Review: 5 Of The Latest SSDs

Choosing The Right SSD

We conclude Storage Week 2014 with a look at five of the latest solid-state drives from manufacturers of the leading SSD products of 2013. For the SSD market, the rising need for speed in data access and transaction processing has driven demand up and prices down. Flash drives also have gotten more durable, and their super-low power consumption makes them ideal for use in laptops and the data center. All tested drives are SATA 3.0 (6 Gbps) and conform to the 2.5-inch, 7.5mm form factor. Performance was measured with XBench 1.3 for Mac OS X using a SATA-to-USB 3.0 adapter. Drive performance on a SATA bus will be faster by a factor between 3X and 10X.

Intel 730 Series

Intel continued to lead the industry in 2013 with three of the 10 best-selling SSDs. In February the company unveiled the 730 Series, which combines data-center endurance with super-fast performance. Rated to deliver a sustained transfer rate of 550 MBps for sequential reads and 270 MBps for writes, 730-Series drives are available in the 2.5-inch form factor in capacities of 240 GB and 480 GB. The tested drive delivered 36.9 MBps for sequential reads of 256K blocks and 27.2 MBps for writes over USB 3.0.

Kingston E50

Kingston Technology sent two of its latest products for testing. The company last summer introduced the E-series, a line of SSDs with speed, performance and AES128 encryption intended for the data center. Available in 100-, 240- and 480-GB capacities, E-series drives are rated to deliver up to 550 MBps for sequential reads and 530 MBps for writes. Testers observed a 36.7 MBps peak for sequential 256K block read and 28.5 MBps for writes of the same size. Remember, our transfer rates are throttled by the USB bus; SATA rates will be much higher.

Kingston KC300

Kingston's KC Series SSDs consume just 0.08 watts when idle and average 0.16 watts during use. This leads the company to claim that they can give laptops as much as 40 percent longer battery life between charges than with a spinning hard drive. Data access is rated at 525 MBps for reads and 500 for writes. In testing over USB, the drive sustained 34.7 MBps for 256K sequential reads and 25.2 MBps for writes. KC-series drives are available in capacities ranging from 60 GB through 480 GB.

Micron M500DC

Unveiled just this week is the Micron M500DC, an endurance-optimized SSD for the data center that the company says can deliver one to three fills every day for five years. The M500DC is available in 120-, 240-, 480- and 800-GB capacities and 2.5- and 1.8-inch form factors. It's rated to deliver 425 MBps read performance and up to 375 for writes, depending on size and capacity. Over USB, the 480- GB tested unit peaked at 36.4 MBps for reads and 31.1 MBps for writes.

Samsung 840EVO

Samsung in 2013 had four of the year's best-selling SSDs, none of which was the 840EVO, which comes in 120-, 250-, 500-GB models, as well as the latest 750-GB and a full 1-TB unit. All models are rated at 540 MBps for sequential reads and all but the 120-GB model are said to deliver 520 MBps for writes. XBench reported a peak read rate of 26.5 MBps and writes at 31.1 MBps.

The Bottom Line

Be sure to check out all of the CRN Test Center's Storage Week 2014 coverage, including a look at zero-configuration storage arrays from Drobo and Exablox. Perhaps customers will populate them with SSDs covered here. Also look for full reviews of all Storage Week 2014 products as well as all the drives covered here, including complete performance testing through their native SATA 3 interfaces. It's all coming soon at