Spring 2010 Solid State Drive Roundup, Part 1

SSD Roundup, Part 1: Getting Ready For SATA 6Gb/s

In this first segment, we’ll be looking at SSD offerings from Crucial, Intel, OCZ, Solidata, and Toshiba using our upgraded storage test system. Instead of Intel’s onboard SATA 3Gb/s controller, we decided to switch to a Highpoint Rocket 62x, based on Marvell's twin-port SATA 6Gb/s controller. The adapter connects via x1 PCI Express 2.0 and offers up to 600 MB/s bandwidth for next-generation storage devices.

We made no other major modifications to our storage test system, since the hardware is still quite current. We stuck with our Supermicro X8SAX motherboard, based on Intel’s X58 chipset and LGA 1366 interface. We only equipped the system with three Corsair 1GB DDR3-1333 DIMMs, given that more memory won't aid in storage testing. The system runs a 2.66 GHz, quad-core Core i7-920.

We did make a couple other minor configuration changes. Windows Vista is being replaced by Windows 7 Ultimate to introduce TRIM support, and we installed an additional Highpoint SATA 6Gb/s controller. The latter uses a Marvell 88SE9128 chip and works at a gross throughput of 600 MB/s instead of the onboard controller’s 300 MB/s. So far, Crucial's RealSSD C300 is the only SSD that supports SATA 6Gb/s, but others are sure to follow soon. You’ll find test results on this Crucial SSD in the next part of this article.

The Candidates

We took our previously-reviewed Intel X25-M G2 and pitted it against Crucial’s M225, the OCZ Vertex, and Solidata’s K5. All of them are based on Indilinx’s Barefoot controller. We also included Toshiba's latest SSD, the HG2.