Silicon Motion SM2256 Controller with Samsung TLC NAND Review


As this is a prototype test from a controller manufacturer, rather than a complete SSD product, our review sample came in a 9.5mm shell the base of the shell not included.  This later proved to be a possible issue during our grueling PCMark 8 consistency testing. Without proper heat dissipation to the shell, the controller ramped up to 70C which seemed to be a max temperature and possibly a throttling point, thus our results may not reflect the full performance.  With this in mind, it still did pretty darn well as you will soon find out.

Silicon Motion SM2256 FrontSilicon Motion SM2256 Back

Looking at the PCB we can see the NAND placement design, this PCB allowing for up to 16 NAND chips and up to 2 DRAM chips.

Samsung TLC 3D V-NANDAs mentioned earlier, our sample has Samsung’s 19nm TLC planar NAND flash, this model specifically has 4 chips which are 64GB in capacity each for a total capacity of 256GB. This SSD has a user defined capacity of 240GB as there is over provisioning enabled out of box. Once formatted the SSD’s usable capacity is 223GB.

Silicon Motion SM2256 SK HYNIX

This SSD is also utilizing a SK Hynix 440Mhz 256MB DDR3 DRAM chip.


SSD testing at TSSDR differs slightly, depending on whether we are looking at consumer or enterprise SSDs.  For consumer SSDs, our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide. To see the best performance possible the CPU C states have been disabled, C1E support has been disabled, Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology (EIST) has been disabled. Benchmarks for consumer testing are also benchmarks with a fresh drive so, not only can we verify that manufacturer specifications are in line but also, so the consumer can replicate our tests to confirm that they have an SSD that is top-notch.  We even provide links to most of the benchmarks used in the report.

Sean Webster Test Bench Z97 Water 3.0


This Test Bench build was the result of some great relationships and purchase; our appreciation goes to those who jumped in specifically to help the cause.  Key contributors to this build are our friends at ASRock for the motherboard and CPU and be quiet! for the PSU and cooling fans. Also, a big thank you to Thermaltake for the case and Kingston for the RAM. We have detailed all components in the table below and they are all linked should you wish to make a duplicate of our system as so many seem to do, or check out the price of any single component.  As always, we appreciate your support in any purchase through our links!

PC CHASSIS: Thermaltake Urban T81
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock Z97 Extreme6
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K
CPU COOLER: Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate
POWER SUPPLY: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W
SYSTEM COOLING: be quiet! Silent Wings 2
MEMORY: Kingston HyperX Beast 2400Mhz
STORAGE: Samsung 850 Pro


The software we will be using for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Info, Crystal Disk Mark, AS SSD, Anvil’s Storage Utilities, PCMark Vantage, PCMark 8, and HD Tune Pro. We prefer to test with easily accessible software that the consumer can obtain, and in many cases, we even provide links. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and to provide validation to results already obtained.


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    > You can see that the write performance drops off soon after the 12GB mark and fluctuates between 25MB/s and 125MB/s.

    Wow, thats really bad for a 256GB drive. I mean, even the first generation 840 had write speeds around 250MB/s.

    Either Samsung is pulling some wizardry with their controller/firmware (on sustained write, no slc) or this is just a very poorly binned TLC.

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    Have you notice the samsung sticker is warped and cooking off? I’m not aware of any Samsung chips that uses sticker as its label, actually, I don’t know ONE proper semiconductor company that does that.

    The wording underneath the sticker says FORSEE, and that’s the trademark from another company:

    So, what the heck are we testing anyways?

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      I’m gussing foresee is packaging the nand (but bare dies are still from samsung) and building/assambling the board.

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        If that’s the case, samsung will NOT allow them to mark it as Samsung, because it is NOT packaged and tested by them. Most likely they are unknown flash chip that were rejected as second or third grade stuff, sold as unmarked chip or bare die.

        Most of the time those goes into no-name SSD or USB flash drive. Do you see a lot of the cheaper SSD have chips that is almost completely blank? Bingo!

        I know because RAM is exactly like that, and I used to help a friend with his RAM wholesale business.

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      Good job, reading between the lines! Did anyone else notice the FORSEE?

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    With the rise of TLC nand will come more unreliable SSDs that will expire faster. MLCs and even SLCs could have been made more affordable but the major manufacturers fking blew it. Goodbye SSD. Welcome back HDD.

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