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


ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.

Initial ATTO results of 556MB/s read and 532MB/s write are an excellent start and surpass the listed specifications of 510MB/s read and 470MB/s write by a margin.  We have tested one other SSD which relied on Hynix memory and, if we look back at that review of the Silicon Power Velox V20, we can see that  testing with incompressible data that will have to be watched closely.


Crystal Disk Benchmark is used to measure read and write performance through sampling of raw (0/1 Fill/compressible) or random data which is, for the most part, incompressible. Many new ‘SandForce Driven’ SSD owners who can’t wait to test the performance of their SSD often grab this program and run a quick test, not realizing that they are testing with incompressible data rather than compressible data used in testing by manufacturers.  We have provided compressible (oFill) results on the left with incompressible (random data) results on the right.

blankblankRecognizing that Hynix memory is in use becomes evident when we compare our testing with compressible data (left) to that of highly incompressible data (right).  To simplify this, highly compressible data is representative of your operating system files and software applications where incompressible data is representative of music, videos and photographs.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will observe any difference in the viewing of media because that is not the case.  We are looking at maximum transfer speeds and, when the incompressible transfer results are a bit lower, as in the case of the Strontium Hawk, this simply means that transferring highly incompressible data might take a bit longer.  The normal user will not observe any difference in any SSD on the market, in fact.  It is the enthusiasts and those who have specific tasks that might concern themselves with such.


Up until recently, AS SSD was the only benchmark created specifically for SSD testing and it uses incompressible data.  AS SSD, for the most part, gives us the ‘worst case scenario’ in SSD transfer speeds because of its use of incompressible data and many enthusiasts like to AS SSD for their needs. Transfer speeds are displayed on the left with IOPS results on the right.

blankblankIn AS SSD, we get a better look at testing with incompressible data, and also, a first look at IOPS performance.  Once again, we can see that the initial specifications were rather conservative as 56425 IOPS exceeds specs.  Another very nice indicator of performance was the AS SSD Copy Bench result:



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    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.

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

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