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OCZ are one of the most highly renowned RAM manufacturers with their products being
 on the shortlist for almost every enthusiast out there. The SD Trifecta we will be reviewing
today is not something you might associate with OCZ, but based on our experience with the
device it might as well be, as it follows the same high standard OCZ has for the rest of its lineup.

Features

Quoting the packaging of the device:

“OCZ Technology, a leader in premium memory, took all your flash needs and put it into one unique and handy unit! Introducing the OCZ Secure Digital Trifecta, the innovative memory solution that allows quick transferring of music, images, and files between devices such as your cell phone, digital camera, and PC. The Micro SD easily converts into a standard SD card that can also be plugged into any USB port for quick access on your desktop or notebook. Complete with a 5 year warranty, the new OCZ Trifecta is the perfect solution for on-the-go individuals.”

So, summing up the Trifecta is a SD, Micro SD and USB memory card all in one. With a stated 66x read speed and 2GB of space it is not the fastest or most spacious device out there, but it is one of the few storage devices that manages to combine 3 different approaches into one (usually devices only go as far as two approaches, such as the card/USB or micro/standard combo).

Packaging and bundle


OCZ decided to go with standard packaging. The front clearly shows the three operation modes as well as showing the speed and storage space of the device. The plastic wrapping is very durable and it can take a lot of punishment before opening up. That said, using a knife to divide the two halves of the wrapping allowed us to open it without any problems. Inside we found a small plastic case in which the MicroSD card and the SD/USB adapter were enclosed. Generally the case shouldn’t be needed, as either the MicroSD card or the adapter will be used in a device of some kind, but it is nice having a way to protect the very fragile USB adapter.

The device


As you can see in the first picture the bottom third of the adapter can be removed, revealing the USB connector. To keep the size down OCZ had to go with a very non standard connector, which is basically just the inside of a standard one. Because of that it is possible to plug the device in the wrong way around, which can be a pain in the butt when you are in a hurry and need to access the files stored on it right away. This generally wasn’t a problem when we used the Trifecta with a laptop or a desktop PC that has a front side USB connector. Trying to plug the Trifecta into a back USB port was a nightmare though, so we don’t recommend try it at home. When the adapter is connected to a PC a blue LED lights up, letting you know that the device is connected.

We tested the Trifecta in a wide array of devices. There were no surprises when the MicroSD card worked without a hitch in every device we used it with. And while theoretically there should be no problems with the SD adapter as well we were still happy when every device we tested it with recognized the card immediately.

Performance

4MB - Card Reader
4MB - USB Connection
8MB - Card Reader
8MB - USB Connection
16MB - Card Reader
16MB - USB Connection

As always we used ATTO to test the flash drive Write/Read speed. Seeing how we had two ways of connecting the Trifecta to our test laptop we decided to test them both. The results are quite interesting – using the card reader gave us slightly faster read times for small file sizes, but limited the read speed at higher sizes considerably. Write times were closer in both modes, but connecting the Trifecta via the USB port still proved faster by about 20%. Looking that the numbers it is clear that the Trifecta is no speed demon, but that is to be expected from a standard MicroSD card.

Card Reader
USB Connection

SiSoft Sandra is a well known and popular synthetic benchmark tool. We used the removable media benchmark with both modes to see if we got a similar performance difference. The write speed was again relatively similar- 2,1Mb/sec versus 3,2Mb/sec . The read speed difference on the other hand was even more noticeable here – 10Mb versus 2Mb.

Real World READ/WRITE Test, 350MB File
 
Read
Write
350MB file – Card reader
2:27.5
2:00.7
MB/s – Card reader
2,38
2,9
350MB file – USB Connection
0:36.4
1:43.0
MB/s – USB Connection
9,7
3,4

To complete our testing we decided to copy a 350MB file to the device and then copy it back, timing the time it took to complete both. The real world test confirmed our findings from both of the synthetic benchmarks – the device isn’t blazing fast, but it does perform adequately. It should be noted that the card reader tests might differ if another laptop or a firewire card reader was used. For those interested in using the Trifecta in combination with Vista’s ReadyBoost – when using the USB mode Vista allowed us to enable ReadyBoost whereas using the card reader resulted in Vista telling us that the transfer speed were to slow.

Conclusion

The OCZ Secure Digital Trifecta is a very unusual device. It is basically 3 devices combined into one. It is sometimes hard to recommend a device like this, as generally separate devices perform much better.   That is not the case with the Trifecta though. The 2GB make it a good choice for anyone needing a MicroSD or a standard SD card. With a 66x read speed it is one of the fastest  cards out there.

The main selling point is the connectivity combo though. Owning devices that use MicroSD and devices the use SD cards isn’t that uncommon, so getting both in one package is sweet. The USB connectivity is what really drives the device home though. Gone are the days when you want to transfer files from your digital camera to the PC and you can’t find your USB mini cable.

All in all the SD Trifecta is a good package. The small plastic case is a nice touch that could well save the card when placed in a backpack. Buying the Trifecta to use it primarily as a flash drive isn’t recommended, as the fragility and non standard USB connector make it less than ideal for such a task. If you are however looking for a MicroSD/SD card and would like to sometimes use it as a standalone storage device, the Trifecta is just what you are looking for. After all, three for the price of one is a sweet sweet deal.


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