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Longsys Foresee S500 SSD Review

Longsys, the largest SSD manufacturer in China, sent over a new client SSD armed with Toshiba's triple-level-cell NAND flash and a controller from Silicon Motion that you'll be seeing a lot of over the next year.

Conclusion

It's not clear if Longsys has aspirations to expand to the U.S. or Europe, but the company still works like many other Chinese companies. It doesn't keep a stockpile of SSDs ready to ship or sitting around at distribution centers. Orders are submitted, the drives are made and then, after a week or two, depending on the size of the order, they're delivered.

When Longsys first reached out to us for a review, we thought it was showing off an enterprise-oriented SSD for China’s expanding data center market. Paul Alcorn, our enterprise SSD reviewer, received the drive. He's currently testing products solid mainly in China from Shannon Systems (now part of Silicon Motion) and Huawei. Some of those drives are available worldwide and come under the scope of what we would normally review.

Once we determined the product Longsys sent was a client-oriented model, it was forwarded to me. Normally, I wouldn't review a desktop SSD under these conditions. After all, you, the reader, can't easily get your hands on it. But this was also the first retail (or near-retail, I should say) drive to arrive with Silicon Motion's SM2256 controller.

I hate turning a product review into a controller review, but it's about the only substantive part of the S500 we can talk about. The SM2256 is a processor we'll see at the heart of several domestic SSDs over the next two years. Armed with LDPC code that makes low-cost TLC to be viable for client SSDs, Silicon Motion's SM2256 is the next SF2281 (a widely used SandForce controller that shipped in more than 50 million devices).

TLC is here to stay, whether you like it or not. By the end of 2016, it's expected to outsell SLC and MLC combined. Triple-level-cell memory from Samsung, Micron and Toshiba will even drop into high-performance drives using the NVMe protocol.

Longsys' Foresee S500 240GB costs just $70 and it's a new part, with a controller that is gaining momentum. As other vendors start adopting it, we'll see drives like this shipping in notebooks from major OEMs and selling on retail shelves for $50 to $60. This is what a commodity SSD will look like for the next year. It's not a bad trade-off for most folks, though once power users push it harder than they should, the user experience sours rapidly.


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Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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  • kalmquist
    The Silicon Motion's SM2256 based drives have the dubious distinction of being slower than what came before. I'm hoping that once companies other than Samsung get 3D NAND into mass production, we will see SSD's priced like the Longsys' Foresee S500, but with better performance.
    Reply
  • ansar
    Bah. "S500" is the model name and not the size. :(
    Reply
  • jtown80
    wonder how many backdoors they included...
    Reply
  • Jeffs0418
    wonder how many backdoors they included...
    I was thinking the same thing. Just the possibility is a deal breaker for me.
    I just hope the (Korean) Samsung 850 EVO I purchased this year (Made in China)
    has no unwelcome firmware inside.
    Reply
  • Jeffs0418
    The nice price is suspicious too...
    Reply
  • photonboy
    The PRICE is right where it should be. It doesn't perform as well as slightly more expensive drives.
    Reply
  • TbsToy
    Oh boy another cheap, substandard sata SSD with no visible support.
    Walt Prill
    Reply
  • photonboy
    TbsToy,
    How do you know there is no support? Do you read Chinese?

    These exist in China, so I'm not sure why you would expect to easily find the support site.
    Reply
  • TbsToy
    16962018 said:
    TbsToy,
    How do you know there is no support? Do you read Chinese?

    These exist in China, so I'm not sure why you would expect to easily find the support site.


    Well, being in Los Angeles California USA and an English speaking American, I haven't ever felt the need to learn to read and speak Chinese just to be able to communicate with an unfindable Chinese support site for some substandard SSD that might not exist a month from now with a site ya can't even find. I can walk to Intel and with no time, and with no language or communication or warranty or shipment issues back and forth.. So I agree with you cuz ya might not have any usable support like the many SSD vendors have here. That shouldn't deter any potential buyers though, right, cuz it is cheap and ya wanna sell em, Right?
    Walt Prill
    Reply
  • hannibal
    I just have to wonder, if most of the readers actually did read the article. This is not about Longsys, this is about controller, that will be the dominant controller in the next two years. Expect to see these in low price Samsung, Munchkin, Kingston etc ssd drives in near future.
    Reply