ACER S7 STORAGE COMPONENTS
The Acer S7 ultrabook contains one of the most interesting introductions into the SSD arena for some time as it is brand new and, to our knowledge, not planned for use in any other release, inside or outside of Acer. The result of this is the most powerful stock system marketed to date, when considering storage performance, whether it be in any desktop, laptop, notebook or ultrabook. We are certain that nobody, even Acer, realized that they would be marketing the worlds smallest and most powerful ultrabook to date, capable of transfer speeds up to 1GB/s.
Prior to this report, the word on the street was that the Acer S7 contains two SSDs that are configured in a RAID configuration. This is incorrect and there is only one SSD printed circuit board present in the Acer S7 and, to our knowledge, there is no replacement available for this new form factor SSD but through Acer itself. We don’t think the SSD can simply be upgraded with a higher capacity and have sent in note to Acer for confirmation.
The Acer S7 contains a new form factor SSD (not the NGFF version) which is an mSATA SSD containing two separate SSDs on the one PCB board. Unlike all other SSDs on the market, the interface pins are split and feed into a custom connector that recognizes both SSDs seperately as being 128GB solid state drives.
From there, both SSDs are configured as an Intel RAID 0 configuration which provides a 256GB capacity and performance of close to 1GB/s as we will later see. As beneficial as this performance is in such a configuration, loss of either of the SSDs would destroy the RAID configuration, along with all information stored on both SSDs. Let’s take a look at the SSDs:
Both side of the PCB are identical and, for the first time that we are aware of, this PCB contains two SSD controllers. On each side, we find a Marvell 889175 four channel controller and two modules of Toshiba 24nm Toggle Mode NAND flash memory (TH58TEG9D2HBA89) , each of which contains a capacity of 64GB. We have seen this exact memory previously in our Mushkin Atlas 240GB SSD Review. We can also find a Winbond I/O controller on either side of the PCB and, once RAIDED and formatted, the total available user capacity is 226GB.
PERFORMANCE TESTING AND SOFTWARE
Our performance evaluations of the Acer S7 ultrabook are contained to the storage performance alone. Many are not aware that in todays system purchases, the most visible performance upgrade one will be able to visibly observe does not come from the CPU, memory or even graphics card chosen, but rather, it comes from the upgrade from a hard drive to an SSD.
The Acer S7 contains a very unique SSD which, like most other systems, cannot simply be removed, attached to an external adapter, reset and formatted, and then tested. It must be tested within the system and, as such, the SSD we are testing has 0ver 25 hours of use and 569GB NAND writes and performance is definitely not expected to match that of a new system.