Back in 2008 and 2009, JMicron was a relatively big name in the SSD industry. The industry as a whole was a small niche compared to what it is today and you could nearly count the players with the fingers on one hand. Neither SandForce nor Marvell were in the game yet, so SSD OEMs like OCZ and Patriot who didn't have their own controller technology mainly relied on JMicron for controllers. There were a couple of other options as well, such as Indilinx and Samsung, but the reason many OEMs found JMicron so alluring was the competitive pricing it offered. Since SSDs were very expensive in general, having a cheaper product than your competition meant a lot. For example, a 64GB JMicron-based OCZ Core was around $240 while Intel asked $390 for their 80GB X25-M, so the advantage JMicron provided was much more than just a few bucks.

But the pricing had its dark side: to put it bluntly, the performance was awful. The JMF602 was so bad that the drives would pause for several seconds before becoming responsive again under normal desktop use, which was completely unacceptable given that users were paying several dollars per gigabyte. Obviously, that left a bad taste of JMicron to everyone's mouth. The OEMs were not happy because reviewers were giving them a hard time. and the buyers were not exactly satisfied either. During the worst times we had major difficulties getting any JMicron based SSDs for review because Anand had been frank and said that the drives should never have hit the retail in the first place. It was hard for the OEMs to blame JMicron because ultimately it was their decision to utilize JMicron's controllers. They had validated the drives and found them good enough for retail. 

Two JMF602B controllers in RAID 0 -- the effort to make it slightly less bad

When SandForce introduced its first generation controllers in late 2009, the game totally changed. Similar to JMicron, SandForce did not sell any SSDs. Sandforce sold the controller, firmware and software as a single stack to the SSD manufacturers who would then do the assembly. The difference was that SandForce's controller could challenge Intel and provide a user experience that was worth the money. Unsurprisingly many SSD OEMs decided to ditch JMicron and go with SandForce because SandForce simply had a better product. As a result, JMicron started to fade away from the market. Sure there were still OEMs that used their controllers in some of their products but the days of JMicron being the go-to company for controllers were over. 

JMicron tried to get back into the game, and it did release new and better SATA 3Gbps controllers (such as the JMF618 found in some Kingston and Toshiba SSDs) but SandForce had quickly taken a lion share of the market and the industry as a whole was already preparing for SATA 6Gbps. JMicron's roadmaps showed that a SATA 6Gbps JMF66x series was planned for the second half of 2010, which made sense given that Intel was integrating SATA 6Gbps to their 6-series chipsets in early 2011. But for some reason, the JMF66x never made it to the market on time. 

Now, over three years later, JMicron is looking to make a comeback with its new flagship SATA 6Gbps controller, the JMF667H.

 

The JMF667H: JMicron's Long-Awaited SATA 6Gbps Controller
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  • Bindibadgi - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    I'm genuinely wondering if the photos are artistically filtered or simply just that bad?? Reply
  • hp79 - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    I think it's being artistically shot that way. I don't like it either. Photos from AMD article looks fine.

    Nice article though. Good to see another contender in SSD market, back from the hall of shame.

    It's going to be tough though. After sticking a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB in my desktop, and getting a rMBP13 laptop which has proprietary crazy fast SSD, I'm no longer in the market. But if I were to buy another SSD, it'll be whoever is cheapest (after rebates and coupons) with reasonable performance. And it should be a 7mm height so it also fits modern ultra thin laptops, not stupid 9.5mm with no reason.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    Better now? I was in a hurry last night as the deadline was approaching way too quickly, so the quality suffered as a result. Bear in mind that we all work from our homes, so the camera equipment and lighting differs greatly from review to review. Reply
  • MrPoletski - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    For the love of god, why is it that on every SSD review here, every time I look at the performance consistancy graphs it is always for 4KB random write QD32?

    3 separate tabbed graphs, all saying 4KB random write QD32 - yet clearly only one of them is, the others being perhaps 4kb reads, or 4kb writes QD 1 or 2.

    It's this way every time I read an SSD review on anandtech, has nobody noticed this and fixed it yet or what?
    Reply
  • MrPoletski - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    haha, this time there was an explanation in the article. Ok. IGNORE ME LOL. Reply
  • milli - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    'Micron's roadmaps showed that a SATA 6Gbps JMF66x series was planned for the second half of 2010, which made sense given that Intel was integrating SATA 6Gbps to their 6-series chipsets in early 2011. But for some reason, the JMF66x never made it to the market on time.'

    I don't think that's entirely true.
    The Kingston SSDNow V200 used a JMicron JMF661 or JMF662 controller. That product launched towards the end of 2011 with great difficulties. The controller wasn't broken but the firmware was. It took Kingston six months to release a firmware that fixed the problems. Before that firmware the drive was utterly unusable (paused up to 5 seconds sometimes). After the firmware update it became usable and speed was then as advertised.
    You can read about it here: http://forum.notebookreview.com/solid-state-drives...

    This was very weird because the JMF618 found in some Kingston drives, worked very well (as found in Anand's reviews).

    As for the JMF667H, I've used two Transcend SSD340 256GB drives. I suppose they are using the old firmware but performance is okay. Using those systems feels more or less like a system with a M500. Nothing earth shattering.
    Reply
  • go4aBetterPC - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    While nice, I think JMicron is late to the market by about 1 to 2 years. For example the Micron M500 is already on the market. I would just use a another controller such as Marvell. Competitors are announcing and eventually releasing PCIe controllers. Intel has been slow to invigorate the PC market. Perhaps they are too distracted by all their Broadwell yield delays. And some key providers like Micron are trying to make their own controllers or already do in the case of Samsung, but already have relatively low cost SSD drives on the market. Perhaps JMicron should look for a buyer. The SSD market is highly competitive and there are lots of players and interest. I am hoping laptop manufacturers get their act together and start offering more ssd drives as a option. I have decided to not buy many laptops since they don't offer a 128gb or 256gb ssd drive. To me, this is the main way to invigorate the market. Too many companies wait for new Intel processors rather than take control of their own destiny. A $500 laptop that now costs $650 with a ssd would get good reviews and probably would gather a lot of sales. Reply
  • Shiitaki - Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - link

    I just recently picked up a Samsung Evo for school for virtualizing a cluster of computers. I ended up going with the Samsung for 3 reasons. One, consistently high performance, it's the 1TB version. Two, single manufacturer of the whole item, they don't source parts from 'whomever is cheaper'. I'm thinking of Kingston here. There are plenty of reviews of the drive, Samsung is proud of it, so plenty of reviews available.

    I looked at the Optima, a pair of them in fact. But I could only find one review, and I also didn't want to buy something where the review sample is superior to what they are selling to the consumer. While it was cheaper, I didn't have faith that PNY wouldn't do what Kingston has been caught doing.

    The importance of your website to the consumer is huge. I'd like to express my appreciation for Anandtech.com's constant diligence. If I can't find a review on something with measurements, I won't buy it.
    Reply

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