SSD Roundup: Corsair F180 vs. Zalman S Series vs. Kingston SSDNow V+100

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SSD Roundup: Corsair F180 vs. Zalman S Series vs. Kingston V+100

March 24, 2011 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Corsair Force F180 180GB SSD
Zalman S Series 128GB SSD
Kingston SSDNow V+100 96GB SSD
Sample Supplier
Corsair Kingston Technology
Street Price
US$385 US$230 US$165
(bare version)

In this roundup, we examine the performance of three SSDs from Corsair, Zalman, and Kingston. The drives are similar in that they all support TRIM, carry three year warranties and list 1,000,000 hours as the MTBF. However they use different controllers, offer different capacities, and sell at different prices. They distinguish themselves in different ways, whether it be real world performance, energy efficiency, and/or noise — yes, one of them is clearly audible, at least on the test bench.


The boxes.

Corsair Force F180 180GB

The Corsair Force series is built around the ever popular SandForce 1200 controller found in the OCZ Vertex 2/3, OCZ Revo, G.Skill Phoenix series and numerous others. The SandForce controller uses sophisticated compression techniques to reduce the amount of data that needs to be read/written, boosting performance in the process. However for data that is already compressed, as much data tends to be (images, music and videos in particular), it may actually be slower than competition. With a capacity of 180GB, it isn't a cheap drive either, costing close to US$400.


The Corsair Force F180 180GB SSD.

Product Details: Corsair Force F180 180GB
CSSD-F180GB2
(from the product web page)
Features
Latest generation SandForce controller and MLC NAND flash for fast performance
TRIM support (O/S support required)
No moving parts for increased durability and reliability and quieter operations over standard hard disk drives
Decreased power usage for increased notebook or netbook battery life
2.5" form factor for your portable computer needs
Included 2.5" to 3.5" bracket for installation on your desktop computer
Three Year Warranty
Specifications
SSD Unformatted Capacity 180 GB
Sequential Read/Write (using ATTO Disk Benchmark) 285 MB/s sequential read — 275 MB/s sequential write 50K IOPs (4K aligned)
Interface SATA 3Gb/s
Technology High-reliability MLC NAND flash
Form Factor 2.5 inch
DRAM Cache Memory none
Weight 80g
Voltage 5V ±5%
Power Consumption (active) 2.0W Max
Power Consumption (idle/standby/sleep) 0.5W Max
S.M.A.R.T. Support Yes
Shock 1500 G
MTBF 1,000,000 hours

Zalman S Series 128GB

Zalman is a newcomer to the SSD market, or rather storage in general, being primarily a case, cooling, and accessory manufacturer. They have two lines of SSDs, the N Series, yet another that features a SandForce controller, and the S Series which uses a JMicron JMF616 controller. The components are enclosed with a typical brush metal housing with one twist: a mini-USB port that makes it both an internal and external drive.

Perhaps more interesting than Zalman's jump into the storage game is the lack of enthusiasm they've managed to not pump into this launch. The product page on their website briskly list the features and specifications of the drive, but there's no extra documentation or even marketing blurbs to be seen. It seems like Zalman is simply looking to get in on the action without putting out much of an effort.


The Zalman S Series 128GB SSD.

Product Details: Zalman S Series 128GB
SSD0128S1 (from the product web page)
Features
Optimized for AHCI Mode
Support Win7 Trim Command
JMicron Technology
Ultra fast start-up and access speed
Reliable
Silent and low power operation
ROHS Compliant
Shock Resistance and Anti-Vibration
Dual Interface with SATA II & Mini-USB 2.0
128MB DDR2 Cache Buffer
Specifications
Sequential Read Up to 260MB/S
Write Performance Up to 210MB/S
Controller JMicron
NAND Flash MLC Intel
Current (mA) Write, Max/Min/Avg.: 688/441/614
Read, Max/Min/Avg.: 360/205/330
Idle Mode: 213
Suspend Mode (uA): <0.1
Watt Write, Max/Min/Avg.: 3.440/2.210/3.070
Read, Max/Min/Avg.:
1.800/1.030/1.650
Idle Mode: 1.070
Suspend Mode (uA): <0.5
MTBF 1,000,000.00 hours
Voltage DC 5.0V _ 5%
ECC Function 16 Bit / 512 Byte
Endurance 10,000 Program/Erase Cycles
Operating Temperature 0°C ~ 70°C

Kingston SSDNow V+100 96GB

Kingston is a major SSD players, with their SSDNow series being particularly long-lived, having gone through several revisions already. The V series is their value line, composed of the V100 using a JMicron JMF618 controller, and the V+100, which is powered by a Toshiba T6UG1XBG controller. One of the main features of this controller is a low-level garbage collection function that works independently of the operating system. According to AnandTech, the garbage collection is unusually aggressive which will wear out the drive's cells faster, but keeps performance very close to that of a mint drive. The garbage collection function has one other advantage, it makes it a great fit for operating systems that lack TRIM support like Windows XP. It is not a coincidence that the Toshiba controller is also found in SSDs offered by Apple as their current version of OS X also lacks TRIM capability.


The Kingston SSDNow V+100 96GB.

The V+100 housing appears to be sturdier than its competitors, heavy with a rough weathered texture. At approximately 130 grams it weighs twice as much as the Zalman and Corsair drives. Obviously the internals don't account for this weight difference as a PCB with a few NAND Flash chips aren't particularly hefty.

Product Details: Kingston SSDNow V+100 96GB SVP100S2B/96GR (from the product web page)
Features
Innovative – Uses MLC NAND flash memory components.
Silent – Runs silent and cool with no moving mechanical parts.
Shock Proof – No moving mechanical parts so the SSD handles rougher conditions.
Supports S.M.A.R.T functions
Guaranteed – 3 year legendary Kingston warranty, 24/7 tech support
Specifications
Form Factor 2.5"
Interface SATA 1.5 Gb/sec. and 3.0 Gb/sec
Capacities* 64GB, 96GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Dimensions 69.85 x 100 x 9.5 mm
Weight – 128 - 151 grams
Storage temperatures -40 - 85°C
Operating temperatures 0 - 70°C
Vibration operating 2.7G
Vibration non-operating 20G
Sequential Read Throughput** 230MB/s
Sequential Write Throughput** 180MB/s
Power specs 3.6 W (TYP) Active / 0.05 W (TYP) Idle
MTBF 1,000,000 Hrs
* Please note: Some of the listed capacity on a Flash storage device is used for formatting and other functions and thus is not available for data storage. As such, the actual available capacity for data storage is less than what is listed on the products. For more information, go to Kingston's Flash Guide at www.kingston.com/Flash_Memory_Guide.
** Speed may vary due to host hardware, software and usage


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