MyDigitalSSD SuperSSpeed S301 128GB SLC Chris Ramseyer Edition SSD Review
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In a perfect world……well my in my perfect world anyway, LSI SandForce controlled drives would not lose write performance when writing incompressible data. This has been wishful thinking until now that is. Chris Ramseyer has teamed up with MyDigitalSSD and SuperSSpeed to bring us an LSI SandForce Based drive that belongs in my perfect world. The first 50 of these one of a kind drives are signature editions signed and numbered by Chris himself.
LSI SandForce based drives have always had an Achilles Heel when writing incompressible data due to the nature of the controller when processing MLC NAND. Because MLC NAND is used in 99.99% of all consumer SSD’s poor write performance with incompressible data is something we have all come to expect from SandForce based drives. This poor incompressible write performance gets worst as the drives get smaller resulting in incompressible write performance that typically looks like this:
This is a 120GB MLC/SandForce based drive when processing incompressible data. Notice how the sequential write speed is only 160MB/s. Here is the same drive processing compressible data:
Notice how much better sequential write performance is for a SandForce Based drive when the data is compressible? 500MB/s verses 160MB/s is a huge difference. This is something that SandForce users have had to live with until today. SandForce users have been willing to live with this because LSI Sand force based drives STILL out perform all other drives with data on the drive which is all that really matters and is the reason LSI Sandforce based drives out sell all others combined. Non SandForce based drives claim to fame is they can handle incompressible data better than SandForce drives can. Well even that claim to fame has evaporated because SuperSSpeed has introduced an SLC/SandForce based drive the S301.
There are three things that come to mind when you think of SLC NAND. 1) SLC’s stratospheric cost and that’s tough to get past because in the past say a year and a half ago a 120GB SLC drive would run you about 2 Grand or even more. 2) SLC NAND has much better performance than MLC NAND. 3) Endurance because SLC NAND is rated at about 30,000 times more P/E cycles than typical MLC NAND. The cost of SLC NAND is the reason it’s been strictly for enterprise and not used in consumer drives so consumers have never been exposed to what it means to have an SLC drive.
Enter SuperSSpeed. SuperSSpeed has been able to bring to market for the first time EVER a SLC drive that doesn’t cost a fortune. This is a complete game changer because now SLC goodness is available to the masses at an affordable price point. I seriously hope all drive manufacturers are paying attention because once the enthusiast crowd gets a taste of what SLC can do they will demand nothing less.
This is one of those reviews that should grab drive manufacturers attention because if they don’t take notice of what SuperSSpeed is doing with SLC flash they could be left in the dust. We will start off by stating that this is the fastest consumer drive ever made. It should also be the longest lasting consumer drive ever made and could even be considered the best value for any consumer drive ever made. We can verify the first statement and that’s what we are about to do. Reliability and endurance can only be verified over the course of time but considering the S301 has 100,000 P/E NAND inside it’s not too much of a stretch to consider it the most durable consumer drive ever made as well.
We will get started by looking at what MyDigitalSSD who is currently offering this drive has to say about it.
MyDigitalSSD 2.5" SuperSSpeed SATA III (6G) SandForce SSD
MyDigitalSSD has teamed up with SuperSSpeed to offer the fastest and top performing solid state drives on the market today. Utilizing the SandForce SF-2281 controller and SLC NAND flash, the SuperSSpeed boasts incredible speed for advanced gaming, multitasking, and multimedia computing power. Rated at 550MB/s Read and 520MB/s Write, the SuperSSpeed is proof that in this day and age, you get what you pay for, being arguably 20 times better than its nearest MLC rival at only twice the expense including accessories!
As with all MyDigitalSSD drives, the SuperSSpeed runs cool and quiet with no moving parts to create heat. Coupled with being shockproof, meaning that dropping your SSD or notebook no longer means losing your data, the SuperSSpeed it a far more durable and reliable upgrade to a traditional spinning hard drive (HDD).
Why choose SLC? SLC flash chips are rated at 100K Read/Write/Erase Cycles and offer virtually zero distinction between compressible and incompressible data. Conversely, MLC flash is rated at 3-5K read/write/erase cycles and can get quite choked up when incompressible data is tossed at it.
The SuperSSpeed is backward compatible with SATA II applications and supports most major operating systems including Windows XP, Vista, 7, Mac OS10.X, and Linux.
Note: Solid State Drives DO NOT require defragmentation. It may decrease the lifespan of the drive.
About the Controller
Today's award-winning SandForce Driven SSDs are well known for their performance and features. The SandForce SF-2281 the second generation of SandForce SSD Processors - continue accelerating SSD deployment in enthusiast and mainstream client computing platforms. The SF-2281 is an ideal solution for portable storage applications where power consumption, boot-up time, application performance, responsiveness, and small form factor are important. The Client SSD Processors have integrated enhanced DuraClass Technology that is architected to leverage today's densest SLC and MLC NAND flash memory. They deliver best-in-class performance, endurance, security, and power efficiency in a "DRAM-less", single chip solution.
Endurance and Longevity
As the geometries of each generation of flash memory evolves and shrink in order to dramatically lower $/GB, the overall flash endurance is dropping at a very high rate. The 2x/3xnm NAND flash memory has less than 5K P/E cycles. The memory of tomorrow will likely be even lower than that. DuraWrite technology optimizes writes to the flash memory over conventional controllers increasing the overall endurance and reliability of the complete SSD. Highly intelligent block management and wear leveling also extends the overall endurance. With this technology, SSD manufacturers can offer their high volume, client customer’s enterprise class reliability and at least 5-year lifecycles.
Performance and Power Optimization
SSDs greatly outperform traditional HDDs, and in many cases reach the limits of the bus interface. Advanced high speed SATA interfaces have been implemented in newer systems to remove this performance bottleneck. SSDs are perfect to take advantage of that higher speed interface. SandForce SSD Processors deliver performance that maximizes the throughput of a 6 GB/s SATA interface with balanced read/write speeds. In extremely low-power environments, the SF-2281 can tune total SSD power consumption vs. performance by limiting the number of simultaneously active flash devices. It also supports an ultra-low power sleep mode to maximize battery life.
Client Computing Security
Data security is becoming a critical component in the digital age. SandForce SF-2281 SSD Processors feature high-level security protocols to protect the security of data stored in flash memory. DuraClass technology automatically stores data in a highly secure AES-128 hardware encrypted format that double encrypts the data. The SF-2281 SSD Processors also optionally support TCG Opal security requirements. An optional disk-level password can be required prior to system boot adding an extra level of data security assurance for business travelers carrying confidential information.