Six New SSDs: Can Intel Be Dethroned?

Memory Corp F4 SLC SSD, 32 GB

As we were still digesting the ridiculously low I/O performance numbers provided by Chaintech and the MLC-flash based Memory Corp F4 drives, we pinned our hopes on the SLC-flash model by Memory Corp. The device is also available at 8-128 GB capacities using SATA/300. This drive is slightly heavier than the MLC model: 90 g vs. 80 g. And the data sheet promises higher performance: 160 MB/s read throughput and 140 MB/s writes—that would be something, but our hopes were dashed again.

Poor I/O Performance Despite SLC Flash Memory

The Memory Corp F4 SLC drive was capable of outperforming its MLC brother, but to an extent so small that we had to shake our heads again. A figure of 63 workstation I/O operations per second is still only a fraction of the almost 600 I/Os per second delivered by Mtron, 400+ Samsung and OCZ, not to mention the unmatched 1,646 I/Os per second by Intel’s X25-M. At least the F4 SLC outperformed the F4 MLC in all the other tests except streaming reads efficiency, where the MLC model actually did better.

The only applications where we see the Memory Corp drives fitting in are mainstream desktop or notebook applications, where read throughput is the main criterion. The power consumption of the Memory Corp drives is low enough to squeeze out a few more minutes of battery runtime when compared to hard drives, but the limited I/O performance prevents this drive from being suitable for enthusiasts or workstation applications.