Strontium Hawk 120GB SSD Review – Exclusive Testing of SK Hynix First SSD Release

TEST BENCH AND PROTOCOL

Our analysis today will be conducted with our Asus Z77 Premium Test Bench.

In testing, our main objective is to obtain results as pure and as accurate as possible and we want to ensure that no anomalies slip through. Simply put, we want to provide you with the absolute best results the tested hardware can provide. Repetition in testing is standard 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.

In order to validate and confirm our findings, testing is supported by industry accepted benchmark programs. All results are displayed through capture of the actual benchmark for better understanding of the testing process by the reader.

We would like to thank ASUS (P8Z77-V Premium), Intel (Core i7-3770K), Crucial (Ballistix), Corsair (H100) and Be Quiet (PSU/Fans) for supporting the build of our Z77 Premium Test Bench.

BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

The software we will be using for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal DiskMark, AS SSD, Anvil Storage Utilities and PCMark Vantage.  We rely on these as they each have a way of supporting one another yet, at the same time, adding a new performance benchmark to the total picture.  Much of the software is free and can be downloaded simply by clicking on the linked title.

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 Strontium Hawk 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. 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 Samsung, Crucial or Intel. 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.

CRYSTAL DISK INFO VER 3.9.3

Crystal Disk Info provides some excellent information about the SSD itself to include its health, product information, ‘power on’ information as well as the characteristics of the SSD. We can see that the SSD is capable of TRIM as it is not greyed out as with AAM.

Our testing of the Strontium Hawk was actually conducted with the original firmware, as shown here, and their newest release which is the SF 5.04 update.  There were no observed performance differences between the two, however, the newest version of SandForces firmware ensure TRIM functions at full capability.  Strontium has confirmed that all SSDs will be shipped with the latest FW release.

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pcuser
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pcuser

SK Hynix has been selling their 910 series with SF2281 in South Korea since June.
So far only 128GB is available for 119,000 KW($105US) incl VAT.The 256GB is listed but not priced.
http://blog.danawa.com/prod/?section_m=PC&prod_c=1715676&cate_c1=861&cate_c2=32617&cate_c3=32623&cate_c4=0

pcuser
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Les@TheSSDReview
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Nice Find and very interesting. Although we have hummed and hawed and elected NOT to alter CPU settings as a trade off for better performance, we are actually considering following this model where it might accompany regular testing with a valid explanation.

This seems to follow what we have done in our SSD Optimization Guide where the explanation and instruction is provided and the consumer is left to the final decision as to whether they would want to perform this Optimization.

Eric
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Eric

So does this mean that disabling power optimizations in BIOS can help boost SSD performance?

Les@TheSSDReview
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Significantly yes…but at the trade off of no power efficiency and, for overclockers, a few other temperature concerns which dont apply at all to the common user.

Andries Kuipers
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Andries Kuipers

I couldn’t help laughing when I heard that brand name Strontium, which means something like ‘Shitty’ in Dutch…