Integral Crypto SSD review

A solid state drive that has some hidden extras

Integral Crypto SSD review
The Integral Crypto SSD comes in a variety of capacities and prices

TechRadar Verdict

Pros

  • +

    Excellent encryption protection

  • +

    Fast speed

  • +

    Low power consumption

  • +

    Silent

Cons

  • -

    Expensive even for an SSD

  • -

    Slower than newer SSDs

  • -

    Not for everybody

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The Integral Crypto SSD won't just give your PC a big speed boost, it also offers advanced protection for your data. It achieves this by having built-in 256-bit AES encryption that requires a password before the data contained on the drive can be accessed.

If you're using the SSD as a drive to boot an operating system from then you'll need to enter a password before an OS such as Windows even loads. A slight inconvenience, yes, but invaluable if your laptop is stolen.

If an incorrect username or password is entered more than a set number of times, then the data on the drive is erased. This is an extreme solution - and you can set the number of retries to as high or as low as you like - but it does mean you should think very carefully about whether the Integral Crypto SSD is for you.

You can set the Integral Crypto SSD to have one profile - a single user name and password - or to have two. Here, you get two usernames with their own passwords. One profile is a master profile, whilst the other is a user profile. The master profile can reset the user profile if the password is forgotten without needing to wipe the hard drive.

With devices such as the StarTech.com USB 3.0 to SATA IDE HDD Docking Station that enable you to use internal hard drives as external drives, the likelihood of a drive such as the Integral Crypto SSD being stolen is increased somewhat, so the additional security is welcome.

Setting the encryption is straightforward, with the software needed included on a USB memory stick. Overall the security side of the Integral Crypto SSD is excellent, though there is one hole in the security that needs to be kept in mind - the password to access the hard drive is only requested when the PC it is installed in is started up. If you hibernate or put the PC into sleep mode, the password won't be asked for when the PC wakes up, so make sure it's turned off fully.

As an SSD, the Integral Crypto SSD is as fast as you'd expect, though it only supports SATA 3Gbps, not the newer and faster 6Gbps. Still, if you're upgrading from a standard hard drive you'll see a big improvement in data transfer speeds, as well as shortened loading times. The lower power consumption of the SSD will also help improve battery life on laptops.

Verdict

The Integral Crypto SSD certainly isn't for everyone, and if you're after a straight-up speed boost, a more straightforward solid state drive will do. However, if you want the extra protection for your files, it doesn't come much better than this.


Matt was TechRadar's Managing Editor for Computing and Entertainment, looking after two of the best, and most exciting, channels on the site. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made. He's also a huge film and TV fan and Marvel geek, and his favorite recent film is Dune.