As a full time Final Cut Pro X user, I’m always on the lookout for things that can make my editing workflow easier. One such product that fits that description is the Atom SSD from Glyph.
The USB-C-enabled 1TB Atom SSD lends ample storage space to the MacBook Pro in a small, portable form factor. More importantly, the unit is plenty fast for transferring the large files that are common to video editing workflows.
Thanks to its portable size and fast transfer rates, it’s a solid way to add additional storage to the 12-inch MacBook or the MacBook Pro, especially while away from your home or office. Have a look at our hands-on video walkthrough as we take the Atom SSD for a spin.
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One of the most important things to think about when considering an external storage solution is speed. The MacBook Pro’s internal storage is blazing fast, so it’s nice to have external storage that’s faster than what a standard spinning disk might offer. Traditional spinning disk drives still have their place, but when you need fast transfer rates, it’s hard to beat an SSD.
After unboxing the Atom, the first thing I did was perform speed tests using QuickBench and the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. Glyph states that the Atom SSD features transfer rates up to 480MB/sec and the Blackmagic tests lived up to this billing.
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The Atom SSD features a USB 3.1 gen 2 interface, which is capable of transfer rates up to 10Gbps, double that of standard USB 3.0/3.1 gen 1. As we can see, the Atom SSD isn’t fast enough to take advantage of all of the extra available bandwidth, but Glyph’s Atom RAID SSD, which features transfer speeds up to 800 MB/sec, is.
Of course, Blackmagic’s test revolves primarily around video editing, so it’s not going to showcase the drive’s performance in various usage scenarios. For that, I like to use a Standard QuickBench test, which helps paint a broader picture of disk performance.
Both Atom SSDs are marketed at media professionals, and as such, these drives perform really well when handling large media files that are typically associated with video editing. I found that the drive could easily play back unoptimized 4K video straight from my Sony A7Sii’s SD Card when using Final Cut Pro X’s “Better Performance” setting. Keep in mind that the “Better Performance” setting isn’t used for the sake of the Atom SSD, it just so happens that the 13-inch MacBook Pro itself can’t handle full quality 100Mbps 4K video playback without stutter.
The Atom SSD is less than 5-inches tall, 2-inches wide, and half-an-inch thick. It can easily fit in a pocket, which makes it perfect for on-the-go work.
Because it’s bus-powered, a simple USB connection, using the included USB-C to USB-C or USB-C to USB-A cable, is all it takes to make the drive work, which increases its portability.
One thing to note is that the included cables are very short at only 6-inches, so you might want to invest in a longer cable if your setup requires additional length.
The Atom SSD is contained within an all aluminum enclosure that features a single USB-C input port on its end. On top of the unit rests the Glyph logo, and on the bottom of the device you’ll find two rubber feet that help prevent the drive from sliding around on your desk.
The unit comes covered with a removable silicone protector sleeve to give it additional ruggedness, but the solid aluminum enclosure seems to be strong enough on its own to withstand normal usage. That said, Glyph includes a 3-year comprehensive warranty with the Atom SSD, which includes the device itself and its cables. There’s also lifetime phone and email support.
The Atom SSD is dead silent because its aluminum enclosure is enough to dissipate the heat generated by the drive. This makes it even more ideal when doing voiceovers for video work and the like.
On top of the drive you’ll notice a green LED status indicator light. This light shines whenever it’s connected to your computer and flashes whenever read or write operations occur. I found the light to be a needless distraction, and wish there was someway to disable it.
The Atom SSD is a good pickup for anyone who needs fast external storage in a quiet, portable package. It’s especially useful if you own a MacBook with 512GB or less internal storage, and the fact that it features a bus-powered USB-C connection means that it connects directly to your MacBook or MacBook Pro without any dongles or additional cords.
The unit comes in 275GB, 525GB, and 1TB configurations, and starts at $130. There’s also the much faster Atom RAID SSD, which will take advantage of the additional bandwidth provided by the USB 3.1 gen 2 ports on the latest MacBook Pro. You can find each configuration in a variety of colors, such as Silver, Gold, and Space Grey.
If you’re a creative professional who uses a USB-C-enabled Mac, then the Atom SSD is a solid pickup that should serve you well while on the go.