Review: CalDigit AV Pro a speedy storage device for creative pros
At a Glance
With a handful of ways to customize the drive and the high-speed USB 3 interface, the AV Pro is a storage device built to help streamline the workflow of creative professionals. CalDigit offers two different models of the AV Pro: a model with a 3.5-inch hard drive, or one with a 2.5-inch solid-state drive. Regardless of which model you choose, the AV Pro has user-serviceable drives that allow easy replacement of the drive mechanism when the need arises.
The AV Pro’s straightforward design is base on an aluminum chassis and features a die-cast front panel that securely locks the drive module in place. The enclosure has a pin release system for quick removal of the drive, as well as an auto-switching smart fan that adjusts to the type of drive inside the device and cools it accordingly. However, if you decide to get the hard drive-based AV Pro, you can’t use its drive modules with an SSD, and vice versa. If you want to switch from a hard drive or SSD to the other type of drive, you must buy the appropriate drive module from CalDigit. (A plastic Archive Box for safely storing unused drive mechanism is included with the module.)
CalDigit upgraded the AV Pro’s transfer protocol to UAS (USB attached SCSI), which allows the AV Pro to transfer files more efficiently than using Bulk Only Transport protocol.
The AV Pro comes with software that monitors the drive’s activity and manage its contents. CalDigit also has an iOS app that provides performance monitoring, diagnostics, and tech support contact.
We tested both a 240GB SSD and a 3TB hard drive AV Pro, and both performed favorably. The transfer rates for both drives over the FireWire 800 interface were extremely similar, sitting in the 82 to 88 MBps range. However, over USB 3.0, the SSD AV Pro yielded faster speeds, as to be expected. In the AJA System Test, the SSD model posted a write speed of 243.6 MBps and a read speed of 266.3 MBps, while the hard drive model scored a write speed of 196.6 MBps and a read speed of 200.4 MBps. When transferring our 10 GB folder, the SSD AV Pro yielded a write speed of 229.3 MBps and a read speed of 226.4 MBps, as the HDD wrote the same folder at 189.4 MBps and read it at 192.2 MBps. In our final test, the SSD AV Pro wrote our 10GB file at 203 MBps and read the same file at 237.5 MBps, whereas the hard drive AV Pro wrote the 10GB file at 199.8 MBps and read it at 210.3 MBps.
If you are a media professional in need of a speedy desktop external drive, and want one that comes with some cool extras, the AV Pro could be the perfect fit. It’s incredibly easy to use right out of the box and performed impressively in our lab tests. Plus, if you fill up a drive, the AV Pro’s drive module allows you to quickly and easily remove and replace it with a fresh one. All in all, CalDigit’s AV Pro is a nice external drive that’s easy to recommend to users looking to maximize their production.