In October of 2017 Silicon-Power released their Bolt B80 portable SSD drive that features a robust aluminum enclosure and comes in three capacities ranging from 120GB, 240GB and 480GB. The Bolt B80 series is the company's rugged portable SSD designed for those who need an extremely compact and lightweight portable SSD for easy transport and storage.
Today we are going to review the Bolt B80 120GB portable SSD that retails for $114.99 on Amazon and comes with 3 years of warranty. Most manufactures generally provide a 1-year warranty with their portable devices so having 3-years of warranty is very nice.
The Bolt B80 drive utilizes the new USB Type-C connector and it is compatible with the USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface for data transfer up to 500 MB/s read and 450 MB/s write. It comes with a Type-A to Type-C braided cable which means it offers extra durability compared to regular non-braided cables. You can use the Silicon Power Widget software to configure the Bolt B80 for data backup, AES 256-bit encryption, and cloud storage.
Silicon-Power has made the Bolt B80's housing with an aluminum casing for high durability and on top of that, the Bolt B80 was tested in a military-standard free test and is drop-safe as well as water and dust-proof (IP68). Size-wise, the Bolt B80 is 7.5cm in diameter, 11.9mm thin, and weighs 53g. I love how compact and lightweight it is but I'm disappointed to see that the Bolt B80 series top out at 480GB capacity. I would have liked to have seen up to 1TB of capacity because 480GB is not enough for some people to store all of their data.
What stands out visually from the B80 is the rubber piece that covers the USB-C port. The rubber cover can come in handy if the SSD is accidental dropped by preventing water and dust penetration. Also, the front part of the rubber bumper slightly sticks out for easy access to open the cover. With that being said, the B80 is one of the thinnest and most compact portable SSDs that you will come across and it feels high quality when holding it thanks to the aluminum design.
Silicon-Power has equipped the Bolt B80 drive with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface but it is backwards compatible with USB 3.1 Gen1, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. Keep in mind that USB 3.1 Gen 1 is rated for 5 Gbps which means that it is the identical speed of regular USB 3.0. So when you see USB 3.1 Gen 1, it basically means USB 3.0 while USB 3.1 Gen 2 is the true USB 3.1 and is rated for 10 Gbps. Your system must support USB 3.1 Gen 2 capability in order to use USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices.
An issue that I have with the included A-to-C USB cable is that it makes it difficult to find a replacement if you accidentally lose the cable because most devices use the standard A-to-B cable. However, I do like that the cable is braided which is very much preferred by people because it offers extra durability.
Silicon-Power has included an LED indicator that is microporous laser cut aluminum that allows the light to shine through while at the same time keep water and dust out. Something that I dislike about the B80 is the included USB cable and that is because it is way too short at 30 cm. Other products that I have reviewed from SP have had the same problem with the cable being too short and SP needs to address this issue with their future products.
|Cable:||Type-C (B80) to Type-A (PC/NB)|
|Capacity:||120GB, 240GB, 480GB|
|Dimensions:||75.0 x 75.0 x 11.9mm|
|Interface:||USB 3.1 Gen 2, USB 3.1 Gen1, USB 3.0, USB 2.0|
|Supported OS:||Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP|
Mac OS 10.5.x or later, Linux 2.6.31 or later
|Operating Temperature:||0C - 70C|
|Features:||- Uses the new USB Type-C connector|
- USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface for up to 500 MB/s read
and 450 MB/s write
- 122cm military-grade shock resistant
- IP68 dust-and waterproof
- Type-A to Type-C premium nylon braided cable
with Strain Relief
- SP Widget software for data backup & restore
AES 256-bit encryption, and cloud storage
The Bolt B80 comes in an attractive cardboard box and inside you will find the Bolt B80 external SSD, a USB cable, and the user manual. The drive itself is inside a high density foam which acts as shock absorbent and helps prevent any damages to the drive during shipping. On the back, you will see a description of all the features and the specifications of the Bolt B80 portable SSD.
Most manufactures don't even bother including a manual guide these days but Silicon-Power includes one which is nice to see. Overall, the packaging is solid and the product arrived in perfect condition.
The drive comes pre-formatted in FAT32 which means it cannot store files larger than 4GB so I went ahead and formatted it in NTFS because I normally work with large files and I plan to use it with Windows only. The drive is compatible with any version of Windows, from XP and all the way up to Windows 10 in both 32bit and 64bit. It is also compatible with Mac OS 10.5 or later and supports Linux 2.6.31 or later.
The internal SSD supports features such as as S.M.A.R.T, NCQ and TRIM. A big advantage portable SSDs have over portable HDDs besides speed, is power consumption. An SSD consumes less power which is very important for a portable drive because you don't want to drain the laptop's battery too quickly when you are transferring files.
The Silicon Power Bolt B80 can be used with the SP Widget software which provides backup and security functions and you can download it directly from Silicon Power’s site. The SP Widget is an executable file that runs as a standalone app without the need to be installed. When you first open up the SP Widget utility, you will be presented with five different options; Project Backup, Data Encryption, My Favorite Backup, Data in the Cloud and Setup.
The user interface is fairly basic and the navigation process is pretty straight forward. Design-wise, the utility sports an outdated look which I think could be improved to make it more modern.
When it comes to backup, most people either use a third party software or use the built-in of the operating systems but it never hurts to have a standalone backup utility that offers additional features. The data encryption option allows you to encrypt your data. All you have to do is select the files you want to encrypt and then enter the password to encrypt them. Overall, the SP Widget tool is easy to use but I'd like to see an updated version with an improved look and feel and maybe some additional functionalities.
|Processor:||AMD Ryzen 7 1700X|
|Motherboard:||MSI X370 Gaming xPower Titanium (BIOS v1.9)|
|RAM:||Ballistix Elite DDR4 16GB (2x8GB) 3466 MHz|
|Graphics Card:||nVidia GTX 1070|
|Storage:||Crucial MX300 1TB|
|Power Supply:||SilverStone ST80F-TI|
|OS:||Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit|
|Thermal Compound:||Noctua NT-H1|
|Portable Drives:||Crucial MX500 1TB|
Samsung 860 EVO 500GB
Silicon-Power Bolt B80 120GB
Silicon-Power Armor A62S 1TB
WD Passport Ultra 500GB
Seagate Slim Portable 500GB
Corsair Voyage Air 500GB
The testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 10 64-bit. We made sure there were as few processes running as possible during the testing. We'll be using the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X CPU that will run on stock settings and we are also using the MSI X370 Gaming xPower Titanium motherboard with the latest BIOS installed. We will be connecting the Bolt B80 drive to the USB 3.1 Gen 2 port on the back of the motherboard to ensure it is tested at its maximum performance.
The 120GB model that I received offers great performance and above is a screenshot from CrystalDiskMark. I recorded sequential speeds of ~400 MB/s read and ~450 MB/s write.
Now we are using the ATTO disk benchmark tool to measure the read/write performance of the B80 with different transfer sizes and test lengths.
In the HD Tune Pro benchmark, the Bolt B80 displayed good results for a portable SSD drive.
For this benchmark I threw in the Crucial MX500 and Samsung 860 EVO just so we can get an idea of how the Bolt B80 compares to an internal SSD. Looking at the read/write performance above, we can see the Bolt B80 is significantly faster than the portable HDDs that were tested and it performed relatively well compared to the internal SSDs even though I wasn't expecting it to outperform two of the fastest internal SSDs on the market.
The Silicon Power Bolt B80 is without a doubt an attractive portable SSD that delivers great performance at an affordable price. Most portable SSDs on the market utilize a plastic build quality so this makes it easy for the Bolt B80 to stand out from the competition due to the aluminum design. It also comes with a braided cable which is nice to see and is shock-resistant as well as dust and waterproof. I did some drop testing from the waist-level a couple of times and it survived with no problems.
My biggest issue with the Bolt B80 is the cable and its length. Since the USB cable is not attached to the drive, this will increase the chances of losing the cable so finding a replacement will make it harder and I find the USB cable too short at 30cm. I also think Silicon-Power should release a bigger capacity because 480GB is not enough for users such as myself that have a ton of data. Another thing that could use an improvement is the SP Widget utility which I think needs a more modern UI with additional features to make it more appealing.
+ Rugged Compact Design
+ Fantastic Build Quality
+ IP68 Dust And Waterproof
+ Fast Performance
+ Braided USB Cable
+ Great Packaging
+ 3 Year Warranty
- SP Widget Needs Improvements
- Short Cable (30cm)
- Limited Capacity
There are plenty of portable external SSDs out there but most of them are bulky and not shock-resistant and water-resistant. For around $115, you get a rugged thin design portable SSD that comes with 3 years of warranty and offers great performance. It's not the fastest portable SSD out there but it's plenty fast for most people so if you are in the market for a durable portable SSD, the Bolt B80 might be what you need. Overall, I believe the Silicon-Power Bolt B80 120GB deserves our recommended award.
Final Score 9.0