Feature Articles

The Great High-end SSD Shootout (2014 Edition)

The Great High-end SSD Shootout (2014 Edition)


Introducing the Drives (Samsung, SanDisk, Seagate and Toshiba)

Samsung SSD 840 Pro

Controller: Samsung MDX
Memory: 21nm Toggle-Mode MLC NAND (Samsung)
Accessories: Samsung data migration utility
Z-height: 7mm

Is there a drive with a greater reputation for performance than the Samsung SSD 840 Pro? When we reviewed it last year, we were disappointed with its inconsistent performance but noted that it had potential. It is also one of the few drives to be developed completely in-house as all critical components (controller, memory and firmware) were all developed solely by Samsung. Let’s hope that it will fare better with a new test system and testing methodology.

 

SanDisk Extreme II

Controller: Marvell 88SS9187
Memory: 19nm Toggle-Mode NAND (SanDisk)
Accessories: 9.5mm bumper
Z-height: 7mm

In the middle of last year, SanDisk updated its flagship SSD (SanDisk Extreme) with the all new Extreme II. It was a major overhaul because while its predecessor used SandForce’s popular SF-2281 controller, SanDisk opted for Marvell’s new 88SS9187 controller for the Extreme II. Memory is SanDisk’s own 19nm Toggle-Mode NAND. The drive also features a special twist - SanDisk’s own nCache technology. This aims to improve random write performance by having a portion of memory operate in SLC mode.

 

Seagate 600

Controller: Link_A_Media LM87800
Memory type: 19nm Toggle-Mode NAND (Toshiba)
Accessories: None
Z-height: 7mm (also available in 5mm)

Seagate is one of the biggest names in storage and has shipped over two billion hard disk drives. The Seagate 600 is their maiden high-end consumer SSD and we found it to be a solid offering when we reviewed it last year. The ingredients are highly similar to the Corsair Neutron GTX - Link_A_Media controller and Toshiba Toggle-Mode NAND - but the firmware is unique to Seagate.

 

Toshiba Q-Series Pro

Controller: Toshiba TC358790XBG
Memory type: 19nm Toggle-Mode NAND (Toshiba)
Accessories: 9.5mm bumper
Z-height: 7mm

Toshiba is one of the world’s largest NAND memory manufacturers behind IMFT (Intel) and Samsung, but strangely, it has not made much of a push in the consumer space until recently. Like Samsung, the Q-Series Pro is a completely in-house developed drive featuring Toshiba’s own TC358790XBG controller and 19nm Toggle-Mode NAND. The fact that Toshiba has its own NAND foundry means that it gets to cherry pick the absolute best chips. How this will affect performance will be interesting to see.