Glyph Atom Black 1TB SSD A1000BLK Review

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Thumb drives are a dime a dozen now, coming in all shapes, sizes and speeds but it is really hard to find a good one.  Good speeds, sizes and shapes determine usually what drives we buy and this one might fit the bill.  Today we will be looking at the Glyph Atom Black 1TB SSD, yeah 1 terabyte of portable storage, but it is not a regular thumb drive.  Let’s check out the specifications first.

  • Capacity: 1TB (One Terabyte, 1,000 Gigabytes)
  • Interface:
    • USB 3.0
    • USB-C (3.1 Gen 2)
    • Thunderbolt 3
  • Storage Type: SSD
  • Sequential Transfer Rate of 480MB/sec
  • Compatibility:
    • MAC OS X 10.4 and later
    • Windows Vista and later
  • Dimensions:
    • 1.88” Width
    • 4.8” Height
    • .59” Depth
  • Color Choices:
    • Gold
    • Gray
    • Black (Used in this review)
    • Silver
  • Includes a Silicone Protective Cover
  • 3 Year limited warranty

A thumb drive that is an SSD, sounds a bit far fetched and are the rated speeds correct?  I will go through that later in the review, but first let’s check out the unboxing.

Simple packaging for a pretty simple device, after all it is an SSD, I mean thumb drive… something like that.  The more extravagant the packaging, usually the more expensive the device is and that usually holds true, but it’s not that cheap overall.

Now we will go over individually what is included in the package.

Since it does say “Please read me first.”, I think we will honor it.  They first congratulate you on buying this drive, as they say “you’ve made a wise decision” then they go on to state that it has been “Pre-formatted for Mac” and for those of you without Macs, I will show you how to format it for Windows.

On the flip side of the card, they mention on the format size it why it slightly differs from the advertised 1TB.  My unboxing video goes over what is in the package and what it looks like, so you can skip over the “Product Packaging” section.  Lastly on this sheet they go over basic backup procedures.  If you have a Mac, this works perfectly with your Time Machine compatibility but for those of us with PC’s, surly this will work with your backup solution as this is a standard drive.

On the 2nd of 2 cards they provide their technical support phone number and email address, just in case.  This card is the support card.

On the flip side of the support card, they remind you that this drive comes with a 3-year warranty.  What’s nice here that is a bit unusual, they also warranty the cables which are usually a non-warrantied consumables, not bad.

The first of 2 cables included in this package is the USB-C (3.1, Gen 2) cable.

Each end of the cable comes silk screened with the Glyph logo.

A close-up view for you on how the USB-C side looks like.  This is a USB-C to USB-C adapter, so both ends look like this.

The 2nd of 2 cables is a USB 3.0 to USB-C cable.  The device itself has a USB-C connection, this allows you to use it on a standard USB 3.0 port if you don’t have a USB-C port.

At one end we have the USB 3.0 side, with all the Glyph logo’ed trimmings.  I will skip the other end, since I have already showed you what the USB-C end looks like.

Then we have the drive itself.  Which leads us into the next chapter Glyph Atom Black 1TB SSD A1000BLK close up.

Next PageGlyph Atom Black 1TB SSD A1000BLK close up.

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Here again is the Glyph Atom Black 1TB SSD.  Cables, documents and box aside, we will focus in this section on the drive alone.

Here is the top of the drive, where the USB-C cable plugs into.  This is the only connection on the drive.  If you notice, just above the connection, there is another hole in the case, this is the activity LED.  This allows you to see when there is activity within the drive.

Here is the bottom of the Atom drive.  I blurred out the serial number, but the sicker on the drive would normally show the serial number, the barcode, certificates and the Glyph name.  The silicone protective cover also has feet to help keep it from sliding across your desk or table.

With the silicone cover, it measures about 4 and ½ inches in length.

And only about half of an inch in depth, that’s pretty tiny.

In the pictures above, you can see the drive with the Silicone Protective Cover surrounding the drive.  I got some nudes, wanna see?

Here is Atom getting undressed, just pull back the protective cover and slide Atom out.

And here is Atom baring it all, no no, it’s OK to look.  Without the protective cover, we can see the sleek black sexy aluminum enclosure in all its glory.

Here is the same shot of the connector, minus the protective cover.

And the activity indicator light on the bare drive.

Here is the drive connected with the light on, it’s a nice shade of green.  It blinks when there is activity on the drive.

For comparisons sake, here is the drive next to an Intel 520 Series SSD and an older 3.5in Seagate 400Gig Barracuda drive I had laying around.  Its slightly longer than an SSD and almost half its size, and shorter and less than half of the width of the mechanical drive.  You might think it’s still a little bit much to carry in your pocket, so let me give you another comparison.

Not only next to all the drives is it smaller, but it’s even smaller than my cell phone, the Google Pixel XL, first gen.

See without the cover, it’s less than half of an inch in depth.

And less than 4 and ½ inches without it too.

So that is it for the drive itself, to give you a better idea of what it was but aside from the capacity and looks I am sure you are wondering about performance.  Up next, we Benchmark the Glyph Black 1TB SSD.

Next Page: Performance

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In this section, I will show you the speeds of the Glyph Atom Black 1TB SSD A1000BLK drive.  We will be checking out the performance using “ATTO Disk Benchmark”, CrystalMark’s “Crystal Disk Mark” and FutureMark’s “PCMark”.  Some of the tests might provide the same results but will solidify the performance and give you a better idea on the performance you can expect.  I test 3 times each test to give you a better average, not just a one-shot deal.

So that you can compare my results with what you may experience, I will give you my build list.

I will also provide you benchmark differences between USB 3.0 and USB-C.

  • ATTO Disk Benchmark (USB-C)

ATTO Disk benchmark measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes from the disk and in this particular test we are measuring utilizing Overlapped I/O.  From 512KB on to 64MB, the speeds are consistently over 450MB/s speeds coming in at a max of 459,424 at the 512KB mark which is 459MB/s for write and under the same spot, 463,962 which is 463MB/s for read speeds.  Both at 512KB were the fastest speeds.

Next up is CrystalDiskMark.

  • CrystalDiskMark (USB-C)

CrystalDiskMark performs the following tests:

  • Seq: Sequential Read/Write Test (Block Size = 1024KB)
    • Sequential write/read is a disk access pattern where large contiguous blocks of data are written or written to or from adjacent locations on the disk
  • 4K: Random Read/Write Test (Block Size = 4KB)
    • 4K Random Read/Write are disk access patterns where small blocks (4K) of data are read or written from random locations on the drive.
  • 4K Q32T1: Read/Write 4KB Test (Block Size = 128KB) multi Queues & Threads
  • Seq Q32T1: Sequential Read/Write (Block Size=128KB) with multi Queues & Threads

At the 1Gig mark, we can see the speeds slow down a little here on CrystalDiskMark on the read, no so much on the write.  Coming in only 7 MB/s slower on the Q32T1 sequential write, but 33 MB/s faster on the Seq in regards to its rated transfer speed of 480 MB/s, it seems to advertise correctly.  They never really state where the transfer rates are recorded from only that those are the rates.

Coming up next, is FutureMark’s PCMark.

  • PCMark 8 (USB-C)

In FutureMarks PCMark 8, we can see the Storage test overall score was 4756.  We can also see a few of the benchmarks PCMark uses to come up with this score.  These scores are loading times for games like World of Warcraft and Battlefield 3 and application loading times of Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, After Effects and Illustrator as well as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint represented in seconds.  A little bit truer to life performance measurements and lower scores are better here.

Now that I have provided USB-C’s performance on the Glyph Atom Black and you have seen what the programs look like, I will provide the comparison between USB-C and USB-A 3.0.  This is so that you can make sure this is good for you in case you don’t have the USB-C interface on your computer.  These comparisons will be chart based, marking the overall performance leader of the 2 and you might be surprised.

Next Page: USB-C to USB-A Performance Differences

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  • ATTO Disk Benchmark (USB-C vs USB-A 3.0)

Oddly enough, we can see here that both USB-A and USB-C received identical performance on all 3 tests, that is pretty unheard of.  This tells us that the speeds are capped off at USB 3.0 speeds but that’s not a horrible thing since USB 3.0 speeds are nice, though not as good as USB-C.  USB-C is capable of up to 10Gbps, though I will show you the other comparisons, I don’t think they will all be identical.  Let’s see what CrystalDiskMark shows us.

  • CrystalDiskMark (USB-C vs USB-A 3.0)

It seems like the CrystalDiskMark shows a bit of a different performance mark, a bit more varied and seemingly in favor of USB-A 3.0.  USB-C overpowers USB-A 3.0 in 4K Read and Write as well as Seq Write and Seq Q32TI Write.  On the flip side, USB-A 3.0 performs better than USB-C in Seq Read, 4K Q32TI, 4K Q32TI Write, and Seq Q32TI Read, so it still might be somewhat equal.  The big differentiator here is that 4K Q32TI Read was 6.5 times slower on USB-C than in USB-A 3.0.  Let’s check out PCMark.

  • PCMark 8 (USB-C vs USB-A 3.0)

This one is a little more difficult to see because of the number of tests but it looks like USB-A 3.0 took the cake and performed much better.  The loading times on all programs were much lower on the USB-A 3.0 interface but was oddly enough lower by 1 second on the test duration on USB-C interface.  Storage Bandwidth and PCMark scores are better higher, which is why they came out bolded and in red font above, which means they were better.  The highest difference came in the Battlefield 3 load time, which USB-A 3.0 loaded 7 seconds faster.

This test also shows you that this drive is not only great for storage of music, movies and all-around storage but also a great solution for a portable gaming drive.  Talking about storage and performance, let’s see how this stacks up against a standard thumb drive.  To keep it short and simple though, we will stick to only CrystalDiskMark performance comparison, it will be a test utilizing the Sandisk SDDDC2-032G-A46 Ultra on USB-C and USB-A 3.0.

The Sandisk SDDDC2-032G-A46 Ultra on USB-C and USB-A 3.0 drive is unique because it is not only a USB-A 3.0 drive, but it is also a USB-C thumb drive.  This test will give you an example of both interfaces.

Since this is marketed as an SSD, I figure it might be great to show you the performance benefits versus SSD’s that go inside of a system.  This is slightly going outside of scope of what this drive is targeted for portable storage but it’s an example of the difference between what is marketed as a USB Thumb Drive and a USB SSD.

The difference here is amazing, both drives have the option for USB-A 3.0 and USB-C but the transfer rates are drastically different.  Like we saw before, the scores between the Glyph Atom USB-C and USB-A are varied, some higher than others and visa versa but we can see here that the Sandisk took the lead in none of the readings.  The Glyph, while it is connected through the same interfaces as the Sandisk, it is in fact an SSD inside and so it gets the benefits of that performance.

So what is it that makes this drive an SSD, lets take a deeper dive and see what’s inside.

Next PageWhat’s inside?

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Looking a bit deeper to see what this drive is made out of and finding out why it performs like it does, interested to see what’s inside?  I know I am.

To open it up, we need to flip it over and remove the rubber feet.

Removing the feet, we find Torx T2 screws sealing the drive together.

There she is, it’s actually an M.2 SSD in there.

This is using a Micron 1100 2.5 -Inch M.2 SATA NAND Flash SSD.  This drive has in it Micron’s 3D TLC NAND Flash running in SATA 6Gb/s interface.  It also supports DEVSLP Device sleep extreme low-power mode, NCQ, S.M.A.R.T command set, Dynamic write acceleration and sports a MTTF (Mean time to failure) of 1.5 million device hours.  So yeah, it’s a full blown SSD going through USB.

That was it really, short sweet chapter to show you what, so let’s get back to some benchmarks.  Let’s see how this then compares to a full blown SSD.

Next Page: Further Testing

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We have seen performance differences between the different interfaces and between another thumb drive but that might have been like comparing the performance difference between an SSD and a mechanical hard drive.  Since this is in fact and SSD, let’s do some basic comparisons between internal SSD’s and this drive.

  • ATTO Disk Benchmark

Like before, the WD Black 512GB PCIE NVMe PCI-E SSD tears up the other drives in performance.  In this benchmark runner up again is the WD Blue 512GB SSD but only by about 1.18%, which is not too bad for a portable drive.

  • CrystalDiskMark

Maybe I should not have included the WD Black 512GB PCIE NVMe PCI-E SSD since it is so fast, but at least you have it for reference.  Now comparing the WD Blue 512GB SSD drive we can see the Glyph Atom comes very close in speeds.  Not trying to sugar coat it, the WD Blue did outperform it by about 1.13%.

On Sequential Q32TI Write, the WD Blue out performs the Glyph Atom by 61.8Mbps, then on read by 177.4Mbps.  For 4K Q32TI Write, the WD Blue outperforms the Glyph Atom by 140.2Mbps and then by 204.3 on the read.  Sequential write, the WD Blue comes up only 0.8Mbps faster than the Glyph Atom and 205.5Mbps on Read faster than the Glyph Atom.

Coming up next is PCMark.

  • PCMark

In PCMark, we see similar results as the other, just remember lower scores here means better results in all results besides PCMark Score and Storage Bandwidth 2.0.  I omitted the WD Black 512GB M.2 PCIE SSD not only because it would have come in much higher than all the others, but the results would have come in microscopic because of the number of scores.

If you notice, the results here for the WD Blue drive are very close to that of the Glyph Atom USB-A 3.0, surprisingly.  As I mentioned before, you have to remember is that ATTO and CrystalDiskMark give performance metrics based off of raw performance, which are good to have but PCMark measures off of real world programs and games that you or I would use.  The culmination of tests together (ATTO, CrystalDiskMark and PCMark) provide a more real to life measure of what you will see in real life, which of course is why I test all together.

With all this, let’s go to my Final Thoughts and Conclusions.

Next Page: Final Thoughts and Conclusions

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It’s been an interesting journey to get here on this interesting product, the Glyph Atom Black 1TB SSD.  Sadly, devices when moved from internal to a system to a portable infrastructure have some of their performance stripped.  It still may still have still have had some functions and features stripped, but they were not due to portability but for compatibility purposes.

USB-C, which not incredibly new is still relatively new and not many devices support it so Glyph I feel had to make some sacrifices.  Glyph had to create a drive to sell to only a select audience that supported the 10Gbps speeds supporting only USB-C, or sell to a wider audience and support USB 3.0 at 480Mbps yet also function with a USB-C interface.  Obviously, they want to be able to support a larger audience and part of that is keeping the price down and portability up so they omitted a controller that would have supported both 10Gbps and 480Mbps speeds.  The other part to appeal the masses is the cost.

Supporting the higher end controller, would have meant a higher cost especially with the level of components they chose on their drives.  Beautiful aluminum enclosure, no noise/sound being that it is an SSD, simple yet sleek silicone protective cover, stylized cables, a 3-year warranty and a large capacity it is evident they went to great lengths to keep the cost down on these drives.  With that, here are my pros and cons.


  • No drivers needed
  • Affordable Drive
  • Very fast
  • 3 year Warranty
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux
  • No external power source required
  • Silicone case adds additional protection on the already durable design
  • Elegant looking
  • USB-A and USB-C Interface


  • Cables not attached, you can lose them
  • 2 Separate cables, 1 for USB 3.0 and 1 for USB-C
  • Cables are short (USB end to end is 6 inches and only 3 inches of flexible cable)

It was very difficult to come up with Cons, the drive is that good but everything has a con.  Sadly, the cons are real world cons because it is easy to lose a cable, especially when you are travelling but is the best way to keep up with compatibility and portability.

The drive is not cheap, but at the time of this article 12/5/2017 it is cheaper than the alternative being buying another external solution, any external solution being 1TB.  Comparing pricing on Amazon, M.2 1TB drives being at least $289.99 and cheaper plastic enclosures being $9, this is a bargain.  Choosing an M.2 drive might be easy, but finding an enclosure that will not degrade the speed of the drive might be a little more challenging, and then also finding an enclosure that will support an M.2 drive and not degrade its speed is even more challenging.

With all the in mind, even though the cons are real, the pros make the cons irrelevant, I have to give this drive an editors choice, 5 out of 5 stars.

Great job Glyph.

Return to First Page: Intro

We are influencers and brand affiliates.  This post contains affiliate links, most which go to Amazon and are Geo-Affiliate links to nearest Amazon store.