Lexar SL660 Blaze Game Portable SSD Review

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Lexar proves that its versatility in product design extends to external solid-state drives, moving from the 2020 entry-level Lexar SL200 to the RGB-lit Lexar SL660 Blaze Game portable SSD. The SL660 Blaze ($129.99 for 512TB; $199.99 for the 1TB unit we tested) can take advantage of USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 speeds if you have the hardware to support that connection, and it comes with a nifty detachable stand and protective pouch. It also passed our PCMark 10 Storage benchmark, which measures a drive’s speed in tasks like loading games and other apps. It’s an attractive product with a gamer aesthetic, but if you’re looking to store a library of games, there are larger options available.


Design: Bring the Bling

Housed in a dark aluminum chassis that Lexar calls graphite gray, the SL660 Blaze measures 0.4 by 2.3 by 4.4 inches and weighs 2.8 ounces (5 ounces including the stand, a grooved cradle that holds the drive on the edge). One of the stand’s functions is to show Blaze’s RGB LED light show.

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Lexar SL660 Blaze Game Portable SSD on Stand

(Photo: Tony Hoffman)

The Blaze is thinner and slightly smaller than the ADATA SE900G, while being very similar in size to the Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSD. At one of its short ends there is an asymmetrical loop through which you can hook a carabiner or other fastener.

Lexar SL660 Blaze Game Portable SSD with Clip

(Photo: Tony Hoffman)

RGB lighting emanates from the inner edge of the loop, cycling through different colors as you connect the player to your PC and turn it on. The screen is bright and tasteful and should fit nicely into the ambience of a gaming setup.

Lexar SL660 Blaze Game Portable SSD Lighting

(Photo: Tony Hoffman)

At the other end of the drive is a USB Type-C port supporting the USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 specification. The Blaze must be plugged into a compatible port to achieve its highest transfer speeds, but it’s fully backwards compatible with USB 3.2 Gen 2, as well as USB 3.1 and 3.0, automatically basing itself on the highest speed allowed by your system.

Lexar SL660 Blaze Game Portable SSD Port

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Few laptops today have native support for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, but some high-end desktop motherboards do, and desktop PCI Express expansion cards (such as the Orico-branded card we use in our test bed) can bring the interface to an older system. As with other Gen 2×2 drives we’ve tested, you may need to invest in an upgrade to take full advantage of the Lexar’s potential.

The Blaze is available in 512GB and 1TB capacities; the ADATA SE900G is available in these sizes plus a 2GB version, and Seagate has added a 2TB version of its FireCuda Gaming SSD since we reviewed the 1TB model. The WD Black P50 Game Drive tops them all, now with capacities up to 4 TB.

As of this writing, the SL660 Blaze should be available in the US in late May, but it’s already available for pre-order. Based on its MSRP and starting prices from US online retailers, the Blaze costs more per gigabyte than the ADATA SE900G but slightly less than the WD Black P50 and considerably less than the Seagate FireCuda SSD.

The SL660 supports 256-bit AES hardware encryption, considered the gold standard among civilian-grade encryption solutions. Such encryption is rare in external gaming SSDs, which is a shame since these drives are designed to travel. (Again, a folder of game installation files in the hands of a stranger is far less of a tragedy than, say, financial records.) Lexar backs the player with a five-year warranty, a generous amount when many manufacturers stop at three years.


SL660 Blaze review: Good program loading chops

We test external SSDs using PC Labs’ Windows 10 Desktop Storage Master Benchmark, which is built on an Asus Prime X299 Deluxe motherboard with an Intel Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition processor. The system has 16GB of Corsair Dominator DDR4 RAM clocked at 3600MHz and uses a discrete Nvidia GeForce graphics card.

To test USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 external drives like the Blaze, we use the same PC with a Gen 2×2 port added via the Orico PCIe expansion card mentioned above. Otherwise, we use the test bed’s native 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 port.

We put the Blaze through our usual suite of external SSD benchmarks, including Crystal DiskMark 6.0, PCMark 10 Storage, BlackMagic’s disk speed test, and our own folder transfer test. The first two run on a PC with the drive formatted in NTFS, and the last two on a 2016 MacBook Pro using exFAT. Crystal DiskMark’s sequential speed tests provide a traditional measure of drive throughput, simulating straight-line transfers of large files at best. The PCMark 10 Storage test measures an SSD’s readiness for a wide variety of everyday tasks.

In our Crystal DiskMark tests, the Blaze nearly matched its rated sequential read speed – scoring very similar to most other Gen 2×2 external drives we’ve tried – while dropping the speed pacing a bit. sequential write. Keep in mind that even its sequential write result is still a big step up from the fastest USB 3.2 Gen 2 drives, provided your platform supports Gen 2×2.

The Blaze posted an above-average PCMark 10 storage score, loading programs and games in a hurry. Among gaming-centric SSDs, it easily outperformed the ADATA SE900G and TeamGroup T-Force Treasure Touch RGB, edged out the WD Black P50 Game Drive, and fell far behind the Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSD. There is no direct correlation between a drive’s raw speed and its PCMark 10 results; while the T-Force has the laborious sequential read and write speeds typical of a drive based on SATA internals, it effectively matched the USB 3.2 Gen 2×2-based ADATA in the PCMark benchmark. What it means: In everyday tasks like those measured by PCMark 10, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between a basic external SSD and a Gen 2×2 model.

Lexar’s BlackMagic Mac speed scores, measured over a Gen 2 connection, were average, and its score in our drag-and-drop file transfer test matched those of all of our Gen 2 and 2×2 comparison drives.


An external SSD with speed and style

The Lexar SL660 Blaze is a good choice as an external secondary drive to expand your gaming rig or console storage. Its RGB lighting gives it some pizzazz to complement any gaming setup.

Lexar SL660 Blaze Game Vertical Portable SSD

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Besides a slightly below-average write speed, it lives up to the high throughput promised by USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 – provided your hardware supports that standard – and performed well in the simulation of actual program loads of PCMark 10. Its only downside is a maximum capacity of 1TB; with new AAA games hogging more and more storage space, you might want to opt for a 2TB or 4TB SSD.

Lexar SL660 Blaze Game Portable SSD

Advantages

  • USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support and AES 256-bit hardware encryption

  • Sturdy aluminum frame, detachable stand and carry pouch

  • Excellent PCMark 10 storage score

  • Tasteful RGB lighting

  • Five-year warranty

See more

The essential

The Lexar SL660 Blaze Game RGB-lit Portable SSD supports the fast USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 interface (although your PC may not) and generally performs well, although your growing game library can quickly fill capacity maximum of 1 TB.

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