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July 15, 2016

Review: Lexar Professional Workflow HR2 Hub, SR2 Reader, CFR1 Reader, DD256 Portable SSD

System for the Content Creation Professional

If you’re like us, you’re probably always on the lookout for a good workflow system to get images from either your camera or videocamera into the computer. With all the different devices out there demanding different types of memory cards, you’re bound to end up having several different memory cards with several different memory card readers hooked up to several different USB ports. Unfortunately, this is a hassle especially when on the road as most laptops can only spare at one to two USB ports at most.

To solve this problem, Lexar introduced the Lexar Professional Workflow lineup of products which will make life [...]

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July 7, 2016

Review: VisionTek 128GB, 256GB USB 3.0 Pocket SSD

SSD Performance in a Flash Drive Formfactor

Aside from the insanely great performance, shock resistance, and low power consumption, one benefit of SSDs is the ability for them to be extremely compact. As a SSD only requires silicon rather than spinning disks, SSD form factor is really only dictated by how a company chooses to arrange the chips onboard.

As such, we’re starting to see quite a few external SSDs take advantage of this form factor flexibility. One such product is the VisionTek USB 3.0 Pocket SSD which crams a full SSD into a form factor just slightly bigger than your average flash drive.

VisionTek USB 3.0 Pocket [...]
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July 5, 2016

Review: Toshiba OCZ RD400 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD

Toshiba OCZ Delivers a Winner

Before NVMe and PCIe SSDs became as well known as they are today, SSD manufacturers had to find creative ways to bypass the limitations of the SATA bus for customers looking for more performance than was possible on SATA. Among the companies spearheading the PCIe SSD market was OCZ with their RevoDrive PCIe line of SSDs. While they were able to provide performance far exceeding what’s possible via the SATA interface, the first RevoDrive SSDs which were Frankensteined creations built with multiple SandForce controllers and custom OCZ virtualization chips that made everything extremely expensive and very cumbersome.

Since then, we’ve [...]

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June 27, 2016

Review: Samsung 950 Pro 256GB NVMe SSD

Samsung’s First PCIe/NVMe Drive for the Consumer

Last year I had the opportunity to be one of the first to witness the launch of the Samsung 950 Pro NVMe SSD at Samsung’s Global SSD Summit in Seoul, South Korea. Prior to its launch, we had already tested both the AHCI and NVMe version of the OEM-oriented Samsung SM951 SSD, which was a precursor to the final retail Samsung 950 Pro.

At its launch, the Samsung 950 Pro took the top spot for the fastest consumer SSD Samsung has to offer. It’s primarily targeted towards professionals, content creators, and enthusiasts who require the highest performance possible.

Samsung SM951 [...]
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June 20, 2016

Review: Samsung Portable SSD T3 1TB

Now with 48-layer 3D V-NAND, Up to 2TB Capacity

When I reviewed Samsung’s Portable SSD T1 last year, I was very impressed with what it had to offer. Of all the external SSDs on the market, the PSSD T1 proved to be the best combination of speed, capacity, and physical size. Because it utilized Samsung’s 32-layer 3D V-NAND, it was able to offer 1TB storage capacity in a form factor about the size of a business card. Furthermore, it had native encryption technology built in and since it wasn’t a RAID-based solution, it didn’t cost a boatload of money either.

Fast forward one year and what we have here for review today is the Samsung Portable SSD T3. [...]

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August 23, 2015

Review: Samsung PM863, SM863 960GB Enterprise SSD

TLC 3D V-NAND in the Enterprise

Last year we reviewed the Samsung 845DC EVO and the Samsung 845DC PRO, which at the time was two of Samsung’s newest SSDs designed for the rapidly growing datacenter/cloud/hyperscale market. At the time, both drives were very special for not only Samsung, but the entire SSD industry as a whole.

The Samsung 845DC EVO was a very special drive as it made Samsung the first SSD maker to market 3-Bit MLC NAND in the enterprise. Previously it was thought that 3-Bit MLC wasn’t well suited for enterprise applications as it’s not only significantly slower, but also significantly lower endurance compared to planar 2-bit MLC. On the other [...]

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August 11, 2015

Review: Micron M510DC 480GB Enterprise SSD

16nm cMLC in the Enterprise

Last year, we reviewed the Micron M500DC SSD which was a low cost enterprise SSD designed for the cloud/hyperscale server market. At the time, enterprise SSDs were generally expensive, high endurance drives that were simply overkill for read intensive applications that simply don’t need the high endurance or write performance. As such, Micron unveiled the Micron M500DC which utilized consumer grade NAND and lots of overprovisioning. By doing so, Micron was able to significantly lower cost while still maintaining enterprise level reliability.

Building off the Micron M500, Micron recently also unveiled the M510 SSD which, like the M500DC, is [...]

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August 3, 2015

Review: Samsung 850 EVO, PRO 2TB SSD

2TB Consumer SSDs Are Here

Generally when I talk to people about SSDs and how great they are, two concerns almost always pop up. The first concern of course is cost. While cost has been getting more and more competitive in the past few years, SSDs are still relatively expensive compared to HDDs.  The second concern is capacity. Whereas HDD capacities practically start at 500GB to 1TB, SSDs generally cap out at 512GB or 1TB. That said, whereas it was almost impossible to find SSDs under the ~$0.50/GB pricepoint just two years ago, it’s relatively easy to find drives down in the ~$0.30/GB pricepoint today. In the next few years, prices are expected to continue to drop as NAND [...]

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July 9, 2015

Review: OCZ Trion 100 480GB SSD

OCZ Forays into TLC

When we look at the SSD market today, there’s two distinct group of consumers. On one hand are the enthusiasts who are willing to pay for the highest performance drives ever produced. These are the guys looking into high end SATA and PCIe drives, but aren’t really a huge part of the total consumer SSD market. On the other hand is the bulk of the SSD market which is filled with entry level and mainstream consumers who just want a cost effective product that can give them a SSD user experience. These are the guys looking for the most cost effective solution possible as most of their time spent on a computer simply revolves around starting up a computer, [...]

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July 2, 2015

Review: Samsung SM951 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD

NVMe Takes the Performance Crown

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to review the Samsung SM951 512GB AHCI PCIe SSD. In the review, I noted that Samsung had originally told us that the SM951 would feature the NVMe protocol, but when it was launched earlier this year, it was only available with support for the AHCI protocol. Turns out, the Samsung SM951 is actually being manufactured in both AHCI and NVMe, but unfortunately for those looking for the NVMe SM951, Samsung’s initial production was limited to AHCI drives.

While the AHCI version of the Samsung SM951 is still one of the fastest client SSDs we’ve ever tested, the NVMe protocol’s software stack [...]

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June 28, 2015

Review: Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB SSD

Kingston’s New Mid-Tier HyperX SSD

At CES earlier this year, Kingston had probably one of the biggest product showings we’ve seen in the past few years. Along with new flash drives, memory cards, and gaming peripherals, Kingston also showed off several new SSDs including their new flagship HyperX Predator PCIe SSD, several new enterprise SSDs, and a new mid-range HyperX SATA SSD, the Kingston HyperX Savage.

After several years of selling the SandForce SF-2281 powered HyperX and HyperX 3K SSDs as the Kingston HyperX SSD lineup, Kingston is now moving to newer controller technologies with the HyperX Predator using Marvell and the HyperX Savage using Phison. Of [...]

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May 14, 2015

Review: Samsung SM951 512GB AHCI PCIe SSD

Samsung Dominates… Again

During last year’s Samsung SSD Global Summit, Samsung made some pretty big announcements. Among them was the introduction of 3D V-NAND to the consumer market and the introduction of the Samsung 850 PRO, but they also introduced some future products including an upcoming NVMe client SSD, the Samsung SM951.

After the brief overview of the SM951 at the summit, we didn’t really hear much about the SSD until CES earlier this year when it became pretty clear that Lenovo’s new Thinkpad Carbon X1 would be one of the first ultraportables to begin using Samsung’s latest and greatest.

Unfortunately, this meant that if I [...]

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