This SSD report is our first of the New Year and examines the Super Talent Tera Nova 120GB SATA 3 SSD that was announced this past December.
The Tera Nova is touted by Super Talent as being their fastest yet and aimed at the Pro/enthusiast market with new SandForce ‘optimized’ firmware. This firmware (334ABBF0) provides for better boot times and responsiveness as well as enhanced reliability and data protection in the event of power loss.
As coincidence may have it, our last Super Talent review was on the TeraDrive CT3 in September 2011 and these SSDs seemed very similar in appearance so we had to quickly open the Tera Nova up for a look.
What we found was the exact same PCB as the CT3 to include the SandForce SF-2281 processor and 16 modules of Micron 25nm 8GB capacity asynchronous NAND flash memory. Click on the picture for some great close ups!
From there, we took a quick look at the SuperTalent Tera Nova Data Sheet and saw that listed specifications for this drive were 540 MB/s read and 510MB/s write transfer speeds at high sequential disk access. These transfer speeds will change slightly depending on the capacity of the Tera Nova SSD which is available in 60, 120. 240 and 480GB sizes with pricing not yet announced.
BENCHMARK PROTOCOL AND THE 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.
Software used for testing by The SSD Review consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal DiskMark, 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.
Benchmark software used by The SSD Review can be obtained by clicking on the title of each application as all may be downloaded without cost to the consumer.
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 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.