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.