SandForce controller reliable as ever; high random IOPS; competitive price.
In our quest to cover the latest and greatest technology, we’re sometimes guilty of neglecting perfectly cromulent SKUs from smaller manufacturers. The Phoenix Pro series of solid-state drives is built on the same SandForce SF-1200 controller that powers top-of-the-line drives like OCZ’s Vertex 2 series, Patriot’s Inferno, and Corsair’s Force. With new controllers on the way, SandForce drives, especially at lower capacities, will become good candidates for first-time SSD adopters. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at G.Skill’s 60GB Phoenix Pro. Can a company better known for gaming RAM deliver a compelling SandForce drive at a decent price point?
The chassis of an SSD is not worth remarking on, unless it’s exceptionally good or bad. G.Skill’s is cheaper than most—stamped metal held together with clips, rather than Phillips-head or even Torx screws. This isn’t really a mark against it, as opening up your SSD tends to void the warranty, but it’s still not the best-assembled enclosure we’ve seen.
In mythology, the Phoenix represents resurrection and new life. We have no idea what it represents here. Maybe it just sounded cool.
The Phoenix Pro’s average sustained read and write speeds of 223MB/s and 207MB/s, respectively, are around what we’d expect from a top-tier current-gen drive. The average write speed is a little lower than we’ve seen from other SandForce drives, but still respectable. HDTune 4KB random reads and writes are among the lowest we’ve seen from a SandForce drive (both sub-9,000 IOPS). On the other hand, IOMeter queue-depth 32 random writes exceed 40,000 IOPS, which is closer to the 48,000 IOPS we’ve seen from the fastest SandForce drives. It’s certainly better than the 14,000 we got from Samsung’s new 470-series SSD and most non-SandForce drives.
The G.Skill Phoenix Pro is a standard SandForce SF-1200 drive, which means it performs with the fastest consumer SSDs on the market. That’s good, if boring, from a reviewer’s standpoint. Even when new controllers come out, this generation of SandForce SSDs will remain a solid deal, and under-exposed brands like G.Skill can offer real value. The Phoenix Pro is available in capacities from 40GB to 240GB.
|G.Skill Phoenix Pro ||Samsung 470 Series||Patriot Inferno|
|HDTune 4.0.1 |
|Avg Read (MB/s) ||222.9 ||216.8||226.9|
|Random-Access Read (ms)||.1||.0||.1|
|Burst Read (MB/s)||226.4 ||103.2||209|
|Avg Write (MB/s)||207.4||220.7||222.2|
|Random-Access Write (ms) ||.1 ||.1||.1|
|Burst Write (MB/s) ||202.4 ||110||205.4|
|4KB Read (IOPS) ||8,340||9,006||10,685|
|4KB Write (IOPS)||7,667||14,323||10,480|
|IOMeter Random-Write IOPS (4KB, Queue Depth 32) ||40,111 ||14,743||10,724|
|Premiere Pro (sec)||320||330||360|
|PCMark Vantage HDD||35,768||27,016||33,889|
All drives tested on our hard drive test bench: a stock-clocked Intel i7-930 CPU on an Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard with 6GB DDR3, running 64-bit Windows 7 Professional. All 3Gb/s tests performed using latest Intel ACHI drivers.