A lot has changed since the announcement of the Optimus Eco earlier this year. The most notable change is the company supplying it. When we last looked into SMART Storage Systems, they had just finished being acquired by SanDisk. At that point, though, nothing had really changed except for ‘a SanDisk Company’ being added to their name. Many were unsure exactly how the SMART brand would fit into the SanDisk family. With the release of the SanDisk Optimus Eco SAS SSD, with full SanDisk labeling, we have a much clearer picture.
At first it is hard to see where the Optimus Eco fits in with the existing (and now former) SMART SSD lineup. You can think of it as either a lower endurance/performance Optimus or a better performing SAS version of the Cloudspeed 1000E. Either way, that is a good start, considering how well we liked both when we reviewed them. SanDisk describes the Optimus Eco as “Cost-effective flash for read-intensive workloads with excellent performance, endurance and reliability”. One thing we have learned from SSD testing and marketing is that ‘read-intensive’ and ‘endurance’ rarely go together. We will have to see if that statement bears fruit.
The Optimus Eco comes with all of the hardware and firmware goodies that we have come to expect from SanDisk (and previously SMART). As a quick refresher, the Eco gets FlashGuard, a technology that extends the endurance of consumer MLC NAND, DataGuard, which supplies full data path protection against data corruption and finally EverGuard, power loss prevention in the form of discrete capacitors on the PCB.
While IOPS and MB/s almost always headline our reviews, the Optimus Eco’s headlining feature is capacity. At the top end, the Optimus Eco provides 2TB of storage! Just a few years ago that much flash storage was only available on PCIe plug-in cards, costing $10K or more. Considering the 2TB version is only available in a 15mm, 2.5″ form factor, we assume it took two PCBs to accomplish the task.
Now that we have you hooked with 2TB of storage, you probably want to know the price? With a list price of $3999, the 2TB Optimus Eco does not come cheap, but $2/GB is actually a very good price for products in its class.
As we mentioned earlier, the Optimus Eco offers an easy compare to the Optimus and CloudSpeed 1000E products. With random read/write IOPS hitting 90K and 35K, respectively, the Optimus Eco easily bests the 1000E (85/25) while falling short of the Optimus (100/50). Sequential performance is equal on the Optimus Eco and Optimus (500MB/s for reads/writes), easily passing the CloudSpeed’s 450/350MB/s. The Optimus Eco and CloudSpeed are both rated for 3 drive writes per day (DWPD) for random workloads and 7 DWPD for sequential workloads. Both numbers are well short of the 10 DWPD that the Optimus provides for random workloads.
One of the big features of the Optimus Eco is power consumption. It is rated at 7W (typical), the same as the Optimus. For a single drive, it is quite a lot, especially when compared to SATA SSDs that are normally in the 5W range, such as the CloudSpeed. What gives the Eco an advantage is the massive capacities it provides. You would need 2-3 SSDs from other companies to match that capacity, at which point, you would draw much more power.
Finally, the Optimus Eco comes with a 5 year warranty and a 2.5M hour MTBF. The warranty is standard for this class, but the MTBF rating is superb.
We begged and pleaded for a 2TB sample, but had to settle for the 400GB version. While we normally like the largest capacity to show the high-end performance, the Optimus Eco maintains identical performance across capacities.
Our review unit still has labeling from SMART, which will change prior to shipping. One thing that puts an SSD reviewer in a bad mood is a drive that is difficult to get into (Samsung and Seagate, we are looking at you). The SanDisk Optimus Eco doesn’t bother with non-standard screws and press-fit connectors, just 4 normal, non-microscopic screws that you can remove with a standard screwdriver. Thanks SanDisk!
The Optimus Eco drive is equipped with 19 nm MLC NAND from Toshiba. On our 400 GB model, there are 16 NAND chips, each are 32GB for a total of 512GB, There are also 3 Micron DDR3 DRAM chips that give the Optimus Eco a total of 768MB of DRAM. This is above the normal 1 GB of NAND to 1 MB of DRAM ratio that see on other SSDs.
SanDisk went with the Marvell 88SS9185 controller for the Optimus Eco. Even though SanDisk is leveraging the silicon from Marvell, the firmware is all SanDisk.
You can also see the discrete capacitors that are a part of the SanDisk EverGuard technology that provide data protection in the even of interrupted power.