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Six New SSDs: Can Intel Be Dethroned?


We reviewed six new flash SSDs from various vendors, and they all showed impressive performance in at least a few benchmark categories. Chaintech, Memory Corp, Silicon Power, Soliware, and Super Talent all deliver more than 100 MB/s throughput. Memory Corp’s F4 SLC drive reached the best throughput at 116 MB/s. However, four out of the six drives disappointed with rather low write performance. Super Talent reached an acceptable 53 MB/s, while only Soliware actually managed to have its write throughput match its read performance, at more than 100 MB/s. Well, at least the six mostly stay below 0.3 ms access time.

The Soliware SSD was the only drive to show strong write performance and great I/O performance as well. The results still aren’t good enough to beat the professional SSDs by Memoright, Mtron, and Intel’s X25-M. However, Soliware’s built-in 128 MB cache memory helped to boost write performance to a level that is only matched by Memoright and Mtron.

However, Soliware’s performance comes at a price, as it requires more power than any other flash SSD. Its 1.9 W idle and 4.0 W peak power are more than conventional hard drives require; this is probably also a result of the built-in cache memory. Other drives, such as the Samsung 64 GB SLC SSD, require only between 0.3 and 1.0 W. Most of the other drives in this roundup showed acceptable power consumption.

In the end, none of the new drives was really impressive. They all have significant weaknesses: usually either low I/O performance, poor write throughput or unacceptable power consumption. The best consumer drive still is Intel’s X25-M flash SSD, and if you’re looking for maximum efficiency, you still have to go for the Samsung or OCZ’s SATA II performance series. Some of the drives here may be alternatives for specific applications, but at this point we still recommend being careful with low-cost drives, as they may not live up to expectations.