The DRAMless SSDs are coming, the DRAMless SSDs are coming! That's the sound you hear in the HDD Hills as flash attempts to displace the legacy technology from yet another market. The target: your mother, grandmother and the typical beige box PCs without LED lights, discrete graphics and performance-enhancing stickers.
The new Toshiba OCZ TL100 ultra-low cost SSD is just in time for the holiday shopping season. The TL100 is the first high-profile DRAMless SSD to reach the retail channel. The DRAMless design further reduces the starting price for SSDs and allows the technology to reach a wider demographic.
The Toshiba OCZ TL100 joins the Patriot Spark with retail packaging for an SSD built primarily for OEMs. DRAMless SSDs first moved into pre-built OEM systems so the OEM could "check the SSD box" on big-box retail stickers. They also allow you to get the technology for the same price as OEM hard disk drives.
|Product||TL100 120GB||TL100 240GB|
|Sequential Read||550 MB/s||550 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||Up To 530 MB/s||Up To 530 MB/s|
|Random Read||85,000 IOPS||85,000 IOPS|
|Random Write||Up To 80,000 IOPS||Up To 80,000 IOPS|
|Endurance||30 TBW - 27 GB/Day||60 TBW - 54 GB/Day|
|Warranty||3-Years Advanced Warranty||3-Years Advanced Warranty|
The TL100 specification sheet looks impressive with up to 530 MB/s sequential reads, which is a 5x increase over OEM-style HDDs. The sequential write performance peaks at 530 MB/s, but we don't know the sustained write performance (a measurement we call native TLC write performance). OCZ used a standard 7% overprovisioning scheme to reduce wear and added an SLC cache to keep sequential and random write burst speeds fast and responsive. The random performance tops 85,000/80,000 read/write IOPS.
The new DRAMless class SSDs are not for enthusiasts, Steam gamers or power users. The endurance is a limiting factor for many of us. The TL100 120GB delivers just 30 TBW, and that doubles with the TL100 240GB model. The total bytes written (TBW) rating limits the 3-year warranty. If you have a warranty issue while you are still inside of the TBW rating, OCZ will replace your drive with a guaranteed new product that ships to you before you even remove the failed drive.
The price reflects the low endurance rating. OCZ’s TL100 120GB model ships with an MSRP of just $44.99. The TL100 240GB moves the price bar to $67.99, but we expect both to fall as we get closer to Black Friday and further into the holiday shopping season.
We've yet to test the new TL100 series products but plan to do so in the future. The Patriot Spark 512GB and other DRAMless products are in testing now for a roundup-style review. We hope to add the OCZ TL100 to the testing list.
The DRAMless products target the famed Average Joe, which is the largest demographic of computer users. These users may be average, but they still use a slow 500GB to 1TB hard disk drive with a little less than 50GB of data on the platters. Joe could have a desktop or a notebook that rarely leaves the sunroom and could benefit from a low-cost SSD, but you will need to tell him because he and Jane have no idea what the magical internet box looks like on the inside.
These products are not for most Tom's Hardware readers, per-se, but they do offer an excellent value for gifting an SSD to an internet-only user.
For many users, the 27 GB/day endurance should be fine but you will want to actually replace the drive after the warranty expires or keep an eye on the amount of data written and utilized after background activity.
Personally, I like to load a system with a drive and never have to think about endurance, media wearout indicators or anything along those lines.
For non-Steam MMORPG's it is even less than that unless they find a huge problem.
I guess I fail to see how this differs, improves upon or in any other way offers 'moar value' for less when drives like the $65 corsair force le exist. So instead they cut corners, add a couple bucks to the pricetag and try to convince everyone it's a good deal. Now if they want to put out a 240gb model for $45 by all means cut corners.
If it fits someone's low data capacity needs I think there are still equally priced better options available. If they need more space for data, a $65-80 240gb ssd isn't going to compete with a 1tb hdd for $55. Heck hitachi has 7200rpm models at 1tb for $40. They're still nowhere near overtaking hdd's for storage value.
It's one of those products with performance and a pricetag that make it difficult to defend either the cheaping out or the not-so-discounted price to performance ratio.