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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
ADATA S511 Solid State Drive AS511S3
Closer Look: ADATA S511 SSD
SandForce SF-2281 SSD Controller
Features and Specifications
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
PCMark Vantage HDD Tests
ADATA S511 SSD Conclusion

ADATA S511 SSD AS511S3 Review

Manufacturer: ADATA Technology Co., Ltd.
Product Name: ADATA S511 Solid State Drive S511S3
Model Numbers: 60GB: AS511S3-60GM-C, 120GB: AS511S3-120GM-C, 240GB: AS511S3-240GM-C
Price As Tested: 60GB: $155, 120GB: $240, 240GB: $520

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by ADATA.

ADATA knows that SandForce-driven SSDs are a win-win combination of performance and speed. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the ADATA S511 solid state drive. Based on the popular new SandForce SF-2281 SATA 6Gb/s controller and fast IMFT-branded NAND flash components, ADATA claims the AS511S3 is capable of 550 MB/s read and 510 MB/s write speed with 4K random write speeds as high as 60,000 IOPS in real world testing. We test these claims, and compare performance to competing storage solid-state solutions in this review to find out which SSD is best.

The second-generation SF-2281 SSD processor maintains all of the original core technology SandForce originally introduced in the SF-1200 series, but now improves SSD performance with 20% faster IOPS and 40% faster sequential read/write throughput. They've enhanced BCH ECC capability, and the new processor now supports ATA-7 Security Erase. Finally, the new SF-2200 series implements cost-effective 20nm-class NAND flash from all leading flash vendors with Asynch/ONFi1/ONFi2/Toggle interfaces.

For many within the industry, SandForce was seen to control the 2010 market in much the same way that Indilinx did in 2009. The difference now is that SandForce's platform offers several technical benefits that the Indilinx platform was not capable of. Already into the Q3-2011, the landscape is approximately the same, but with some interesting new twists. Benchmark Reviews confirms that they're keeping this promise with tests of the new storage device on a B3-stepping Sandy Bridge platform.

Adata-S511-SSD-Top.jpg

Even after decades of design improvements, the hard disk drive (HDD) is still the slowest component in any personal computer system. Consider that modern desktop processors have a 1 ns response time (nanosecond = one billionth of one second), while system memory responds between 30-90 ns. Traditional hard drive technology utilizes magnetic spinning media, and even the fastest spinning mechanical storage products still exhibit a 9,000,000 ns / 9 ms initial response time (millisecond = one thousandth of one second). In more relevant terms, the processor receives the command and must then wait for system memory to fetch related data from the storage drive. This is why any computer system is only as fast as the slowest component in the data chain; usually the hard drive.

In a perfect world all of the components operate at the same speed. Until that day comes, the real-world goal for achieving optimal performance is for system memory to operate as quickly as the central processor and then for the storage drive to operate as fast as memory. With present-day technology this is an impossible task, so enthusiasts try to close the speed gaps between components as much as possible. Although system memory is up to 90x (9000%) slower than most processors, consider then that the hard drive is an added 1000x (100,000%) slower than that same memory. Essentially, these three components are as different in speed as walking is to driving and flying.

Solid State Drive technology bridges the largest gap in these response times. The difference a SSD makes to operational response times and program speeds is dramatic, and takes the storage drive from a slow 'walking' speed to a much faster 'driving' speed. Solid State Drive technology improves initial response times by more than 450x (45,000%) for applications and Operating System software, when compared to their mechanical HDD counterparts. The biggest mistake PC hardware enthusiasts make with regard to SSD technology is grading them based on bandwidth speed. File transfer speeds are important, but only so long as the operational IOPS performance can sustain that bandwidth under load.

Bandwidth Speed vs Operational Performance

As we've explained in our SSD Benchmark Tests: SATA IDE vs AHCI Mode guide, Solid State Drive performance revolves around two dynamics: bandwidth speed (MB/s) and operational performance (IOPS). These two metrics work together, but one is more important than the other. Consider this analogy: bandwidth determines how much cargo a ship can transport in one voyage, and operational IOPS performance is how fast the ship moves. By understanding this and applying it to SSD storage, there is a clear importance set on each variable depending on the task at hand.

For casual users, especially those with laptop or desktop computers that have been upgraded to use an SSD, the naturally quick response time is enough to automatically improve the user experience. Bandwidth speed is important, but only to the extent that operational performance meets the minimum needs of the system. If an SSD has a very high bandwidth speed but a low operational performance, it will take longer to load applications and boot the computer into Windows than if the SSD offered a higher IOPS performance.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: ADATA S511 Solid State Drive AS511S3Neuromancer 2011-07-20 17:20
"SandForce claims that the 2200 series has a 0% minimum over-provisioning improvement, which could open up additional storage space if the remaining capacity made it necessary to complete a write cycle."

The second half of that sentence is not a logical conclusion to the first. If something has 0% improvement, it means it has not improved at all. It does not facilitate a declaration it is the same technology although that is usually the case.
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# RE: RE: ADATA S511 Solid State Drive AS511S3Olin Coles 2011-07-20 21:15
You're reading it wrong. SandForce SSDs previously had a 7% or more over-provisioning, and now they offer SSDs with 0% over-provisioning, which is an improvement.
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# No your reading it wrongNeuromancer 2011-07-20 22:28
I am not reading it wrong, it was structured comfusing for hte simple. 9% change means nothing changed.

As a matter of cat I have a MAX IOPS drive up for review as I type. And guess what.

One NAND chips worth of data density was set aside for OP and EC. 16 times 16GB = 256 GB not 240...


Only trying to help.
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# I cant typeNeuromancer 2011-07-20 22:29
And apparently my spell checker is changing het subject for me :P
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# RE: ADATA S511 Solid State Drive AS511S3Neuromancer 2011-07-20 17:22
*edit also it means it has not decreased at all. (sorry that explains the logic in the PC community that nothing changed architecturally, it neither improved nor degraded).
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