Marketing of PCI Express SSDs has always been somewhat tricky as the fine balance between performance and value wasn’t much of a balance at all; performance being the obvious strongpoint of these cards. The difficulty in manufacturing a consumer directed PCIe SSD, that can promise value, has most likely been the reason all haven’t jumped aboard the ‘PCI Express’.
VisionTek saw this opportunity and have come up with the Data Fusion PCIe SSD, a PCIe card that they believe is the perfect balance of both speed and pricing. A quick look at VisionTek Data Fusion PCIe SSD prices definitely opened our eyes.
DATA FUSION SPECIFICATIONS
The VisionTek Data Fusion PCIe SSD is a half height half length (HHHL) PCIe x2 solution that is ‘SandForce Driven’ and available in capacities of 240, 480 and 960GB. This PCIe card has a 3 year warranty, is widely available and speaks to performance of 825MB/s read and 800MB/s write with up to 100K random write IOPS at low 4K write aligned disk access.
Power consumption is as expected from a PCIe solution with up to 4W idle and 9W active, however, the price of the Data Fusion is anything but typical. A check of Amazon shows the Data Fusion at $423 for the 240GB, $549 for the 480GB and $1099 for the 960GB capacity. This is the lowest price we have seen for a product of this build to date.
DATA FUSION COMPONENTS
As mentioned, the VisionTek Data Fusion is a ‘SandForce Driven’ solution and utilizes 2 x SF-2281 flash controllers, both being the newly released ‘Rev B’ version. Both are in a RAID 0 configuration and controlled by a Marvell 9200 Series RAID controller that, to be quite honest, isn’t really our favorite.
We believe the performance of both drives should hit the 1GB/s mark but is limited by the RAID controller, however, this is a value driven chip and has also been seen in our review of the Mach Xtreme MX Express, as well as the ASUS RAIDR PCIe SSD. Coincidentally, all three drives speak to the same performance.
Pictured above, the RAID controller is covered by a black heat sink and both SSDs are blade style SSDs, each containing the SF-2281 controller and eight pieces of non-branded 19mm Micron asynchronous MLC NAND flash memory.
Considering that this is a 480GB SSD and there are 16 memory modules, each would be 32GB in size for a total RAW capacity of 512GB. As 7% is set aside for over provisioning and other firmware needs, the advertised capacity is 480GB. Once formatted, this size is reduced even further, providing the consumer with 447 of available space to work with.
Another quality of Visiontek that we thought worth mentioning is that of their customer support. Although the product warranty is only three years, Visiontek has gone that extra bit and offers lifetime US-based tech support, which for many others, is only available through a paid premium.
Interesting review, Les. Thanks 🙂
Always wanted one (SSD) since the came out, but having quite an old mobo (X38 chipset with SATA2) I’m wondering why they (manufacturers) don’t make PCIe solutions, I.e. Samsung 840 Pro PCIe model, not SATA. And I mean an SSD without any RAID or other extra controller, just plain 840 unit with PCIe connection. Why these are so difficult to make? Do they need to re-done their processor from the ground to make it compatible with PCIe?
Keep it up!
These PCIe SSD’s are actually adapters with raid controllers that use m.2 form factor “blades”.
I’m wondering if it is possible to insert other m.2 chips into the provided slots, or if it is only the provided chips. There are 840 m.2’s, just FYI.
Seems from an end user/enthusiast that it’s not worth it. For cheaper you can buy two 250GB drives and run them in RAID 0 and get better results. Even today Newegg has the 240GB Seagate 600 on sale for $130.
Your comparing prices on Black Friday? You are right that, if you want to tie up both Intel ports, you can do much the same with soft RAID yourself. Specific solution for a specific purpose however.
The fact that it’s Black Friday totally escaped me.
still non-native pcie controller ssd…
hey, les, do you know where is TMS ramsan 70/80?
It’s the best bootable pcie ssd!
Is there any such thing as a native pci-e controller except for the upcomming SF-3700?
Horrible timing for Ocz to go tits up. I hope tosh doesn’t waist much time and gets to work on a Barefoot 3 based pci-e drive (w/ Tosh’s 19nm toggle). They will need to make sure that whatever raid controller they use is up to the task…LSI would probably jack the price up (no clue) since it’d be a non-SandForce driven product.
review is very accurate, I found discounts from Amazon for
VisionTek Data Fusion PCIe SSD 480GB https://www.hotdiscountfinder.com/?s=VisionTek+Data+Fusion+PCIe+SSD+%28480GB%29
Thanks for the great review Les !
I need to replace hard drive to work with large solidworks projects, that may contain separate amount (200+) of files in one assembly. After reading review on Samsung Evo or Samsung pro Sata3 drives I am not sure what solution is better in my case. Looks like latest Samsung SATA drives over perform this one. What do you think ?