Todays review is going to take a look at a SandForce controlled SSD which is being sold by a UK based company who are hoping to push low SSD prices in worldwide sales.
The SSD itself is ‘SandForce Driven’, assembled and shipped from the USA for North American sales.
In fact, our sample SSD shipped with 32Gb Toshiba NAND flash modules that we hadn’t seen in any SSDs sent our way as of yet.
A BIT ABOUT FUTURE STORAGE
Future Storage Ltd is a UK based company that has been incorporated since 2002 and have sold solid state drives since their first release in 2007. Not unlike OWC, Future Storage has elected to manufacture its own brand of SSDs and has even expanded to another website called Solid State Disk Shop in order to provide affordable sales of their own brand, and many others, worldwide. Understanding that SSD prices can demand incredible premiums in some countries, this just may be an idea soon to catch on.
The site displays Future Storage SSDs as ranging in capacity from 40GB to 480GB and available in SATA 2 or 3. SSDs are also available in the enthusiast version with Toshiba Toggle Mode flash NAND memory or the value conscious version where asynchronous memory is used. Specifications describe our 240GB sample SSD as being capable of 550MB/s read and 530MB/s write with 60,000 IOPS at 4k aligned random write disk access. We will bet that the IOPS listed are a bit conservative as we have seen twins of this drive pushing over 80,000 IOPS with SandForces latest firmware version 3.1.9.
At the heart of the Future Storage SSD is the SandForce SF-2281 6Gbps controller which is capable of equal read and write performance in excess of 500MB/s. The SSD contains 8 modules of Toshiba 32nm toggle NAND flash memory (TH58TAG802FBA89) which we haven’t seen in our reviews as of yet but know that it has been utilized by Patriot in their 240GB Wildfire SSD.
Although total capacity ( 32 x 8 ) of this drive totals 256GB RAW capacity, 16GB is utilized for over provisioning and SandForces firmware which reduces it to its advertised capacity of 240GB. Formatting cuts off a bit more and leaves the consumer with a total available capacity of 224GB.
BENCHMARK PROTOCOL AND THE TEST BENCH
A simple click will enlarge it to assist.
Our main goal in testing is to ensure that all test results are as accurate as they can be and no anomalies slip through.
We conduct all tests three times and, if necessary, we may conduct specific tests in Windows 7 safe mode to ensure the OS has little to no influence on the end result.
We prefer to use several industry supported benchmark programs in order to provide validation and confirmation of results. We also prefer to provide the reader with the actual tests as received to avoid any confusion when unexpected test benchmarks are received.
SSD COMPRESSION AND TESTING FLUCTUATIONS
All SSDs are not created equal and many new SSD enthusiasts realize that when they test their new drive to confirm specifications and ensure all is in order. SandForce controlled SSDs, as in the Future Storage 240GB SSD we are testing today, use compression techniques in storage whereas many others do not. This creates a bit of confusion when enthusiasts test the drive with random data through benchmarking programs such as AS SSD and Crystal Diskmark (random data sample). The results seem to be lower than the listed specifications.
The results actually present a false portrayal of the drives ability when compared to other drives such as the Samsung 470 Series and Crucial M4 SSDs that we have reviewed previously. It is for this reason that all of our comparison testing is done through PCMark Vantage. PCMark Vantage HDD Suite simply provides evaluation results based on transfer speeds reached through typical user patterns. Vantage provides a better testing medium, in that, it sees through the typical synthetic benchmarks and provides us with true to life results of the drive.
Software used for testing by The SSD Review consists of Crystal DiskMark, ATTO Benchmark, Anvil Storage Utilities along with FutureMark PCMark Vantage.
All do a great job of showing us the numbers that we want to see, or dont want to see in some cases, while PCMark Vantage x64 is an excellent program which recreates tests that mimic the average users activity, all the while providing a medium to measure each.