Tech

Sabrent Rocket Nano V2 portable SSD review: 4TB of fast, tiny storage

Sabrent Rocket Nano v2Image: Jon L. Jacobi

At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

Extremely small profileShock-absorbing silicone jacketTop-flight packagingGood overall performance

Cons

A tad behind the 20Gbps curve performance-wise

Our Verdict

While the Sabrent Rocket Nano V2 isn’t the fastest 20Gbps SSD on the planet, it’s plenty fast and fits a ton (up to 4TB) of storage in a super-small form factor. Nice.

Price When Reviewed

1TB: $120 I 2TB: $200 I 4TB: $450

Best Prices Today: Sabrent Rocket Nano V2

RetailerPriceWalmart$89.99View DealAmazon$119.99View DealB&H$119.99View DealSabrent$119.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

Sabrent’s Rocket Nano V2 portable SSD lives up to both parts of its name — it’s fast (in the grand scheme) and it’s tiny. Okay, perhaps “Rocket” is a bit much, as the drive is on the slow side for USB 3.2×2, but that’s a branding name for all Sabrent SSDs. (Perhaps its owners are Guardians of the Galaxy fans?)

Semantics aside, the Nano V2 is a quality, and indeed, very small SSD that arrives in some of our favorite packaging.

Further reading: See our roundup of the best external drives to learn about competing products.

What are the Sabrent Rocket Nano V2’s features?

The Sabrent Rocket Nano V2 is a USB 3.2×2, 20Gbs external SSD available in up to 4TB of capacity. It’s a handsome, and particularly tiny unit at a mere 2.73-inches long, 1.16-inches wide, and 0.44-inches thick. Weight is 1.7 ounces. Personally, I like the heft.

While the photo at the top of this article shows the Nano V2 without its cover, that was for pure artistic reasons. The drive actually ships with a silicon jacket installed as shown below. The jacket adds approximately 0.06-inches to each dimension.

And, as the photo also shows, the jacket is prone to collecting micro-schmutz. In truth, I airbrushed most of it out to address such aesthetic concerns.

There’s no arguing with Sabrent’s step-above out-of-box experience. No cardboard retail container here, but a solid metal case that can be used to store the Rocket Nano V2, or retasked for other purposes. I keep all the Sabrent cases around because they’re handy and good looking.

Sabrent warranties the Rocket Nano V2 for five years, limited to drives that aren’t crushed and that you haven’t tried to write an exabyte of data to. (Note that the latter is actually impossible and you’ll likely experience write failures after a couple of petabytes max.)

As some users have asked, while an SSD may no longer allow writes, it remains readable, so data loss is generally not a concern with overuse.

How much is the Sabrent Rocket Nano V2?

It’s a bit difficult to judge the Rocket Nano V2’s bang for the buck. Why? Sabrent lists reasonable sale prices alongside beyond-steep MSRPs on its website: $120/$230 for the 1TB, $200/$400 for the 2TB, and $450/$900 for the 4TB.

On sale, the Rocket Nano V2 is just a bit pricier than the USB 3.2×2 norm, but the MSRPs are, well, yowser. Obviously, I say yea to the sale prices, and nay to the MSRPs when recommending (or not) this drive. If I had to guess, the sale is likely permanent. Let me know if I’m wrong.

How fast is the Sabrent Rocket Nano V2?

The 4TB Nano V2 that Sabrent sent us proved a very good, if not stellar performer when weighed against other 20Gbps types. The 4K random tests had it on par with the competition, but it tested somewhat slower in sequential throughput and our real-world transfers.

The good news is that while write rates drop when the secondary cache is full, it was generally only to a still workable 750MBps. We saw it nosedive occasionally to 200MBps, but in general it maintained the higher secondary rate. When fully endowed with secondary cache, the Nano V2 writes at 1.4GBps — nothing to sneeze at.

Below you can see the evidence for my conclusions, starting with CrystalDiskMark 8’s sequential results. Note that these were confirmed by AS SSD.

Random read and write performance is a definite strength of the Nano V2 as you can see below.

The Nano V2’s 48GB transfers were very good, but not on par with the Adata SD810 and Samsung T9, and certainly not the most-excellent Crucial X10 Pro.

Where the 750MBps secondary write speed came in very handy was the 450GB single-file write. The speed dropped early on, but maintained throughout the entire transfer, leading to a decently competitive time, not a tragic one as with the Corsair EX100U and Adata SD810.

This is the kind of sustained native write performance you get from late-gen TLC (Triple-Level Cell/3-bit) — 128-layer SK Hynix TLC, to be specific.

Below you can see the uneven rate of the 450GB write, though 736MBps is a decent valley. Ignore the initial peak as that’s due to Windows buffering. This screen was not from the timed test, which featured no initial peak.

Should you buy the Sabrent Rocket/Nano V2?

The Sabrent Rocket/Nano V2 we tested is best for those who need lots of capacity in a tiny form factor. It doesn’t deliver the nth degree of performance that 20Gbps drives are capable of, but it’s a classy enough design that we can live with that.

How we test

Drive tests currently utilize Windows 11 (22H2) 64-bit running on an X790 (PCIe 5.0) motherboard/i5-12400 CPU combo with two Kingston Fury 32GB DDR5 modules (64GB of memory total). Intel integrated graphics are used. The 48GB transfer tests utilize an ImDisk RAM disk taking up 58GB of the 64GB total memory. The 450GB file is transferred from a Samsung 990 Pro 2TB, which also contains the operating system. For external drives, the motherboard’s dedicated Thunderbolt 4 and 20Gbps USB ports on the rear panel are used.

Each test is performed on a newly NTFS-formatted and TRIM’d drive so the results are optimal. Note that as any drive fills up, performance will decrease due to less NAND for secondary caching, and other factors.

The performance numbers shown apply only to the drive we were shipped as well as the capacity tested. SSD performance can vary by capacity due to more or fewer chips to read/write across and the amount of NAND available for secondary caching (writing TLC/QLC as SLC). Vendors also occasionally swap components.

If you ever notice a large discrepancy between the performance you experience and that which we report (systems being roughly equal), by all means—let us know.

Best Prices Today: Sabrent Rocket Nano V2

RetailerPriceWalmart$89.99View DealAmazon$119.99View DealB&H$119.99View DealSabrent$119.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

Jon Jacobi is a musician, former x86/6800 programmer, and long-time computer enthusiast. He writes reviews on TVs, SSDs, dash cams, remote access software, Bluetooth speakers, and sundry other consumer-tech hardware and software.

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