Some time ago, Silicon Motion had sent us a new SSD controller they were working on a prototype SSD for review. The SM2246EN controller that we looked at was a four channel SATA 3 controller, capable of 510MB/s read and 410MB/s write with up to 80K IOPS, also capable of 256-Bit AES encryption. Up until this report, that was as close as that controller had gotten to the retail market.
Our report today looks at a brand new release in the PNY Optima, the Optima being the first SSD to contain the Silicon Motion SM2246EN SATA 3 controller that we are aware of. Just to give you a bit of a heads up, the Optima is trying to win the race of performance with this entry, but it has a price that is truly hard to beat.
WHAT IS A SOLID STATE DRIVE?
If you have never heard of a solid state drive before, or an SSD, then you may be in for shock as to how much time you have wasted waiting on your computer’s hard drive. To briefly explain, a solid state drive is a storage device that is found within your computer and will hold all of your data, including your operating system, pictures, videos and documents. The largest difference between your hard drive and a SSD is the fact that SSD’s increase your system’s speed immensely, never mind that they also come with a bunch of other features that make them far superior to that of a hard drive. If you are interested in learning more, then we encourage you to take a look at our ‘Learning To Run With Flash’ series.
PNY OPTIMA SSD SPECIFICATIONS
The PNY Optima is available in capacities of 120, 240 and 480GB and is listed at speeds of up to 510MB/s read and 315MB/s write with 65K IOPS read and 50K IOPS write. We understand that the controller is capable of 256-Bit AES encryption, however, that feature has not been included with this SSD to ensure maximum value. Along with this, PNY includes a 1 year warranty.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
PNY has the OPTIMA SSD SERIES pricing listed on their website, with the 120 GB costing $139.00, 240 GB at $269.00 and the 480 GB at 539.00, however, a quick look at Amazon shows that the pricing on the 240GB capacity comes in around $110, which is a pretty stellar price for an easy upgrade to your system. A price that low brings this SSD to roughly $0.45 per GB, which just makes choosing this SSD over the rest that much easier.
PNY OPTIMA SSD COMPONENTS
The PNY OPTIMA’s packaging matches the overall concept of the drive, budget friendly. The package is extremely simple and inside you find not only the SSD, but also a 2.5mm spacer. The front featuring a quick display of the SSD, and a back that breaks down the specifications of the drive.
When taking a closer look at the PCB, we can see that the solid state drive features sixteen of Micron’s 20nm MLC NAND memory modules, eight on either side of the board. When we plug Micron’s shortened code into their FBGA Decoder, we can see that this is the MT29F128G08CBCABH6 module. With a total capacity of 240GB, each NAND module would then feature 16 GB of storage.
This is our first look at the Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller that, unfortunately due to the heat compound, is very difficult to capture in an image. Above our controller we can also see the NANYA DRAM module.