While we were testing a pile of new SSDs we found two models that were particularly interesting - in a questionable manner. The company called Solidata provides two high performance SSDs called the X1 at 64 GB and the X2 at 128 GB. As you might guess, the X1 is a SLC-flash based device while the X2 is based on MLC flash.
So far, so good. We found that both drives perform nicely and deliver throughput of almost 170 MB/s over their SATA/300 interfaces. As expected, the SLC-based X1 writes a bit faster at 121 MB/s maximum to 31 MB/s minimum, while the MLC-flash X2 writes 83 MB/s to 20 MB/s. Average results were disappointing, though, as these were closer to the minimum than to the maximum throughput. In terms of I/O performance the X1 does well, as the X2 is a loser due to its MLC flash memory, which isn't uncommon.
4.6 W idle and over 10 W peak power!
Unfortunately, the power characteristics of these devices are really an insult to every SSD manufacturer that is trying to bring down power consumption while increasing performance. The devices both required a minimum idle power of 4.6 W, which is more than three times as much as a 2.5" 5,400 RPM notebook hard drive and as much as a modern 3.5" 7,200 RPM hard drive requires! Western Digital's WD10EADS Caviar Green idles at around 3 W, and leading flash SSDs from Intel and Samsung don't require more than 0.1 W in low-power idle modes when using device implemented power management.
And it goes on: power requirements to stream HD video off the Solidata drive climbs up to 5.2 W, full sequential throughput requires 7.2 W and workstation-type I/O activity requires as much as 10 W.
Dear engineers and developers and Solidata: As much as we like to see great products with great performance, this is not the way to do it. Even workstation or server products that were not intended to be used in notebooks or power efficient environments (look at Mtron, for example) deliver the same or higher performance at a fraction of the power requirements. Please work on your products.
We will follow up with a new SSD roundup soon.