BIWIN S836 Elite SATA 3 120GB SSD Review – Top Vantage Performance Achieved

This report is an analysis of the newly released BIWIN S836 Elite SATA 3 120GB SSD and if you haven’t heard of BIWIN prior to this report,  you wouldn’t be the first as we learned of them only a few weeks ago while at CeBIT 2012 in Germany.

In fact, we had every intention of introducing BIWIN to North America as the ‘new kid on the block’, at least up until we learned that BIWIN had already shipped over one hundred million (100,000,000) flash storage devices worldwide as of the date of this report.

For those that haven’t been to CeBIT, it is a bit different than CES Las Vegas as the language barrier can become prevalent when meeting many companies for the first time.  In fact, we can probably attribute this review to just that as we had published a CeBIT update on BIWIN which stated that they were ‘considering’ a US presence.

It wasn’t twenty four hours after that article that Joe James, BIWINs Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, contacted us to let us know that BIWIN America was operational and their retail SSDs were available to the North American Consumer.  In fact, he asked if they could get an SSD off to us ASAP, hence today’s report.


BIWIN markets three families of SSDs under the names of the Smart, Pro and Elite Series.  While the Smart series contains a JMicron controller, the Pro and Elite rely on SandForce with the Pro containing the SF-1222 SATA 2 processor and the Elite containing the SF-2281 SATA 3 processor.  The Elite series that we are reviewing today is available in 60, 120, 240 and 480GB capacities and performance is listed at 550MB/s read and 520MB/s write with 65,000 IOPS at 4k aligned random write disk access.

The Elite has AES 256-Bit encryption, supports TRIM, and is available in all capacities with either mlc synchronous or asynchronous NAND flash memory, depending on the model number purchased.  NewEgg has many newly listed BIWIN models, with the 120GB variant that we are reviewing shown at an encouraging price of $169.99, however stock is not present just yet.


The S836 Elite SSD is protected by a flat black metal casing with a matching base plate secured by four torx security screws.  I have to admit that I was impressed with the simplicity of the design which carried into the look of the matching black printed circuit board, that of which I hadn’t seen with any SSD prior.

The heart and soul of the Elite series is the SandForce SF-2281 processor which is joined by 16 pieces of Intel 25nm synchronous NAND flash memory (29F64G08ACME3), each being 8GB in capacity for a total RAW capacity of 128GB.

An 8GB module remains proprietary for over provisioning and firmware needs and the formatted capacity leaves the consumer with 112GB of available storage.