When it comes to performance-oriented solutions in the SSD market, you need look no further than MTRON. Considering they have only been around for two years, this is an impressive feat. MTRON is focusing their engineering efforts entirely on Solid State Drives (SSD). We recently looked at the MTRON MSD-S25032 32GB 2.5" product which advertised maximum read speeds of 100 MB/sec, write speeds of 80 MB/sec, and burst speeds up to 150 MB/sec - all that combined with random access speeds of around 0.1ms. Those specifications far exceed any of the latest SanDisk and Samsung consumer SSD products; these boast 67MB/sec read speeds and 45MB/sec write speeds.
Even then, MTRON was already planning their next product with maximum read speeds of 120 MB/sec and write speeds of 90 MB/sec (and the continued random access speeds of around 0.1ms, of course). The new drives would include improved wear-leveling and bad block algorithms along with enhanced power management capabilities. Dubbed the MTRON SSD Pro, this series features the MSP 7000 lineup that targets the enterprise computing market. MTRON designed these products for the Enterprise sector, but they also make great drives for enthusiasts who "need" blinding speeds for their notebook or desktops, benchmarking activities, or other usage - provided they can live with limited capacities that currently top out at 64GB. This sounds similar to the path the Western Digital Raptor series took in the desktop market - albeit with prices that make the Raptor look downright economical.
Our expectations were set to high levels with the S25032 product, now known as the MSD 3000 family. We waited for the MSP 7000 series to arrive, and it finally did late last week. Not only did our good friends at the Neo Store send us a 32GB MSP 7000, they also delivered an extra one for multi-drive testing, and a 64GB drive should arrive soon. The performance differences between the 2.5" and 3.5" models are nil, so we elected to review the 2.5" drives in order to provide results on notebook and desktop systems along with RAID 0/1 numbers.
Our preview today is just that, and it is short. We just mentioned RAID, but testing of that is still in progress, so stay tuned. We are currently testing these drives on a variety of platforms, chipsets, and operating systems to provide you with an in-depth review of this technology in the near future. However, after receiving numerous requests for test results after featuring this drive in our Holiday Buyers' Guide, we decided to post a few early numbers.
One item of concern from our previous SSD reviews is the performance of the Intel ICH9 and ICH8 chipsets that cap sustained transfer rates at around 80 MB/sec. This performance limitation still holds true and Intel is working on a solution. This limitation greatly affects the synthetic programs like HD Tach and HD Tune, but in actual application benchmarks, we see less of a difference (1%~4%) in performance between the NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel chipsets. However, due to the current Intel bottleneck, we are using a test system that consists of an AMD Phenom 9600, Gigabyte GA-MA790FX-DQ6 with AMD 790FX/SB600 chipsets, 4GB of OCZ Reaper PC2-6400, and Windows Vista 64 Ultimate.
Now, let's take a quick look at this drive and see how it compares to the top performing desktop drive, the venerable Western Digital Raptor 150GB.