Monday, 20 January 2020

Blitzwolf BW-UPC2 Test and Review

BW-UPC2 Blitzwolf UDB Thumb drive

What's special about it?

You probably wouldn't read this if you didn't know that: The BW-UPC2 has both an USB-C and a USB 3.0 A connector.

Cooool... two connectors
So it should be great for me to exchange files between my "old" Surface Laptop 2 and my "new" iPad Pro (3rd gen, 11"). More on that further down the page.
The look&feel is good, but the rotating cover does not (unlike what they claim on their web site) protect the connectors against dust.

At the time of writing, the 128GByte version of the drive was around 25USD and I got it here from my favorite Chinese reseller.

Benchmark test

I used h2testw (from the renowned German computer magazine CT) to benchmark the drive through it's USB A port.
One thing to look for in USB drives is, if they actually have the capacity they report to the PC. h2testw also checks that by filling and verifying the whole drive. This is not a fake-capacity drive.

The Blitzwolf web site claims "up to 150MByte/s" read, and "up to 50MByte/s" write rate. "Up to" seems like something that does not happen in real life.
Still the measured rates are not bad:

Test results
Still not in the same range as a Sandisk extreme, but very acceptable. A lot better than my awful "Intenso Alu Line 32GByte"

Blitzwolf:

  • Write rate: a little under 40MByte/s
  • Read rate: a little over 60MByte/s
Whereas Intenso Alu Line:
  • Write rate: a little under 4MByte/s (= 1/10th of the Blitzwolf)
  • Read rate: a little over 13 MByte/s
All of this was done on the USB A Port of a Surface Laptop 2.

So the Blitzwolf UPC2 is clearly a massive leap ahead for me when it comes to speed. For very short write bursts, it appears to have some kind of cache, because for low data volumes (some MByte), I get over 70MByte/s write- and over 80MByte/s read rates. That is not sustainable, of course.
It does not appear to be the operating system's file cache, as the Intenso drive does not exhibit this behaviour.
(Funny: the 70MByte/s write rate is over the claimed "up to 50Mbyte/s")

Also interesting: The write-performance was very poor on the USB-C port of a new Surface Laptop 3 15" (17MByte/s write / 70MBytes read), while on the USB A port of the same machine, it was 24MByte/s write / 62MByte read). So there appears to be a dependency on the Computer and it's drivers.

iPad pro (3rd gen.) compatibility

The drive comes pre-formatted with an exFAT file system. This is a good thing, as iOS / iPadOS13 currently only supports MSDOS FAT and exFAT (and APFS/MAC OS extended, which is irrelevant for Windows users)

USB-C & iPad pro
The iPad recognizes the drive and shows it in the "Files" app. Both reading and writing works well.

Conclusion

Exactly what I needed. I'll move my stuff over from the dog slow Intenso drive.


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