For many of our readers, the Hyundai Sapphire won't even appear on the shopping radar for personal use, but we all have people to buy for from time to time. The Sapphire sticks out at Newegg due to the large price difference against the competition, at least when it's in stock. For two months, we saw the drive during our SSD price audit we use to create our Best SSDs monthly column. The drive intrigued us, but it became a project after stumbling on Hyundai Technology at CES.
We didn't know what to expect because there isn't a lot of public information available about the Sapphire. For all we knew, the drive had an older SandForce controller. I'm glad we did take the time to test the very low-cost drive because it gave us a fresh look at the growing DRAMless market. There are several new products at Newegg and Amazon from Asian companies entering the US market with low-cost SSDs. I suspect many of those products use DRAMless designs, but there is no guarantee that what ships today will be the same configuration that ships tomorrow. The Asian SSD market and media don't hold the companies to the same high standards as we do in North America and Europe. All the companies building products for China and other less developed countries do not use the same tactics, but the bar is much lower.
Hyundai Technology is a US-based company, so we hope it doesn't play the same game as the imported products. Retailers import all SSDs, but company practices often change by region. Having a trusted low-cost SSD provider will go a long way with end users. When it comes to SSDs, many of the more established brands have let us down over the years. Once the trust is lost, it's difficult to recover, regardless of price. We will have to keep an eye on Hyundai and see if the company can build a solid reputation in the SSD market.
The Sapphire isn't a bad SSD for the price. It ships with a five-year warranty and is very cheap. Hyundai didn't try to advertise the drive for anything more than it is. That goes a long way. The drive is not a performance powerhouse, but it’s a good SSD for your parents to surf the web with and check email.
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