Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

14-Way SSD Hard Drive Roundup

14-Way SSD Hard Drive Roundup
By

July was an interesting month. Although there were no new major flash SSD product releases, we talked quite a bit about the successor to the hard drive, or what it will eventually become, and decided to keep looking at the flash SSD market. Today, an SSD isn’t necessarily the better choice over a magnetic hard drive, as there is a catch with most of the options out there. Some flash SSDs are much more efficient than hard drives, others are much faster than hard drives, and only a small minority can achieve both. But all are more expensive, especially when you consider cost per gigabyte.

The Flash SSD Market: Between SLC and MLC

We should keep in mind that the flash SSD market is still relatively young, and in the process of being defined. Manufacturers such as MemoRight and Mtron position their products for high-end workstations and servers, while Samsung has an excellent consumer drive, which it does not yet in retail. Instead, it provided small quantities to other vendors such as OCZ to create their individual products. All the premium products are based on Single-Level Cell (SLC) flash memory. You can identify these by their high write performance and I/O performance.

And then there is the flash SSD mainstream, although we’re having a hard time declaring this a “mainstream” segment when it still averages several hundred dollars per drive. The mainstream differs from the high-end in its utilization of Multi-Level Cell (MLC) flash products. These can be read quickly, but their write and random access performance generally lag behind.

Manufacturers typically don’t tell you whether they use SLC or MLC flash, but you can tell by the cost. If the price tag hits four digits, you’re looking at a high-end product based on SLC flash. Don’t make the mistake of declaring MLC the loser, though, since good products using it can certainly be suitable even for high-end desktop applications.

New Products: Hama, Mtron, Samsung, Silicon Power

As you would expect, the market for these products is in constant flux. We included two new 2.5” flash SSD in between our initial flash SSD Hoax article and our update on specific findings regarding efficiency. Although we had to return some drives to their sources, we added four new flash SSD units from the European vendor Hama, a 128 GB drive by Silicon Power, a new high-performance model by Mtron and Samsung’s latest offering.

And we found that only one product manages to stick out from the crowd.

Display all 30 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    DXRick , August 18, 2008 6:46 AM
    Why wasn't the VelociRaptor shown also for comparison????
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    Lord_Devlin , August 18, 2008 5:36 AM
    So why wasn't OCZ's new Core Series SSD included in the testing? That's the SSD I want to see the benchmarks and power requirements on.
  • -4 Hide
    lutel , August 18, 2008 5:56 AM
    Sorry, but this review is worthless withous OCZ Core SSD.
  • 0 Hide
    Lord_Devlin , August 18, 2008 6:02 AM
    lutelSorry, but this review is worthless withous OCZ Core SSD.


    You've got that right.
  • 11 Hide
    DXRick , August 18, 2008 6:46 AM
    Why wasn't the VelociRaptor shown also for comparison????
  • -1 Hide
    cjl , August 18, 2008 8:45 AM
    I would be stunned if the Core could match the Samsung and other high performers in this test. All indications I've seen are that it is MLC, which is significantly slower than the SLC used in the Samsung and all higher end SSDs. That's why the core is so cheap.

    Of course, I haven't seen any tests, so I could be proven wrong, but I doubt it.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , August 18, 2008 10:47 AM
    Well, nothing new here.

    A comparison of random write access time would have been very nice

    since this a major disadvantage of SSD (as far as I know).



    Some flash drives reach less than 10 IOPS when writing small random files,

    which means >100ms access time!
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , August 18, 2008 12:22 PM
    Harddrive charts, like the CPU and GPU charts will be very helpful. Start compiling all the data now Toms and keep them up-to-date.
  • 0 Hide
    pbrigido , August 18, 2008 12:38 PM
    I will completely agree with THG's findings. I purchased the Samsung’s 64 GB SSD SATA-2 from Newegg many months ago (in the $800 price range). I gave the drive a top-notch review at Newegg back then and would do so again in a heartbeat. It is truly amazing how much the HD can bottleneck a system until you get a drive like this. Anyone who has a need for uncompromised speed with the appropriate budget has to look no further than these two products recommended by THG.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , August 18, 2008 2:05 PM
    the core is already outdated... please include the OCZ core v2 SSD guys.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , August 18, 2008 3:47 PM
    ...throughput. Silicon Power actually ships capacities of up to 128 MB, but its performance disappointed. The... should be 128 GB
  • 5 Hide
    dangerous_23 , August 18, 2008 5:00 PM
    what about the fusionIO drive? does it live up to its incredible claims? 600MB/s write and read?? http://www.fusionio.com/
  • -2 Hide
    dangerous_23 , August 18, 2008 5:00 PM
    please please have a look and this drive!!
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , August 18, 2008 5:07 PM
    @ fredsky...

    Agreed!

    WTF, I just bought the new OCZ Core v2 from neweeg for under 250 with tax (hate NY!) and shipping after a 40 dollar rebate. It's MLC but shows huge speeds for read and write. Like 153/93 !!! I was really hoping to read about it here, but alas there is nothing.

    Also no prices??? Thats stupid.

    Also ridata has a new SSD thats right up there with the new OCZ which I would also like to see reviewed, however because it had no warranty listed, (the OCZ has 2 Years!) it didn't get any $$ from me.

    Dumba$$es.
  • 2 Hide
    gxavier , August 18, 2008 6:02 PM
    Knightmare777I just bought the new OCZ Core v2 from neweeg


    Newegg is only selling the OCZ core version 1's. They don't have version 2s... Are you sure you bought a version2?

    This is a version 2 model number -> OCZSSD2-2C30G
    This is a version 1 model number -> OCZSSD2-1C32G

  • -2 Hide
    spludge , August 19, 2008 8:07 AM
    I have one of the Silicon Power 32Gb MLC units - they get about double the speed of the 128mb version Toms has tested and in our market, they cost about 1/2 the price of the OCZ-branded.

    PCM05
    Startup 27.09 vs 3 here
    Write 66.80 vs 38 here

    and the HD Tune results:
    Transfer Rate Minimum : 86.4 MB/sec
    Transfer Rate Maximum : 117.4 MB/sec
    Transfer Rate Average : 106.8 MB/sec
    Access Time : 0.4 ms
    Burst Rate : 51.0 MB/sec
    CPU Usage : 4.4%

    Makes me wonder if there's something else here, maybe they had an old version or something.
  • 0 Hide
    Erdrick , August 19, 2008 11:26 AM
    If they can produce a 128GB unit for around $200, I would take the plunge.
  • 0 Hide
    pschmid , August 19, 2008 5:06 PM
    We didn't get the initial Core drive for review. V2 will be included next time.

    Regards,
    Patrick
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 19, 2008 6:03 PM
    I don't know about the pricing of the drives,
    but for a replacement drive I'd go with the HAMA Highspeed flash 3,5", due to it's reasonable fast speeds, and reasonable powerconsumption.

    The only reason I'd suggest staying away from OCZ for a while is their drives high defect rate. To allready have a complaint the day the drive gets released, and have several complaints about broken drives the first 4 weeks of production leaves me no good impression. I probably not go for OCS the first year or so; despite their low pricing.

    I yet have to see the HAMA price before I decide to buy any. A price chart would be nice indeed.

    Also, looking from notebook perspective would be more interesting, since the majority of SSD's are bought for powersaving, shock resistance, and data reliability; not speed as what most people would think.

    Ups for including a boot time simulation chart! That 'd replace the random read table other users have been asking for.

    A minor remark: SSD's and laptop HD's are most of the time idle. I would put more stress on the idle powerconsumption, then on peak power; except for MLC drives used for data storage/read.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 19, 2008 6:13 PM
    edit on prev. post:
    Companies wanting speed (meaning the higher performance range like Memoright) probably would rather go for raid SCSI HD drives or similar.

    From notebook point of view:
    MLC is too slow for OS, and preferrably is used for extending data storage.
    Allthough anyone running 2 SSD drives (1xSSD SLC, 1xSSD MLC) might consider if running 1 HDD wouldn't use less power.

    The perfect solution fornotebookusers wanting to replace their HD would be a 24GB SSD SLC for the OS with additional MLC flash for data storage in one drive, with good powersaving options the OSC drives deliver.
  • 0 Hide
    alfred95014 , August 21, 2008 5:08 PM
    There is one dirty secret that SSD vendors do not mention. I have not seen anyone do this experiment:
    1) Take an SSD drive, say labeled as 32 G. Format it under OS, check its reported capacity -- does it really say 32 G or close enough?
    2) Measuring its performance.
    3) Perform a write transfer that covers at least 1.5x of reported capacity (i.e. trasnfer total number of bytes that are 1.5x of capacity).
    Shut down immediately after this is done.
    4) Power up and measure its performance again.

    The key here is that as an SSD exhausts its unwritten flash memory, it needs to erase previously written locations to be able to use them to store new data. This introduces overhead. As an SSD ages in the field, its performance would, most likely, drop.

    For a conventional HDD, this is not a concern at all. Running it for 1 hour or 20 hours, the performance would still be the same.
Display more comments