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Hot or Not? New Samsung and Solidata SSDs

Hot or Not? New Samsung and Solidata SSDs

The market is flooded with flash-based solid state drives (SSD) right now, all of which claim to deliver impressive throughput at power consumption levels low enough to save the world. So much for the theory, though—the reality is rather different.

A few select products are truly impressive, but the bulk of these are just expensive offerings that do not deliver on their promises. Two new drives by Samsung and Solidata found their way into our test labs, and they are as different as they can be.

Power Issues

We stirred up the SSD hive when we reported that many flash SSDs do not actually increase notebook battery runtime by saving power; in fact, they might shorten it due to the high power consumption of the drives. The article The SSD Power Consumption Hoax talks about power consumption issues we found half a year ago; our Flash SSD Update verifies and emphasizes these results. And the power issue is not over. Now that SSDs are exceeding 200 MB/s throughput, they tend to become CPU-bound. In other words, this means that running systems with full power saving settings enabled might bottleneck your SSD performance.

Performance Issues

First- and second-generation flash SSDs simply were not what people had hoped they would be. It took until 2009 for flash SSDs to become more efficient and noticeably faster. Six new drives did well a couple of months ago, but only Intel’s X25-M (consumer) and X25-E (professional) were able to truly impress us.

In addition to this, many tech Web sites are focusing on existing fragmentation issues with flash SSDs today, as the performance characteristics depend on the workload, the data stored, and the fragmentation level. Sequential reads or writes from or to flash SSDs aren’t, in fact, sequential, as intelligent controllers constantly try to optimize performance and wear leveling by distributing writes according to the flash SSD’s capabilities. They are typically successful, while staying within a one-workload scenario.

However, dramatic changes in workload or capacity reuse may impact flash SSD performance, and only SSD-drive-aware operating systems will be able to improve this situation. Until then, try to avoid heavy fragmentation (P2P downloads) or changing workloads (from intensive I/O to intensive sequential requests). If you use your flash SSD as a system drive, you should be fine, taking advantage of modern flash SSDs’ performance potential.

New Drives: Samsung PB22-J, Solidata X1 and X2

Samsung’s new PB22-J drive finally jumps over the 200 MB/s line, and it is available at capacities of up to 256 GB. Unfortunately, these drives aren’t intended to be sold at retail, though you may see re-labeled Samsung drives, or be able to get them in high-end notebooks.

We also received two Solidata SSDs, which differ by running two individual flash segments in an internal RAID 0 configuration. We found that the drives perform well, but they also require horrible levels of power consumption that actually exceed the amount needed by fast 3.5” desktop drives.

We also included two new Mtron SSDs, the SSD Mobi, which we received from the vendor

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    jpdykes , April 30, 2009 7:31 AM
    Can we have the drop down list of pages back?
    I really don't want to go through every single page to get to the results and conclusions.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    Eric The Red , April 30, 2009 6:37 AM
    Nice artice, but 1 small note, on page one.. isn't Samsung’s new PB22-J available a little bigger than 256 MB? Seems small..

  • 14 Hide
    jpdykes , April 30, 2009 7:31 AM
    Can we have the drop down list of pages back?
    I really don't want to go through every single page to get to the results and conclusions.
  • 3 Hide
    dafin0 , April 30, 2009 7:41 AM
    jpdykes there is a table of contents at the very top.. but i to like the drop down menu
  • 3 Hide
    christianspoer , April 30, 2009 7:45 AM
    Price?! I can't seem to find it in the article...
  • 0 Hide
    mschu_52 , April 30, 2009 7:47 AM
    Also note that on the graphs the Intel x25-M is labeled as 64GB, where on pg 8 it says it comes as 80 or 160.. Also did the x25-M have the new firmware?
  • 0 Hide
    jpdykes , April 30, 2009 7:49 AM
    Good point - I missed that!
  • -2 Hide
    pcworm , April 30, 2009 7:53 AM
    i like the new table of contents
    nice edit
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 30, 2009 7:53 AM
    The 256Gb Samsung is available for general sale in the UK; I bought one last week.
  • 5 Hide
    mschu_52 , April 30, 2009 7:57 AM
    I just wish new Table of Contents (TOC), or drop down was on every page, after I get past page 1, you either have to go back to page 1 to jump ahead/around or page though
  • 8 Hide
    renozi , April 30, 2009 8:04 AM
    no OCZ Vertex?
  • 1 Hide
    alert101 , April 30, 2009 8:12 AM
    Considering that the Samsung PB22-J is a MLC-based drive like Intel's X25-M, Samsung beats the crap out of Intel with write speeds.

    Also, Register Hardware reviewed the same drive six weeks ago!
  • 0 Hide
    rags_20 , April 30, 2009 10:54 AM
    @ 1st poster. It think they meant GB
  • 1 Hide
    krazyderek , April 30, 2009 11:56 AM
    page 2 hard drive specs, 80-500gb??? shouldn't that be 2tb?? and price $100 for 320gb?? try $50 for 320gb or $80 for 500gb
  • 3 Hide
    xsamitt , April 30, 2009 12:24 PM
    We used to get 3 and 4 new articles a day.Now it's been reduced to one.
    I would think with all new teck in the market place we can find more than just hard drives to talk about.
    As I mentioned before there are a new host of monitors out there.One that do 120htz and the response times have gotten better.It would seem the 24 inch monitors have been catching up to the smaller 22 inch counter parts in terms of speed.
    This is the would be article you won't get for a long time I am afraid.

  • 0 Hide
    xsamitt , April 30, 2009 12:33 PM
    What I also find odd is that there are more ads on Toms than before but they get rid of our avatars?I have to wonder why?
  • 0 Hide
    neapolis , April 30, 2009 12:41 PM
    Thank You for making the "Table of contents" actually accessible!!!
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 30, 2009 1:33 PM
    Place the table of contents in every page, not just the first. And put it at the bottom of the page, so you can use it after you read the page. Currently you read the page and have to scroll up to use it.
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , April 30, 2009 2:01 PM
    This article avoids detailed discussion of the controllers used in the SSDs, does not emphasize the importance of small random write tests, and implies that OCZ does not have a product, when in reality the OCZ Vertex using the Indilinx controller has the second best performance to Intel at half the price. The JMicron controller is garbage. Read the vastly superior articles on AnandTech "The SSD Update" and "The SSD Anthology" for more information.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 30, 2009 2:06 PM
    Perhaps this is an irrelevant question, and you'll understand why in a moment, but would owning an SSD with a throughput of over 200 mb/s help in situations where the amount of available ram is exceeded? IE - in games where instead of writing to RAM, the program would have to write to the HD as virtual ram. Oftentimes I would notice a stuttering when a new area in a game was streamed from the HD when I didn't have available ram, would this effect be eliminated? (The reason I felt it was somewhat irrelevant would be because those of us who can afford to buy a $400-600 SSD drive can probably afford a few more gigs of ram - or would have the ram in the first place.)
  • 2 Hide
    kschoche , April 30, 2009 2:11 PM
    Drop down list again please, forcing me to see all of your ads by removing drop downs, or having a dozen image pages instead of text only forces me to add more things to adblock.
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