Product News
SuperSSpeed S306 120GB SATA III SSD Review

Forwarded from:http://www.rwlabs.com/     11/20/2012

Introduction

 

 

 

SuperSSpeed doesn’t just make the fastest drive they also make value oriented drives. Today we are going to take a look at SuperSSpeed’s newest value drive the S306 120GB SATA III SSD. This drive is LSI SandForce powered and equipped with premium Intel 25nm Synchronous NAND Flash.

The S306 is the first drive we have reviewed that utilizes LSI SandForce’s cost effective and power sipping 2241 controller. The 2241 is a SATA III FPU that uses very little power due to its 4 channel configuration which makes this drive ideal for laptop users. Here are some specifications for the 2241 controller as listed by LSI SandForce:

 

 

The LSI SandForce 2241 controller utilized is a 4 channel controller not the typical 8 channel version like the 2281 so of course there will be a performance tradeoff for a lower cost and lower power usage. This performance tradeoff should be well worth the power savings the S306 will provide to laptop users because the performance difference will be for the most part unnoticeable but the power savings will absolutely be something you will take notice of.

The S306 comes standard with a laptop friendly 7mm Z-Height (thickness) which allows for installation into laptops and netbooks that require the slimmer standard. Let’s start by taking a quick look at what SuperSSpeed has to say about their new S306:

                             

SandForce 2241 (4 Channel) + Intel NAND Flash, this group is the best one in the low end SSD market, with its Excellent Performance and Ultra Reliability. The use of Intel flash extends this SSD’s lifespan to be the longest one among the low end SSD series, while its price is not as well as other’s. It makes the SSD to be the most competitive one in the low end SSD market.

Powerful Controller:

SF2241( 4 Channel) + Intel Sync flash,whose performance is higher than SF2281+ Async Flash, while its price is lower. It gonna be best Controller among the SATA3 SSD Products whose capcity is less than 128GB.

Cheapest SATA III:

Richmax’s latest SATA III SSD series include 60GB 120GB This SSD is absolutely the cheapest one in the current market, which can lead ordinary consumers enjoy the ultra-speed of SSD SATA III.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

 

 

About SuperSSpeed

SuperSSpeed was created in 2010 by Richmax Technology Co., Ltd and is committed to providing superior memory products that fulfill and exceed customers’ expectations for their daily digital lives. SuperSSpeed s line of products range from SATA II and SATA III Solid State Drives, USB 3.0 Flash Drives, and Flash Memory Cards.

About Richmax Technology

Richmax Technology, along with Multi-Info Tech Inc. their US Headquarters est. 1987, is a high-tech enterprise engaged in Research and Development, Manufacturing and Testing, and Marketing and Sales of Flash applications and Data Storage Solutions. With its three state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, technical expertise, and excellent customer service, Richmax offers complete memory solutions including USB 3.0 Flash Drives, Solid State Drives, Memory Cards, and other digital products that are authenticated by the FCC, CE, and RoHS. As an official agent of Intel NAND Flash, SandForce Golden Firmware controllers, and complying with strict manufacturing specifications and quality inspection processes, the end results are high quality and reliable memory solutions.

Richmax also provides OEM/ODM services for its client s needs by employing an international sales network headquartered in Hong Kong and the US. With their proven track record as a leading technology product solutions provider, Richmax has gained the trust of its customers and users worldwide.

Richmax continues to be dedicated in being a leading memory solution provider by introducing breakthrough technology solutions and efficient products to the customers demand. By listening to our customers we are able to develop and provide support for all levels of their ever evolving needs. Please
contact us today to start benefiting from our customer-friendly services.

 

Product Specifications:

 

 

Looking over the product specifications as given by SuperSSpeed we find specifications list the 120GB S306 as capable of 550MB/s sequential reads and 510MB/s sequential writes when tested with ATTO. Also listed is incompressible performance of 270MB/s sequential reads and 185 MB/s sequential writes when tested with AS SSD. There is no DRAM cache which is typical of SandForce products. Also listed are a random read speed of 40,000 IOPS and a random write speed of 30,000 IOPS both 4K aligned. The S306 comes with an industry standard 3 year warranty. The S306 does not ship with any accessories. The S306 120GB is available from SuperSSpeed for the low price of $95 (click here).

 

Packaging

 

 

The S306 comes packaged in a small rather thick attractive box colored black, gold and white. The front of the box states the drives capacity, that it has Intel flash, its SATA III and will provide “The Extreme High Speed Experience”.

 

 

 

The rear of the box lists some attributes of Solid State Drives and lets us know the drive comes with a 3 year warranty.

 

 

 

Inside the box you will find the drive in an anti-static envelope. The drive is well protected by an inner cardboard enclosure.

The SuperSSpeed S306 SATA III 120GB SSD

 

 

 

 

The top and sides of the drives enclosure are formed from a single piece of stamped aluminum colored black, rounded corners and beveled edges give it a nice touch. Centered on the front of the drive is a manufacturer’s sticker that lists the drives capacity and 3 year warranty.

 

 

 

The bottom of the enclosure is another piece of stamped aluminum colored black. There is a sticker that lists the part number, serial number and date code.

 

 

 

The S306 follows the SATA compatibility connection, and although the SuperSSpeed S306 120GB is backward-compatible with SATA 3Gb/s, a native 6Gb/s motherboard (such as Intel P67, Z68, X79, Z77 or AMD 990FX, for example) is required for maximum performance. Intel Boards will provide higher performance than AMD Boards.

 

 

 

Here is what the drive looks like completely disassembled.

 

 

 

On this side of the PCB we find an LSI SandForce 2241 FPU and (4) 16GB Intel 25nm Synchronous NAND Packages.

 

 

 

This side of the PCB reveals (4) more 16GB Intel 25nm Synchronous NAND Packages giving the S306 a total RAW capacity of 128GB flash memory of which 111.79GB is available to the end user after formatting. There is also a sticker that lists the drives part number and the firmware that the drive shipped with which happens to be version 504.

Testing Methodology, CDI and Marketing Performance

 

 

System Configuration

 

                           

 

                           

 

                           

 

Let’s take a quick look at CrystalDiskInfo.

 

 

 

We have set CDI to give us the Raw Values in a 10[DEC] format. A quick look lets us know our drive is running on 504 firmware, the drive has had 0 GB written to it, health status is good and the drives temperature is 30c.

 

Testing Methodology

We’ll be running a variety of tests, that when viewed together as a whole, should provide a “big picture” result. Most of the benchmark software we will be using will be the same as those of you reading this review already use. I feel this is important because you will be able to directly relate to the tests we are conducting. This will allow you to gauge how your SSD / System compares with ours. We will be posting screen shots of the benchmarks so you can easily recognize the results in the manner you are accustomed to seeing. Our testing methodology here at Real World Labs follows closely to what we believe should be industry standard in testing drives with our drives with data testing or fill test being the most important. Unfortunately not all review sites see it this way, thus you will find the most in depth and comprehensive storage reviews here at RWL. To quantify the “big picture” we will be looking to the Vantage HDD test suite using our custom fill testing as a real world scenario and as a basis for comparison of one drive vs. another.

 

Marketing Performance: ATTO

ATTO is universally used by SSD manufacturers to show what the drives maximum read/write capabilities are under ideal circumstances; so we will begin here.

 

 

Running ATTO at default we are able to exceed mfg. specifications coming in at 555MB/s reads and 531MB/s writes at a queue depth of 4. Interestingly enough the performance at 4k and below exceeds any other LSI SandForce based SATA III drive we’ve ever tested.

Sequential Performance: HD Tune Pro

 

 

HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

Benchmark: measures the performance

Info: shows detailed information

Health: checks the health status by using SMART

Error Scan: scans the surface for errors (DO NOT SCAN SSD’s)

Temperature display

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. We test at a 64KB block size which is very hard on a drives performance. If you see faster performance elsewhere it’s because they are using a larger block size.

 

HD Tune Pro Read

 

 

 

 

Here we are concerned with the average speed. The S306 again lays down killer compressible sequential read performance exceeding any other LSI SandForce based drive we’ve tested. This is totally unexpected performance from this 2241 4 channel controller.

 

HD Tune Pro Write

 

 

 

 

More of the same; the S306’s compressible sequential write performance is chart topping. I think we can safely say the 4 channel 2241 controller deals with compressible data just as well as its 8 channel sibling.

AIDA64 Access Times

AIDA64 Extreme Edition is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software. AIDA64 Extreme Edition provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring. It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives. AIDA64 is compatible with all current 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows operating systems, including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

We will be using AIDA64 to gauge access times across the entire drive. The Random Access test is one of very few if not only that will measure hard drives random access times in hundredths of milliseconds as opposed to tens of milliseconds.

 

AIDA64 Read Access 64kb

 

 

 

 

The S306 has read access latency times typical of what we see from LSI SandForce powered drives.

 

 

AIDA64 Write Access 64kb

 

 

 

 

 

The S306 also has write access latency times typical of what we see from LSI SandForce powered drives. So far this 2241 is really tearing up the bench which is quite unexpected.

Testing with Anvil’s Storage Utilities

 

 

Anvil’s Storage Utilities a new piece of software specifically designed to measure SSD performance. We believe this software is one of the best available anywhere for testing SSD’s. It’s simple to use and its full of features such endurance testing and threaded I/O read, write and mixed tests, all of which are simple to understand and easy to use. Let’s see how we do.

 

Compressible Performance

 

 

4500 points is a very good score for a 120GB drive. The S306 has zero trouble digesting compressible data which means it will have very good operating system performance.

 

Incompressible Performance

 

 

Here’s where we begin to see a performance drop off due to the 4 channel configuration of the 2241 FPU. Incompressible writes naturally take a hit which is typical of all MLC/SandForce based drives and, due to the 4 channel configuration so do incompressible reads. Nevertheless this is still good performance and an area where a laptop user will gladly trade a bit of performance for longer battery life.

 

 

Compressible Max Random IOPS Testing

 

Threaded Read QD128

 

 

28,000 IOPS comes in lower than what the spec. sheet says. This is undoubtedly due to one reason, the spec sheet was written when this drive came with 502 firmware that has much higher performance than the 504 firmware that’s on our review drive.

 

 

Threaded Write QD64

 

 

85,000 IOPS far exceeds what the spec sheet says.

Crystal Disk Mark Performance

 

 

Crystal Disk Mark is a lightweight benchmark that has two parameters, Sequential and Random Read/Write, to evaluate the performance of a drive. Crystal Disk Mark’s default test uses random data. We will use the technical review for default random data (incompressible) results and the standard version for all 0 fill (compressible) testing.

 

Crystal Disk Mark Technical Preview (Random Data) Incompressible

 

 

 

 

Looking at the chart we find the S306 struggling a bit with incompressible sequential read performance which is what we expected, however 4K read performance is quite good and this is the most important metric of this test.

 

 

 

The write chart shows the S306 deals with incompressible data just as good or better that all the MLC/SandForce based drives on our chart. 4K performance is very good, which is something we look for because it is very relevant to real world performance.

 

Crystal Disk Mark (RAW Data) Compressible

 

 

 

Performance with compressible data is spectacular as it always is with a SandForce based drive. As we saw with earlier testing having 4 channels does not affect compressible performance it’s just as fast as an 8 channel drive.

AS SSD Scoring and PCMark Scoring

 

 

AS SSD determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are carried out without the use of the operating system caches. AS SSD is also a great way to find out what model of drive you have, if the drive is properly aligned, and what firmware is on your drive (firmware will be not be listed in RAID 0).

 

Scoring

 

 

AS SSD showcases an MLC/SandForce drives deficit when it comes to highly incompressible data. Again the spec sheet called for 185MB/s writes in this test and we could not quite reach that speed due to different firmware.

 

PCMark 7 Testing

PCMark 7 provides a set of 7 suites for measuring different aspects of PC performance with a high degree of accuracy. Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark Suite. The Lightweight Suite measures the capabilities of entry level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the full PCMark suite. Common use performance is measured by the Entertainment, Creativity and Productivity scenario suites. Component performance is measured by the Computation and Storage hardware suites. The Storage suite is ideal for testing SSDs and external hard drives in addition to the system drive.

We only care about the storage performance so it’s only suite we will run.

 

 

4976 points is a good result for a drive of this capacity coming in above drives like the ADATA SP900 128GB.

PCMark Vantage HDD Suite

 

 

PCMark Vantage is suited for benchmarking any type of PC. We’ll use the Disk Drive Suite because it closely approximates real world tests and results. PCMark Vantage shows the user where their system soars or falls flat, and how to get the most performance possible out of their hardware. PCMark Vantage is easy enough for even the most casual enthusiast to use yet supports in-depth, professional industry grade testing.

 

 

 

 

70,000 points equals the M4 128GB on our chart and is a respectable result to be sure. Now let’s see what performance looks like with data on the drive.

Custom PCMark Vantage Fill Testing

 

 

We will be using our own method of “Fill” testing. We will start with a Lightly Used/Clean Empty Drive then progress to 25% full, 50% full and 75% full. 15GB “Blocks” composed of various data will be used to fill the drive. Then the Empty but Dirty - a test run just after the fill tests to show how efficient the devices TRIM command performs. We will delete the data from the drive to perform this test. A Vantage test will be run after each stage of filling the drive with data. We consider this the most important benchmark when it comes to directly comparing the real world performance of one drive to another. We also feel there is no testing done by any other method that can give as accurate an assessment of the drives performance with various amounts of data on the drive or determine as conclusively how well TRIM does or does not perform.

 

 

We consider the 50% full Vantage test to be the most important test we run since it gives accurate results with data on the drive at an amount most likely to be found on the majority of SSD’s. 45,000 is a very good score for a 4 channel low power drive. This is better than all async. drives on our chart and equal to the M4 128GB. We had a little trouble with TRIM, deleting the data did not restore full performance for some unknown reason but, it’s not broken because formatting the drive restored full performance. When TRIM is broken, only a secure erase will restore performance.

Passmark Advanced HDD Tests

 

 

The tests use different settings to mimic basic multi-user operations as they would play out on your server. Variances in read/write percentage as well as random/sequential reads are common in certain applications, Web Servers read nearly 100% of the time while Database Servers write a small amount of data.

The Workstation test is the only single user environment and will be similar to how you use your system at home.

 

 

 

The S306 continues to impress. These are great numbers and even exceed drives like the Intel 330 with 8 channel controllers. The workstation number is the one to pay attention to because is simulates a typical user environment.

Product Summary

 

The SSD is the most important performance component found in a modern system today. Without it you do not even have a performance system.

 

 

 

Beginning with ATTO the S306 showed a lot of muscle by producing the fastest low end performance we’ve ever seen from a SandForce based drive. HD tune testing showed the S306 setting a new read record for all LSI SandForce based drives on our charts which came as a surprise considering the S306 has a 4 channel controller. AIDA latency testing showed the S306 to have typical access latencies for a SandForce based drive. Anvil’s scoring shows the S306 like all SandForce based drives loves compressible data. Incompressible data is of course where the S306 takes a performance hit. CDM and AS SSD revealed that the 2241 takes a performance hit when reading incompressible data due to its 4 channel controller, however 4k performance was really great and this is what really matters. PCMark 7 testing showed good performance for a 120GB drive besting the ADATA SP900. Moving on to Vantage Fill Testing the S306 performed admirably beating all asynchronous drives on our charts and coming in equal to the M4 128GB. TRIM testing showed an anomaly that could be configuration specific because formatting the drive restored all its performance which means that TRIM is not broken. Passmark testing showed that the S306 like all LSI SandForce based drives like enterprise environments.

The S306’s 7mm Z-Height (thickness) is nice to see and gives the consumer an advantage over standard 9.5mm Z-Height (thickness) drives in that the S306 can be installed in places an SSD with a standard Z-Height cannot.

Conclusion

SuperSSpeed’s S306 is a great little SSD. It will make an ideal upgrade for your laptop because with its LSI SandForce 2241 4 channel controller you will be getting great battery life. The S301 is a fast drive, not the fastest but certainly very fast providing enough performance that you will normally not be able to notice a difference in performance when compared to the fastest of drives. This low cost drive is a drive I recommend laptop owners put on their short list.

 

 
 
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