We've looked at many SSDs here, and they've mostly been implementations of the popular SandForce NAND controller. While this isn't a bad thing, as the performance offered by those drives have been good, it's good to see more competition in the growing SSD market. The last generation of drives we looked at from OCZ fit this mould. The Vertex 3 series SSDs used the SF-2280 series of controllers, but with the Vertex 4 series, OCZ chose to go with something different. Fresh off aquisition of Indilinx, the Vertex 4 uses the Everest 2 controller. We'll see how it performs and if it's a worthy successor in OCZ's Vertex series.
Over the past year, the SSD product landscape has changed drastically. Performance has gone up, prices have dropped, and new competitors have emerged in the market place. One company that has been around through this and more is Samsung. While it's not the biggest consumer brand for SSDs, Samsung has a big presence in the industry. As a long term supplier of SSDs to Apple, Dell, and HP; Samsung has had a lot of experience building and designing SSDs. Today we'll be looking at one of Samsung's consumer oriented SSDs, the 256GB 830 series, to see how it compares.
Hot on the heels of our last series of SSD reviews, we're featuring another mini-roundup. This time, we're looking at four drives in the 120-128GB capacity range. Focusing on performance on both the PC and Mac platforms, we have SSDs from Crucial, Kingston, OCZ and Other World Computing. While the first three names are well known in the computer hardware industry, the last has had a long history in the Mac oriented hardware upgrade market.
While SSDs make for extremely attractive purchases from a performance point of view, they can be relatively pricy, especially when compared to the cost-per-gigabyte of traditional hard drives. The capacity of entry level SSDs in the lower price range are also mostly made up of 60-64GB, which are too small to use as an application and OS drive for many users. So while we're in this transitional phase, a new class of interim devices have cropped up in the market, solid state cache drives. These solutions pair up small solid state drives with caching software, and provides users with the performance benefit of an SSD while maintaining the capacity of a hard drive. Today, we're looking at Crucial's solid state cache drive, the Adrenaline. It combine
In our past SSD articles, we've focused a great deal on SSDs targeting the high end enthusiast market. It's no doubt that they're speed demons, but as we all know, in the computer hardware market you pay premiums for things like higher capacity and top end performance.
Today we're going to the opposite end of the spectrum as far as SSDs go. Most of our readers are familiar with the OCZ Technology, a company with beginnings in the DRAM market, but a name now synonymous with power supplies and solid state drives. In the world of solid state drives, OCZ covers the whole spectrum including products targetting the enterprise market and performance enthusiasts. The product we'll be examining is one of their entry level mainstream products, the Synapse Cache solid state drive.
What makes this product interesting is it's paired with a piece of software from NVELO called Dataplex. When combining OCZ's Synapse Cache drive with Dataplex, the idea is that users will get to experience the performance benefits of a pure SSD while enjoying the storage capacity of an existing hard drive. Dataplex monitors a user's behaviour and caches frequently used data on the Synapse SSD so that it's available for quick access.
In our last SSD roundup, we took a look at a variety of drives with different controllers and NAND configurations. We found that those two factors make up a big part in dictating how a drive will perform. The drive that we're reviewing today, OCZ's 240GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS SSD, has a controller and NAND configuration that we haven't examined before, so it will be interesting to see how it compares. Positioned up-market compared to the Vertex 3 that was awarded our Editor's Choice award in our SSD Roundup, we'll see what the Max IOPS variant brings to the table.
In continuing our series of SSD reviews, we're looking at a drive from Corsair, the 180GB Force Series GT. As our last reviews were of drives in the 240-256GB range, we asked Corsair for some of their drives in the same range. But alas, their marketing team didn't have any in stock, but they did have a 180GB drive available for us to test. Knowing that performance of 120GB SSDs generally fall behind that of their 240GB brethren due to NAND configuration, I was skeptical towards the level of performance that this 180GB drive could push out. But as this drive was from Corsair's fastest line of SSDs, Force GT, I decided to give it a chance ...and I ended up being surprised.
RunCore isn't a brand that's well known in North America, but they happen to be the largest SSD manufacturer in China. Not only that, but its consumer oriented products only make up a fraction of its SSD product portfolio. The rest of the products offered by RunCore are oriented towards enterprise, industrial and military applications. It's in this focus that many of RunCore's drives are ruggedized, including its consumer oriented drives. Today we'll be looking at a drive from RunCore's brand new flag ship series, Pro V Max, which is replacing the Pro V series as RunCore's fastest consumer level drives.
The main point of evolution between the original Pro V and the Max is referred to as a Golden Firmware. Comparing the specifications of the two drives, the two differing details surround the read speeds of the drives. The Max increases the maximum read speed by 10MB/s to 560MB/s, and 4K IOPS read from 40000 to 50000. We'll see if this Golden Firmware is as good as its name implies.