|G.Skill FM-25S2S-64GB SATA-II MLC SSD|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 16 December 2008|
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First Look: G.Skill MLC SSD
For the entire 2007 year and part of 2008, Benchmark Reviews had anxiously awaited the fabled Solid State Drive that could replace our current list of preferred Hard Disk Drives. Making this wait seem even longer was the fact that HDD manufacturers were constantly improving there product and adding new enhancements to the technology. First there was perpendicular storage technology, then came fluid bearings, and finally there was the increase in cache buffer DRAM to speed-up the burst data transfer. Performance has been the hurdle that SSD's have had a tough time clearing, with read and write bandwidth creating the largest obstacles. Response time and reduced power consumption has long become the key arguments for owning an SSD, but without the bandwidth throughput to measure up against HDD's they became an expensive niche item.
That time has come to pass, and our collection of SSD reviews is proof. Back in March (2008) we tested the lightning-fast MemoRight GT SSD which finally put the Western Digital Raptor in its place... to the tune of almost $2000. But since that time Benchmark Reviews has tested several SSDs which outperform HDDs. The struggle to finally replace the Hard Disk as the primary drive is getting much closer to victory.
When it comes to the appearance of notebook drives, it must be understood that the product you're looking at will be hidden away from plain view once installed. Keeping in mind that this product is solid state, and therefore offers no amount of noticeable physical activity, it takes some special attention to presentation in order to help keep the consumer feeling comfortable with their premium purchase.
Like everything else with a price tag, perception is reality. So it was a little surprising when I discovered how well the G.Skill SSD came packaged using an over-needed amount of protection. Back at the start of 2008 I witnessed a Crucial/Lexar demonstration of a SSD fastened to a paint-mixer and being shaken while a video game was being played be a CES convention-goer. Unlike the Hard Disk Drive (HDD), SSD's are practically impervious to impact damage and do not require extra-special packing precautions.
Nevertheless, G.Skill has safely nestled the FM-25S2S-64GB in a hallowed-foam enclosure with the care a flight data recorder might receive - and perhaps that is the reason for all of the extra attention. Solid State Drives are very popular items in military and aerospace technology, primarily because of their ability to withstand shock in excess of 1500 G's. The Solid State Drive offers the same rugged longevity (actually, SSD's offer better durability than a flight data recorder), which amounts to safer data even after the worst disasters.
Standard 2.5" drive bay mounting points are pre-drilled and threaded in the SATA-II SSD, which allows for quick upgrade or addition to any existing notebook or desktop system. The mounting positions matched up to the drive bracket on my Dell Inspiron laptop, and without any trouble at all I was quickly loading the Windows XP SP-3 Operating System image on this 64GB SATA Solid State Drive.
The underside of the G.Skill FM-25S2S-64GB reveals standard SATA power and data interface connections, with the addition of a Full-Speed USB 2.0 Mini-B connection beside them. This USB port allows the FM-25S2S series SSD to be connected as an external storage device without the need for additional power or data connections, and I must admit it works quite well!
Unlike desktop computers which utilize a SATA cable system to connect drive to motherboard, nearly all notebooks allow the 2.5" drive to simply slide directly into a connection bay within the system. In addition to notebooks and desktop computer usage, this G.Skill SATA Solid State Drive can be utilized for mission-critical backups or high-abuse data systems.
The G.Skill FM-25S2S-64GB SATA-II MLC SSD is encased in an metal half shell, which fastens from the underside with counter-sunk screws. In the next section Benchmark Reviews begins the performance testing on this Solid State Drive, and we determine just how well the G.Skill SSD compares to the best-performing competition.