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EDGE Boost Pro SandForce Solid State Drive E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage
Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 01 September 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
EDGE Boost Pro SandForce Solid State Drive
Closer Look: EDGE Boost Pro
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
EDGE Boost Pro Conclusion

EDGE Boost Pro SSD Review

Manufacturer: EDGE Tech Corporation
Product Name: 120GB EDGE Boost Pro SSD
Model Numbers: EDGSD25120GBOOSTS6
Price As Tested: $210

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

EDGE Tech Corporation has been a manufacturer of peripheral computer hardware for two decades, but only recently have they offered enthusiast storage solutions. New for 2011, the EDGE Boost Pro SSD offers SATA 6Gb/s transfer speeds using the latest second-generation SandForce SF-2200 solid state controller technology. EDGE Tech specifies the Boost Pro SSD as capable of 550 MB/s read speeds and 85,000 IOPS write operations. In this article, Benchmark Reviews test the EDGE Boost Pro SSD against the leading competitors and we find out just how much speed and performance this new solid state drive offers.

For anyone familiar with the solid state drive industry, there's very little surprise in seeing new names join the performance storage segment. After all, most brands are merely finished goods companies, taking the components supplied to them and adding firmware and label. This happens all the time with video cards, and SSDs are no different. SandForce-driven SSDs are aplenty, as our Featured Reviews: Storage section lends evidence. This article concentrates on the EDGE Boost Pro SSD, which is based on the second-generation SandForce 2281 controller.

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.

EDGE-Boost-Pro-SSD-Angle.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 

 
# TCG OPALtcgopal 2011-09-08 12:53
I suspect the review wrong about this drive supporting the TCG OPAL specification.

Sandforce webpages claim it is an option, but I am not aware of any currently available Sandforce based SSD that actually supports it.

The drive webpage (##edgetechcorp.com/) makes no mention of TCG Opal.

ATA password != TCG Opal
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# Full disclosurealfresc0 2011-09-29 00:31
Unfortunately after being burnt by a GTX460 review, a GTX460 that was supplied by the manufacturer for the review, and was a different spec to the released version I will take this one line very seriously:

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

But thanks for including it.
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# RE: Full disclosureOlin Coles 2011-09-29 07:38
That is very unfortunate, which is why we disclose the source of our samples in every article. Almost every sample we receive is identical to full retail, but occasionally there are changes made to the retail product without any notice given.
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