|OCZ Summit MLC SSD OCZSSD2-1SUM120G|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 03 June 2009|
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Summit Internal Components
Samsung engineers and constructs the components inside the OCZ Summit SSD. Built from the PB22-J model that Samsung decided not to ODM and sell themselves, the Summit is equipped with a Samsung S3C29RBB01 SSD controller and 128MB cache buffer to eliminate intermittent and delayed response cycles (stuttering). Consumers first experienced the bitter taste of stuttering SSD performance with several popular brands of products, some of which have been the OCZ Core Series, G.Skill MLC SSD, and Patriot Warp v2. The phenomenon occurs when the drives buffer is filled faster than it can read or write data, and was prevalent among first-generation JMicron JMF602 SSD controllers.
Although stuttering is a MLC-specific problem, Samsung intends to remedy it by using a massive 128MB buffer and improved SATA controller. So how well can the OCZ Summit produce read-from and write-to bandwidth using the new architecture matched to Multi-Layer Cell construction without suffering from response stuttering? Our test results are only pages away, but let's first inspect the internal components.
To the untrained eye, the OCZ Summit SSD looks like every other Solid State Drive you've probably seen when the internal components have been exposed. There's a collective bank of DRAM, usually with Samsung markings, followed by the SATA controller chip. This is the customary layout for most SSDs currently produced.
OCZ's OEM manufacturer, Samsung, decided to use ARM architecture to deliver powerful SATA controller performance in their SSD processor. The Samsung-branded S3C29RBB01-YK40 (NZ8T7MB4) SATA controller in the OCZ Summit is also the same one found in the Corsair P256 SSD (who have declined to have their product compared against OCZ) and Samsung's PB22-J SSD (which is not sold in North American markets).
The Samsung S3C29RBB01-YK40 controller is specified as capable of 220 MBps maximum read performance, and 200 MBps write performance. While there is very little known about the internal architecture of the S3C29RBB01 chip, we do know that it relies heavily on a large cache buffer to attain the rated performance.
A single Samsung 128MB SDRAM module is marked with K4X1G323P0-8GC6, with supporting GML239A2 marking below it. Although there are several different Samsung SKU's beginning with K4X1G323, there are no public data sheets available for the K4X1G323P0 version at this time.
The internal DRAM is comprised of Samsung K9HCGZ8U5M-SCK00 IC parts, which bare the branding mark K9HCGZ8U5M SCK0. These lead-free RoHS-compliant 48-pin ICs are multi-layer, with one IC directly atop another. Each IC has an operating voltage of 2.7-3.6V, with a 25ns speed rating. The K9HCGZ8U5M parts offer 64GB in 8x organization.
In the next section, Benchmark Reviews begins performance testing the Summit Solid State Drive, and we determine just how well the new Samsung-based SSD compares to the previous best-performing competition.