RiData’s 64GB SSD uses an MLC design to pack more data onto its flash memory chips. We like how that makes the drive cheaper than the majority of SSDs on the market. What we don’t like is how the Ultra-S Plus illustrates the performance losses wrought by using this technology instead of a speedier SLC design.
The Ultra-S Plus was able to overtake the fastest hard drive we’ve tested—Western Digital’s Velociraptor—in two of our benchmarks: a random access read measurement and the overall PCMark Vantage score. Neither win came as a surprise. Because hard disk drives suffer lag while the drive arm moves to the proper location on the disk, flash memory consistently outperforms magnetic storage in random access read speeds. This helped in PCMark Vantage because the app’s eight individual benchmark traces favor read performance and random access reads.
OCZ uses rebadged Samsung SSD drives for its SSD storage offerings. While we’re confident that OCZ hasn’t done any internal tweaking to the drives, it’s nevertheless interesting to see that a slight performance difference exists between the twins.
In our tests, the Samsung and OCZ drives ran neck and neck in our sustained transfer read and write benchmarks, but the Samsung edged out the OCZ by 1MB/s to 2MB/s in both scenarios. The two drives posted similar results in random access tests, with the Samsung again taking the upper hand in random access write tests.
Super Talent’s 64GB SSD must be using the exact same hardware as RiData’s Ultra-S Plus 64GB. If not, then the similarities between these drives are an amazing coincidence. We recorded identical random access read times for both, an underwhelming .39 milliseconds. Both drives’ PCMark Vantage scores were within one-third of one percent of each other, and they varied by just two seconds in our uncompressed AVI file-creation test.
If these two MLC-based drives are indeed brothers in arms, then they’re the two drunken soldiers stumbling around at the rear of the SSD brigade. Like the RiData, the Super Talent’s performance is unacceptable, even given its low price. While the Super Talent drive overtakes our Western Digital Velociraptor in the real-world PCMark Vantage test, we’d be terrified to use this drive as the primary storage for our operating system. Its random access read scores are swift, but this drive’s random access write performance is atrocious: It was more than 7,000 percent slower than a Velociraptor in our tests!
Mtron’s SSD Pro 7500 is the first 3.5-inch SSD we’ve tested, and it’s a welcome addition to our rig if for no other reason than its size. We don’t have to fuss with adapters to attach this SSD to our PC. It’s a small thing, but it’s a feature we wish more SSD manufacturers would adopt.
Mtron’s Pro 7500 exceeded our performance expectations on sustained transfer read rates, putting up a respectable showing that was mere megabytes-per-second behind the second-place SSD, Imation’s Pro 7000, and 14 percent behind our speed leader, Memoright’s 64GB SSD. The drive delivered write speeds comparable to the other SLC SSDs, capping out at 84.2MB/s. This synthetic performance was reflected in our real-world tests, with the Mtron Pro 7500 plowing through our Premiere Pro test in 8:17—a minute and change behind the Memoright SSD, but second place nonetheless.
Click after the jump to read the rest of the review.
While Memoright’s spec pages attribute this 64GB SSD with a SATA interface, that’s not accurate. This isn’t a SATA drive, per se; rather, the drive uses a SATA bridge connected to an ATA-133 interface. Ultimately, however, this doesn’t impact the drive’s overall speed. Memoright’s SSD shoots past the competition in the majority of our benchmarks.
This device outperforms the next-fastest SSD by 14 percent in our average sequential read rate test and 8.5 percent in its average sequential writes. Its random-access read and write scores are the fastest of all the SSDs we’ve tested. Better still, we were able to write a 40GB uncompressed AVI file to the Memoright SSD in a mere 6:51 (min:sec). That’s 1:26 faster than the second-place finisher in that test, the Mtron 7500, and just 28 seconds slower than a Western Digital Velociraptor drive.
Like Samsung and OCZ, Imation has partnered with Mtron to use the latter’s controller technology in its SSDs. As you might expect, the companies’ 64GB drives perform similarly. Still, a few subtle differences exist between the Mtron and Imation SSDs.
Imation’s Pro 7000 squeaks out 2MB/s extra in its sustained read transfer rates yet is 0.4MB/s slower than the Mtron Pro 7500 SSD in write speeds. The two drives offer identical performance in their random access read measurements and differ by a scant 0.2 milliseconds in their random access write timings.
In some alternate world, Fabrik’s SimpleTech Redrive is winning a Kick Ass award from Green PC—Maximum PC’s eco-conscious sister publication. This is the most environmentally friendly external storage device we’ve ever tested. From its packaging, to its construction, to its guts, the Redrive is designed with a single purpose in mind: saving the planet. As a byproduct of this, the drive saves you energy and, consequently, money.
EMC earlier this year acquired storage and network security solutions company Iomega Corporation, who is perhaps best known for its line of Zip and Jaz drives. Today Iomega announces the first co-produced storage drive between the two companies, resulting in the StorCenter ix2. For $300, consumers get a network storage solution the company describes as being "smaller than a large dictionary." The price point works out to $0.30 per gigabyte.
"These are market-based prices," Iomega division president Jonathan Huberman said. "It's ridiculous how cheap these things are, but it is what it is. A great value for the consumer."
Upping the bang for buck factor, a 2TB version is also being made available for $479, or about $0.24 per gigabyte. Of course, the StorCenter ix2 offers more than raw hard drive space. The unit comes with EMC's Retrospect backup software, virus encryption technology, and RAID 1. A bult in media server and Bluetooth, UPnP (Universal Plug and Play), and DLNA (Digital Living Netwrok Alliance) media device capabilities also come part of the package.
SSDs are the hottest trend in storage, but how long will an SSD last? Right now,there's no industry standard for longevity or reliability. However, Cnet reports that Seagate and JEDEC are working together to establish a standards-based method for determining those factors.
Seagate isn't alone in working with JEDEC, the standards body responsible for standards in the solid-state industry. Earlier this year, X-bit Labs reported that JEDEC's JC-64.8 committee, which is responsible for developing SSD standards for embedded and removable storage, is being co-chaired by Micron Technologies and Seagate.
Micron brings its experience in memory technologies, while Seagate brings its experience in drive reliability to the endeavor. As Cnet reports:
Seagate says it can tap into the decades of expertise it has in error correction. "Some of the skills we've picked up along the way, to deal with imperfect media, has applicability to dealing with imperfect media on NAND."
Seagate's own SSDs won't hit the market until 2009, but hopefully its work with JEDEC to set standards for reliability will help make all SSDs more reliable.
So, what do you think? Will Seagate's presence on the JEDEC committee responsible for SSD standards make this latecomer to SSDs the one to trust when product finally hits the street? Or, are you ready to use SSDs right now? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
Noticeably late to the solid state storage (SSD) party is Seagate, who earlier said it would offer its first SSDs sometime in 2008. As the year is quickly coming to an end, the company has now pushed its entry into 2009.
"Our history is based on rotating magnetic media," Seagate's senior manager of market development Rich Vignes told Cnet. "But as solid-state comes online, we're embracing this new media type."
Not everyone would agree that Seagate is "embracing" the increasingly popular storage medium. While several companies have made a push to get SSDs into the mainstream market, Seagate's late entry will focus solely on the enterprise market with consumer drivers to be sold "later." So far the company has not yet announced announced plans to manufacturer NAND flash memory by itself like many of it competitors are doing. Instead, Seagate has kept the focus of its flash business to hybrid (flash/HDD) hard drives.