Monster is well-known for its cables, but it recently jumped into the world of SSDs as a SandForce partner. Like many of its competitors, the company offers two drive families: Le Mans and Daytona. The first is more enthusiast-oriented, employing Toggle-mode NAND from Toshiba. Naturally, it commands a higher price. The Daytona is mainstream, and shows up on Monster's site with “NCQASYNC” NAND.
Interestingly, when we open up our 240 GB Daytona sample, we find NAND from Toshiba. According to Monster, it's utilizing "legacy Toggle-mode NAND" with an interface speed of 40 MB/s. Although this is slightly less than asynchronous ONFi-compatible NAND, which can move up to 50 MB/s per channel, we're also dealing with a different interface. So, we can't assume that the Daytona is going to be slower than, say, Transcend's SSD320.
Monster's drive doesn't come bundled with anything else, but it is protected by a three-year warranty.
The Daytona presents us with benchmark results that are similar, but slightly faster than the competition sporting SandForce controllers and asynchronous ONFi interface-compatible NAND.
We did run into an interesting aberration while testing this drive, though. For some reason, 4 KB random write performance wouldn't change, regardless of the data we threw at it. The first sample we tested shipped with firmware 5.0.2, but wouldn't complete an update. Monster shipped out a replacement with firmware 5.0.5 that arrived at the last moment, resolving all of our issues. It’s not quite clear if our first sample was problematic, or if the firmware update alone fixed the drive's behavior. Currently, firmware version 5.0.2 is newest on Monster’s website, though the company tells us an update will be posted soon.
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