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Samsung was the first memory maker to send us a flash SSD sample way back in the fall of 2006. Its initial flash SSD prototype was a 32 GB drive that was based on an UltraATA interface (see article: Conventional Hard Drive Obsoletism--Samsung’s 32 GB Flash Drive Previewed). At less than 1 W peak power and 0.05 W idle power, it was one of the most power efficient drives we had ever seen, and it still is if you compare these numbers to other, modern flash SSDs. Its 50 MB/s read throughput and < 30 MB/s write throughput weren’t special, but it was still fast for its time.
256 GB Available Now
The latest Samsung flash SSD generation is really different. Its idle power requirement is in the same vicinity (< 0.1 W), while peak power can reach 1.5 W. However, the latest model, which is called the PB22-J (and will only be available to Samsung OEM customers, such as notebook builders), is more complex and more powerful. The SATA/300 interface alone requires more power and the drive comes with an integrated controller and 1 Gbit cache memory IC (128 MB) to maximize performance. The power consumption results are more than acceptable knowing what’s behind the new drives.
Samsung offers 64, 128, and 256 GB capacity models, which are all based on multi-level cell (MLC) flash memory and rated at a maximum throughput of 220 MB/s. The 256 GB drive is a 2.5” model, while the 128 GB version fits into a 1.8” form factor and the 64 GB variant is a 1.8” slim device. We measured a maximum of 209 MB/s on an ICH10R-based Core i7 system (X58 chipset) for the 256 GB drive. Intel’s X25 family remains faster at almost 230 MB/s maximum. However, write performance varies: while the 256 and 128 GB models are specified to reach 200 MB/s, the 64 GB version is limited to 120 MB/s. We measured 144-194 MB/s write throughput on our 256 GB sample.