Silicon Power T11 review: Small Thunderbolt SSD, small performance

Silicon Power T11
Credit: Michael Homnick
At a Glance
  • Silicon Power T11 (128GB)

    Macworld Rating

    Performance in our Mac tests was erratic, probably due to the small size of the drive (128GB). If you're looking for a tiny Thunderbolt drive, you won't be disappointed, but don't expect over the top...

There are plenty of Thunderbolt SSD options available, but few get as small as Silicon Power's T11. Small size generally comes at a cost, and we found that the drive got unusually hot when used copiously. The T11 is available in both 128GB and 256GB capacities; this review is based on the 128GB version.

File Write

  • Silicon Power T11 (128GB)207
  • ADATA SE720 (128GB)159
  • Apricorn Aegis Portable 3.0 (256GB)356
  • LaCie P'223 (128GB)192
  • OWC Envoy Pro EX (256GB)257
  • Seagate Backup Plus Fast (4TB HDD)229

Results are in MBps. Longer bars/higher results are better.

File write speeds for the T11 are nothing to sneeze at. However, its write performance is more comparable to USB SSD, making the Thunderbolt connection seem a little unnecessary.

Folder Write

  • Silicon Power T11 (128GB)116
  • ADATA SE720 (128GB)155
  • Apricorn Aegis Portable 3.0 (256GB)333
  • LaCie P'223 (128GB)185
  • OWC Envoy Pro EX (256GB)243
  • Seagate Backup Plus Fast (4TB HDD)212

Results are in MBps. Longer bars/higher results are better.

Writing files and folders to the T11 was dissappointingly slow. Several mechanical hard drives that we've tested, such as the G-Technology G-Drive Mobile USB, were faster than the T11.

File Read

  • Silicon Power T11 (128GB)233
  • ADATA SE720 (128GB)322
  • Apricorn Aegis Portable 3.0 (256GB)332
  • LaCie P'223 (128GB)351
  • OWC Envoy Pro EX (256GB)338
  • Seagate Backup Plus Fast (4TB HDD)234

Results are in MBps. Longer bars/higher results are better.

Folder Read

  • Silicon Power T11 (128GB)212
  • ADATA SE720 (128GB)279
  • Apricorn Aegis Portable 3.0 (256GB)294
  • LaCie P'223 (128GB)315
  • OWC Envoy Pro EX (256GB)291
  • Seagate Backup Plus Fast (4TB HDD)171

Results are in MBps. Longer bars/higher results are better.

The T11 also disappointed in our tests that involved reading large files and groups of files and folders.

Hot to the touch

I noticed during our initial testing that the T11 had a tendency to heat up—which, in general, isn't unusual for a storage device in use. However, when I used the drive to copy around 60GB of video files between several Macs, the T11's speed started to slow down after about 20 minutes. When I touched the drive it was too hot to hold.

Silicon Power's T11 drive temperature Michael Homnick

Silicon Power's T11 drive can reach temperatures in excess of 132°F.

When the file copy finished, I removed the 60GB of video files from the T11 and started to copy them right back. I got an infrared thermometer and measured the temperature on the top of the drive. It was 130 degress Farenheit, way past the operating temperature of 107 degress Farenheit that's specified on Silicon Power's product page. The table under the drive was also quite hot, and moving the drive around frequently when in use helped to keep the temperature down. When I contacted Silicon Power they assured me the temperature was normal.

The T11 sometimes reached temperatures of 140 degrees Farenheit. As a point of comparison, I did the same file copy on an Apricorn Padlock SSD, which has a similar form factor as the T11 and also uses a mSATA internal drive. The hottest the Padlock SSD reached was 116 degress Farenheit, within its operating temperature range of 130 degrees. Operating outside the recommended temperature isn't good for the internal components, so be aware of that.

Bottom line

The Silicon Power T11 is tiny but you're paying a premium for the small size. Be weary of the drive heat as well. Though it took some consistent use to get the drive really hot (about 15-20 minutes of continuous use for the drive to become uncomforatble to hold), it isn't something you should have to think about.

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At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Performance in our Mac tests was erratic, probably due to the small size of the drive (128GB). If you're looking for a tiny Thunderbolt drive, you won't be disappointed, but don't expect over the top performance.

    Pros

    • Small and light

    Cons

    • Gets hot with rapid reading and writing
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