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With all the ways we have to transfer data – servers, The Cloud, Dropbox, et al – sometimes it’s just faster to grab a hard disk and carry it from one computer to another. This low-tech solution to data transfer is called “SneakerNet” because you are moving the data using your own two feet.
I use SneakerNet all the time when I’m traveling for training or just moving files between my desktop system and my laptop. I use my trusty, well-used 1 GB Thunderbolt hard disk that travels everywhere with me.
(Image courtesy of OWC.)
However, recently, I’ve started using a pocket-sized SSD solution – the Envoy Pro mini from OWC. If you are looking for a better SneakerNet option that takes virtually no space, yet has performance better than any hard disk or thumb drive, this is worth considering.
This SSD slips into your pocket, connects via USB, and holds more than any thumb drive.
The free AJA System Disk Test reports write (record) speeds about 350 MB/sec, with read (playback) speeds around 250 MB/sec. A single spinning media hard drive only transfers data around 150 MB/sec and is far larger.
The free Blackmagic Design Disk Speed Test reports write speeds around 120 MB/sec, with read speeds around 200 MB/sec. I’m curious why the Blackmagic Test underreports speeds for SSD systems. I’ve noticed this fact in testing other SSD gear as well.
However, even if the BMD results are accurate, the write speeds are about the same as a spinning media drive, with read speeds about 50% faster.
The Envoy Pro Mini is available as an SSD only, in 120 GB and 240 GB sizes. It connects via USB 3.0, which will be slower than any version of USB 3.1.
There are three downsides to the Envoy Pro mini:
On the other hand, the pluses are:
Overall, if SneakerNet is your network of choice, this is a very cool tool.
Product: OWC Envoy Pro mini
Price: $179.99 US for 240 GB — $119.99 US for 120 GB (both prices MSRP)
6 Responses to Create a Faster SneakerNet
Thanks for this review!
A quick question: which disk format is best for a Mac/Win sneaker net, in your opinion? Thanks!
I’m curious what Larry would say but I would suggest exFAT.
With the coming upgrade to APFS with MacOS High Sierra, I’m not making a strong recommendation, yet, for Macs. However, for Windows, ExFAT is better than FAT. And a Mac system can read both formats.
Ah, I missed your question earlier. ExFAT is the best choice.
FAT requires all files to be 2 GB or smaller.
Hi Larry, I have a vague impression of people recommending putting some of the Premiere CC files on a 3rd drive (I use an internal and an external drive). I can’t remember which files. Would this device be a useful option?
Some people recommend putting cache files on one drive, media and projects on a second drive, while serving the internal boot drive for the OS and applications.
I don’t object to this approach, though a fast RAID makes this less helpful than using single drives in the past.
I would not use this device because the Envoy Pro mini is designed for portability, and with most editing files, you don’t want to run the risk of disconnecting a small device only to discover key system files are missing.