funkyfresh computers and accessories

Crucial MX500 1TB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD Review

crucialmx500

The Crucial MX500 is a 2.5 inch SSD designed to be installed inside a notebook computer. We tested it by upgrading the hard drive in a Dell Precision 7720.

The internal style of SSD has a smaller profile than an SSD you might install inside a desktop computer. It can be used in both but is designed for tighter installations than you typically see with a desktop computer. That's why the MX500 includes a 7mm to 9.5mm spacer. By making the SSD profile smaller and including the spacer this SSD allows for more installation options. We did not need the spacer for installation in the Dell Precision 7720, but we did use it for a better fit.

Crucial includes a download link optimization software and Acronis for easy imaging of existing drives you'll be replacing.

It took less than 10 minutes to replace the Hitachi HDD in the Dell Precision 7720. Simply remove 4 screws to release the HDD bracket from inside the computer and another 4 screws to remove the existing HDD from the bracket. Replace the HDD with the Crucial MX500, put everything back together and your ready to format.

We originally had an SSD for Windows 10 and our Apps and a 1TB 7200RPM Hitachi HDD for our data. This is a pretty typical setup for many users that want a fast boot time and maybe don't have the need to move large amounts of data. For us, our laptop is often used for video production and media management so speed is a priority.

Moving files to and from the internal 7200 HDD was too slow for our needs. For example, we recently tested copying 84GB of media files, 472 total files, from the internal SSD to the internal HDD and took 11:48. After replacing the HDD with the Crucial MX500 into our system we were able to move that same batch of data in 3:06 about a 4X improvement. The 420 MB/s speed was a welcome improvement over the 125MB/s we were getting with the mechanical HDD.

Check out the full lineup of Crucial 2.5 SSDs here

G-Drive Mobile SSD R-Series 1TB Review

gdrive ssd r series
The G-Drive SSD R-Series includes a USB-C port and is USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 compatible. It includes a couple really short cables. The R stands for rugged and it comes in a very attractive case that feel plenty sturdy. The R-Series also boasts P67 water and dust resistance, 3-meter drop protection3, and a 1000lb crush-proof rating. Although we would advise pushing any of these claims. Keep it in your backpack.

We love this little drive. It's small, lightweight but sturdy and really fast. We absolutely love this for backing up media in the field. If you think USB 3 was slowing you down, you're wrong. It's plenty fast. The problem has been the slow external media you've been using. 7200RPM drives just don't cut it anymore.

For example, compared to a 7200 RPM G-Drive mobile HDD the Mobile SSD R-Series, the SSD was nearly 4X faster. For example, on a video shoot you have to manage media throughout the day. We recently did a shoot where each break we were moving about 100GB to and from our laptop. We dump the media to the laptop, back up to the internal SSD and then to external media. So at any given time the media is on 3 storage devices. We tested transferring 84GB of media this way using the G-Drive SSD compared to the G-Drive 7200RPM HDD.

Moving 472 files totaling 84GB took 11:48, let's call it 12 minutes, to backup to an external 7200 RPM G-Drive Mobile. Backing up that same batch of data to the G-Drive Mobile SSD R-Series took just 3:19, let's call it 3 minutes, so you're looking at roughly a 4X speed difference. Since we do media management throughout the shoot day. That time savings really adds up since we do media management a few times a day. Plus when we get back to the edit suite it's a lot faster to ingest the media into our NLE system.

Over the years, we've only had a couple of issues with flash memory where we experienced catastrophic failure, both with 64GB compact flash cards and not SSDs, however we're always mindful of having our media on multiple storage devices to minimize the risk of loss.

The G-Drive SSD R-Series has a very attractive design and it's smaller than anticipated, about ¾ the size of typical SSD. The 1TB series works well as a shuttle drive moving files from our field laptop to the NLE system in the studio. It rarely push this capacity because we're not using it as a storage drive and this extra headroom should allow for long term performance.

If you're still using mechanical HDDs in the field for media management we highly recommend considering moving to an SSS solution like the the G-Drive SSD R-Series. We love this little drive.

Check out the full lineup of G-Drive R-Series SSDs here.

HP Z230 Workstation Review



The HP Z230 is a single CPU workstation that looks similar to other workstations in the Z family but is much smaller and less expandable. It's quiet and can fit into tighter spaces. The Z230 has an aesthetically pleasing facade but flimsy case that makes it feel like a cheap PC clone. We were expecting a much more substantial feel even in the smaller form factor. In fact, most of the noise that emanates from the Z230 is a low frequency hum of the cheap metal case.

Our test unit featured a 3.4 Ghz i7-4770, 8GB DDR3 RAM, Intel 4600 graphics, 1TB Seagate 7200 HDD and Win 7 pro. Out of the box we found it severely handicapped and immediately upgraded it with a SanDisk Extreme SSD and Quadro card plus a Velociraptor for data. We could easily add two in RAID 0 for even better performance or even go all SSD. The HP Z230 makes it east with one 2.5 bay for an SSD and two 3.5 bays for HDDs. Add a Thunderbolt 2 card and you have even more storage options.

It's kind of silly to sell anything as a workstation for creative professionals that has a hard drive for the OS and program data. After our upgrade the performance was much better in our NLEs and other creative programs.

Like other HP workstations, upgrading the Z230 is very easy. No tools are required and you can be in and out of the case with cards and drives installed in just a couple of minutes. It's tight but there's enough room for a full length video card. There's also a PCI slot to support any legacy products or audio cards you might have. For example our Lynx Two studio card is PCI based and it's still our favorite for laying down tracks.

The HP Z230 is a decent entry level workstation in a small package. It's quiet, performs well and is easy to upgrade. We're disappointed in the cheap feeling case but like the overall design and ease of use. For situations where the budget is tight but a 3 year warranty is attractive, the Z230 makes sense. 

Visit HP for more information and all the specs.

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