Our SSD analysis this week displays only the second consumer available SSD to hit the streets with eMLC 10,000 P/E rated memory.
The KingSpec Challenger E3000s SSD is enterprise grade, LSI SandForce Driven, and relies on Intel eMLC memory. Unlike other SSDs tested to date, the E3000s was able to provide great low 4K random write performance of 112MB/s, surpassing that 100MB/s 4k random write plateau that has eluded so many others.
THE KINGSPEC STORY
KingSpec is an ‘SSD and SSD only company’ that has been in business since 1995 and is located in Shenzhen, China. KingSpec has 1200 employees and is situated within a 15000 square foot facility and, if you might believe it, is capable of producing 3 million SSDs per month.
As much as we might tend to believe that this type of operation would be more concerned with volume than quality, we were set straight when we took a good look at this web page dedicated to their certifications which include REACH, ISO, CE FCC and RoHS. Not only does it speak to each certification, but also, each is fully available for examination by the reader and includes specifics of the accreditation, many that describe SSD build quality measures specifically. We found this accreditation, particularly interesting.
The KingSpec E3000s is available in capacities of 60, 120, 240 and 480GB and all contain a standard KingSpec two year warranty. KingSpec lists different performance specifications for each capacity which is a bit unusual for LSI SandForce Driven SSDs, however, the performance listed for our 240GB capacity is 500MB/s read and 480MB/s write with a high of 50,000 IOPS. We are confident in stating that all capacities will exhibit much the same performance, as with all LSI SandForce based SSDs, and KingSpec specifications are a bit conservative. Typically, we might see specifications of 550MB/s read and 520MB/s write with about 80,000 IOPS.
Ther exterior packaging for the KingSpec E300s SSD is a simply white and red cardboard box with little information. If KingSpec were to ever approach retail brick and motor store sales, we might suggest consideration of such things as performance, warranty, compatibility and other positive attributes to fill all that white space. Inside, we find only the KingSpec E3000s Challenger Series 240GB SSD.
BUILD AND COMPONENTS
The KingSpec E3000s SSD exterior casing is of a two piece smooth black aluminum with rounded silver edging and is only 7mm thick for use in ultra style laptops. It is secured by four screws on the bottom of the SSD, one of which is covered by a quality inspection sticker that also acts as security tape. Any damage to this whatsoever would void the warranty.
Inside the casing lie a black printed circuit board (PCB) which contains a LSI SandForce SF-2281 flash storage processor (FSP) and sixteen modules of Intel enterprise grade 25nm 16GB MLC NAND flash memory. Special attention must be given to this memory as we have only seen it once prior in a consumer SSD, this being the PNY Prevail Elite that we reviewed a short time ago.
Click on any of our pictures or charts for a higher resolution image.
This memory has a product number of 29F16B16MCME1 and has a program and erase rating of 10,000 cycles. To keep this simple, this means that each memory module can be written to and erased 10,000 times and, as garbage collection ensures that all memory wears equally, it quantifies this as meaning the number of times the SSD can be written to.
In today’s world, SSDs are now typically being manufactured with memory capable of 3,000 program and erase cycles. If we used the basic calculation of (GB x P/E)/GB Written Daily, this would mean our 240GB SSD would last us 48000 days or 131.5 years if 50GB was written to it daily. If, on the other hand, the manufacturer had used 3,000 P/E memory, it would only rate at 14400 days or 39.45 years.
Now we can consider that there probably isn’t a consumer alive that is pushing 50GB through that SSD every day, just as there isn’t likely to be a consumer using the same storage medium for 40 years. Realistically, the importance of eMLC memory endurance is only the concern of the enterprise environment where we might see much higher volumes of data pushed through this SSD daily.
CAVEAT: The use of this formula, as stated, is very basic and does not include such things as over provisioning, write speed and write amplification. We are also NOT stating that any SSD will last 133 years, but rather, providing a time related example that displays how this SSD can last more than three times longer than same with 3,000 P/E memory.
Why is it that the majority of “Enterprise” SSDs are only available SATA interfaces and not SAS?
It is a combination of the fact that SATA is more common and, with respect to enterprise, there are much fewer SAS SSDs to be tested. We can compound this even further with the fact that these drives usually value considerably higher and many companies have yet to rely on such testing by SSD review sites.
This is correct. Just like PNY there will be shallow support for firmware and they will never get on the LSI supported drive list. If you are not on the LSI or Adaptec supported list, the first answer from support will be – you are not using a supported drive. End of support. The PNY Prevail reviewed here, I had to return due to ghetto wire (patch wires) which is pretty scary. I can only hope this company will update their firmware and fix the bugs quickly. PNY did not and was an epic fail.
Also remember Mixing sata and sas will result in SAS dropping its LVD voltage down to SATA levels causing less stability. This is why many companies still use interposers so you do not have the STP protocol overhead and SATA voltage levels. LSI controllers let you mix sata and sas withing a raid-set. I have found that many oem’s have problems with generic sata drives but not their own custom firmware drives.
LSI based cards, say PERC H700 with samsung 840 pro – have problems with drives dropping? I’ll tell you exactly why. The 830 ignored the SAS commands that dell added to their samsung drives. The 840 pro resets and is marked for failure.
You really need to be careful when you mix consumer chipsets and try to use them with enterprise controllers.
That’s not entirely correct. All SF SSDs are on the supported drive list and FW is forwarded as validated. PNY is up to date and had to wait for exactly that.
Thanks for the input!
gotta love the black pcb 😀
Awesome the black PCB and the 10 000 times P/E nand chip