be forced to carry the USB cable around with you if you wish to plug it into an eSATA connection. 

Testing

We will be testing the OCZ Throttle eSATA Flash Drive using real-world file transfers. The test bed will be an i7 965 Extreme, MSI X58 motherboard, a Seagate 7200.11 1TB drive and 6GB of Corsair Dominator. The OS is Vista 64-Bit, all recent updates and SP1 applied.

We will be testing small file transfer, large file transfer and a large single file. For the small files, we have 12 CBR files (The Watchmen), each roughly 17MB for a total of 198MB. For the large file, we have 4 episodes of The Sopranos, each roughly 450MB for a total of 1.88GB. For the single file, we using a downloaded movie trailer for Terminator Salvation, weighing in at 142GB.

Files will be copied from the hard drive to the OCZ Throttle (write) and after clearing the clipboard, copied from the Throttle back to the hard drive. Comparison drives will be a 4GB Flash Voyager, OCZ Rally 2 Turbo and the Throttle itself, except in USB mode.

Write Tests

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Read Tests

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Final Words

Clearly, the  is a speed demon. In USB mode, the drive performed on par with the OCZ Rally 2 Turbo, making it amongst the faster USB based drives we've tested. In eSATA mode, it just leaves everyone behind. In the small file tests, the Throttle was almost 100% faster than it's closest competitor. The Corsair drive was trumped very badly, but in its defense it isn't one of the high-speed rated ones. that said, it was in the large file transfers we see the OCZ Throttle really flex some muscle. The results are also consistent with OCZ's speed claims, and in fact we saw a burst read speed of 289.2MB/sec in the large file transfer.

With this much speed, it's hard to find any shortcomings. For those of you who do not have eSATA ports, the Throttle still has value as it does have USB. In case any of you are wondering, yes, if you put data on the drive via eSATA, you can read it with the USB connection and vice versa. That benefit is also its shortcoming as OCZ does not include any sort of pouch or convenient velcro to bundle up the USB cable. This doesn't really impact portability that much as the cable isn't 15 feet long or anything close to that, but it isn't obviously as convenient as plugging in the drive and moving off with it. This will hopefully change soon and we'll see powered eSATA ports on motherboards. 

Otherwise, for anyone looking at the fastest, truley portable storage solution, the  is something to really consider. Be it USB or eSATA, the Throttle gets the job done... quickly.

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