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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
ADATA S599 SSD AS599S-128GM-C
Features and Specifications
First Look: ADATA S599
SandForce SF-1200 SSD Controller
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark Tests
SSD vs Hard Disk Drive
ADATA AS599S-128GM-C Conclusion

SSD vs Hard Disk Drive

The last days of old technology are always better than the first days of new technology. Never has this saying been more true than with the topic of storage technology, specifically in regard to the introduction of Solid State Drive technology a few years ago. The only things standing in the way of widespread Solid State Drive (SSD) adoption are high storage capacity and affordable price of Hard Disk Drive (HDD) devices. Because NAND flash-based SSD technology costs more per gigabyte of capacity than traditional magnetic hard drives, the benefits of immediate response time, transfer speeds, and operational input/output performance often get overlooked. Like most consumer products, it wasn't a question of how much improvement was evident in the new technology, it was price. I'll discuss product costs more in just a moment, but for now consider how each new series of SSD product employs greater performance than the one before it, convincing would-be consumers into waiting for the right time to buy.

A-DATA_S599_Solid_State_Drive_Review_Splash.jpg

There's also a gray area surrounding SSD performance benchmarks that has me concerned. You might not know this, but SSDs can be very temperamental towards the condition of their flash NAND. My experience testing dozens of Solid State Drives is that a freshly cleaned device (using an alignment tool) will always outperform the same device once it's been formatted and used. A perfect example is Indilinx Barefoot-based SSDs, which suffers severely degraded performance when writing to 'dirty' flash NAND. The reason that all of this will matters is simple: the performance results reported to consumers in product reviews (such as this one) often report the very best performance scores, and the process used to obtain these results is not applicable to real-world usage. This is where garbage collection techniques such as TRIM become important, so that end-users will experience the same performance levels as we do in our tests.

Manufacturer Indilinx Intel JMicron Samsung Toshiba SandForce Marvell
Controller IDX110M00-FC PC29AS21AA0 JMF612 S3C29RBB01-YK40 T6UG1XBG SandForce SF-1200 88SS9174-BJP2
Max Cache 64MB 16MB 128KB+256MB 128MB 128MB Integrated 128MB
Max Capacity 256GB 160GB 256GB 256GB 512GB 512GB 256GB
Read/Write Speed 230/170 MBps 250/70 MBps 250/200 MBps 220/200 MBps 230/180 MBps 260/260 MBps 355/215 MBps
Interface SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-III 6-Gbps
Garbage Collection GC/TRIM None TRIM GC/TRIM GC/TRIM GC/TRIM GC/TRIM

Chart By:

BmR

Garbage Collection (GC) is the current solution for keeping flash NAND in 'clean' condition, while maintaining optimal performance. Windows 7 offers native TRIM support, and most retail SSDs also include this special GC function or at least offer a firmware update that brings the drive up-to-date. For anyone using an Operating System or SSD that does not offer Garbage Collection functionality, you'll be using 'dirty' flash NAND modules and suffering sub-optimal performance for each write-to request. A few SSD manufacturers offers free tools to help restore peak-level performance by scheduling GC to 'clean' used NAND sectors, but these tools add excessive wear to the NAND the same way disk defragmenting tools would. SLC flash modules may resist wear much better than MLC counterparts, but come at the expense of increased production cost. The best solution is a more durable NAND module that offers long-lasting SLC benefits at the cost of MLC construction. Adoption is further stalled because keen consumers aware of this dilemma further continue their delay into the SSD market.

Getting back to price, the changes in cost per gigabyte have come as often as changes to the technology itself. At their inception, high-performance models such the 32GB MemoRight GT cost $33 per gigabyte while the entry-level 32GB Mtron MOBI 3000 sold for $14 per gigabyte. While an enjoyable decline in NAND component costs forced consumer SSD prices down low in 2009, the price of SSD products has been on the rise during 2010. Nevertheless, Solid State Drives continue to fill store shelves despite price or capacity, and there are a few SSD products now costing only $2.03 per gigabyte. Although the performance may justify the price, which is getting dangerously close to the $1.00 per gigabyte WD VelociRaptor hard drive, costs may still close some buyers out of the market. Price notwithstanding, the future is in SSD technology and the day when HDDs are obsolete is nearing; but there are still a few bumps in the road to navigate.



 

Comments 

 
# I fail to see the subject under test in most of the chartsGreg 2010-03-30 16:21
Maybe the wrong charts were published.
Out of the 13 SSDs in the charts, none is the ADATA S599.
What gives?
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# The ADATA S599 is in the charts.Olin Coles 2010-03-30 17:07
I don't know what you're referring to, but the charts include the ADATA S599 SSD test results.
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# RE: The ADATA S599 is in the charts.Stas 2010-03-30 23:24
In CrystalDiskMark Tests too?
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# Read the article...Olin Coles 2010-03-31 06:46
If you actually READ THE ARTICLE, you'll notice the lengthy explanations for these two tests.
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# Updated Test ResultsOlin Coles 2010-04-21 16:01
The AS-SSD Benchmark and CrystalDiskMark 3.0 results have been updated, and comparison charts are now included. The new data reflects test results with 4K IOPS performance in mind. I have also removed HD-Tune entirely, since we've discovered that the random IOPS portion of this tool is not useful for SSDs.
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# RE: ADATA S599 SandForce SF-1200 SSDJustin 2010-03-31 04:54
The Crystal DiskMark and the HDTune Random IOPS charts are missing the ADATA S599.
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# re: ADATA S599 SSDLogan 2010-03-31 11:22
Oi Olin!

You ARE missing the ADATA S599 from the DiskMark AND the HDTune IOPS charts.

I read your article and it was ok but you really have to make sure that all tested items are on the charts if you expect consumers to make informed choices... I'm sure that ADATA would appreciate that most of all because at least on paper, they seem to have a smoking fast product.

Cheers..
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# RE: re: ADATA S599 SSDOlin Coles 2010-03-31 11:28
If you had read the article, you'd know that these two tests produced abnormal results. I explain this in full detail, and also reveal all of my results.
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# Intel ...Christopher27 2010-04-01 03:52
Intel has TRIM (and I suppose X-25E serie has GC also).
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# Sector alignment issuesAllan Stirling 2010-04-01 07:12
HDDs can suffer from sector misalignment as well. ##g-loaded.eu/2010/03/29/partition-misalignment-slows-4096-byte-sector-hard-drives/
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# RE: ADATA S599 SandForce SF-1200 SSDBen 2010-04-06 04:56
Although the details are listed, the missing chart information is misleading to people who just scan through the article. I suggest you publish all of your data in the chart with a footnote stating "abnormal results". Thanks for including it in the written review, but it would be eye-opening to see it compared instead of just referred to.
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# Which storage controller was used?gaspard leon 2010-06-21 07:25
In the "Test System" section it says: "Storage HBA: Integrated Marvell SE9128 3rd-Generation SATA-6.0Gbps Controller"

But in the tests it says the ICH10 was used... which is it?

This makes quite a difference... Also if you want to get the least lag, you need an H55 or P55 based board, the storage controller on those is really quick
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# RE: Which storage controller was used?Olin Coles 2010-06-21 07:29
ICH10 is used on SATA-3GB SSDs, and the Marvell SE9128 is used on SATA-6GB SSDs (currently only Crucial C300).

As for the H/P55 platform having less 'lag' than X58, you are basing this on what evidence? I'm disregarding this remark, since I've tested on both.
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# thanks for the quick replygaspard leon 2010-06-21 18:56
Yeah that makes sense, so only the Crucial was on the Marvell.

Re H/P55 I have not done a lot of checks but I noticed a little bit faster access times, and slightly higher scores under AS SSD Benchmark, which I attribute to the H/P55 design being newer, and not a "Separate" chip, since the north and south bridge are both in the one chip, so the latency is a litttle lower...

Overall the difference between ICH10R and 55 series is fairly slight, just thought you should know that it's probably the best platform I've seen so far for SSD latency.

You can disregard this if you like, just trying to keep up awareness of different platforms
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# iometer resultsChristian 2011-01-24 02:17
guys, i'm not able to reproduce your scores, can you send me your iometer's config. file? this will be very appreciated ... :)
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# RE: iometer resultsOlin Coles 2011-01-24 09:40
Sure thing! I've emailed you our Iometer configuration file. Make sure that you use the same version as we did in our article for best results.
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# Thanks!!!Christian 2011-01-24 09:55
Thanks mate! i'll try it soon ...
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# RE: ADATA S599 SSD AS599S-128GM-CAMOCO 2011-07-05 22:30
So I sent Adata an email about firmware updates:
Me;So,When is the new updated firmware for this drive coming out?I've and others
have been waiting months for it.As the 3.4.6 firmware has heat issues.

Adata;The firmware updates are released by Sandforce and we have not gotten any update on new firmware. However, if you are experiencing issues please let us know we can replace for a new S599, or exchange for S596 Turbo.

So what gives?Is there an update for this drive other than 3.4.6?
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