TCS Proteus Plus 256GB Military/Industrial Ruggedized SSD Review


TCS’s offerings are each almost (to completely) custom products. If you need a special type of solid state storage, TCS can and will build if for you if you like. But even if you go with an off the rack product like the Proteus or Galatea, there are still plenty of custom options. Ours is lacking most of them, mostly for our sake, as many of the options available make it difficult to get the drive apart. In a production drive, every one of the myriad screws would be thread locked.

To achieve the goal of creating a hardened, robust storage device, TCS has outfitted their drives with finely milled and machined chassis.

With the chassis screws removed, the bottom plate will come right off. The casing is a work of art, the machined aluminum giving the drive a high quality feel. The Proteus’s heft is betrayed by the light alloy and lack of tantalum capacitors, so it doesn’t quite have the heft of the Galatea.


 The channels along the main chassis member can be filled with gel if needed, though some applications need no case at all. In those applications, a epoxy coating can be applied to the entire PCB (though, you can this as an option as well). This can reduce corrosion from saltwater in naval scenarios.

If you notice the pins along the aft, those are GPIO (general purpose IO) headers. We’ll go into more detail later, as it’s one of the defining characteristics of the Plus.



Eight packages of 128gbit Micron 25nm 29F128G08AJAAA SLC NAND flash memory are placed on each side for a total capacity of 256GB. Interestingly, the AJAAA flash is asynchronous.


The Indilinx Barefoot controller and 64MB Samsung DDR cache are under filled for greater vibration and shock resistance. You can see the teal colored under fill surrounding them. While it may seem strange that anyone would use a controller from 2009 in a drive from 2012, the Barefoot is no longer a mystery. It’s been poked, prodded, and has a long enough track record to serve these types of roles. The Indilinx Cognac FW is brought along as well, in a custom version which supports secure erasure. Unlike the first generation SandForce used in the Galatea, there is no encryption or power loss protection.

blankOne possible issue with the Indilinx Barefoot and Cognac firmware is write amplification. Most of these drives won’t be living it up in Windows 7 rigs, but will be inside radar consoles, UAVs, tanks, or anywhere else you could imagine, whether industrial or military. Many of those applications will not have the advantage of being 4K aligned either.Modern OSs will do this automatically, and write amplification is greatly reduced because of it.

If a system doesn’t have TRIM and/or is sector-boundary aligned, WA will be much greater than that of an ordinary Windows 7 laptop, even if the workload is comparable. This is just one more reason why SLC is the only choice that makes sense here. The light workload combined with SLC renders the WA problem null and void for the most part.



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    Interesting. I’m curious as to why these ‘military’ units aren’t moistureproofed and dustproofed. There’s a gap at the SATA connector that would let in either.

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    TCS offers several options to improve resistance to moisture and dust. We offer conformal coating of the PCB with either silicone, urethane or Parylene coating. We also offer a sillicone gel fill of the entire SSD, which makes the unit waterproof. We often demonstrate such a drive sitting in a fish tank at tradeshows. The gaps you note around the connector are filled with RTV before the “tub” is filled with the gel.
    The gel is not removable, so as Christopher notes it would have interfered with their abillity to review the drive.

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      Christopher Ryan

      If the Proteus Plus had been fully optioned out, I wouldn’t have been able to get the drive apart without an anvil, crowbar, blowtorch, and probably a shotgun.

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    Um, “as it’s SATA II interface “. It’s = it is. Please take the time to get basic apostrophe usage right. No matter how thorough your review might be, if you get basic English like this wrong, it makes me wonder what else you overlooked.

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    Indilinx eh? Is that the Barefoot 3 or something more ominous. lol

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