A lot has happened with Indilinx Barefoot drives since we started taking a look at them in early 2009. Adding the TRIM command was only the first step in the evolution, but at the same time Indilinx was able to increase the performance of their products and make them a contender to Intel's X25-M drives. The newest 1916 firmware enables an onboard garbage collection system like that found on the Samsung drives and gives users of RAID arrays the possibility of keeping the same high level of performance they had out of the box.
As we saw today, adding a new cutting edge feature doesn't always equate to an immediate performance improvement in snapshot benchmark tests. The PC Mark Vantage test is a prime example in how some performance may be sacrificed for the overall good of the drive for long term use. For me I would rather have a drive that loses a few benchmark points but runs faster under real world conditions for the long haul.
For many users the long term performance is what has been lacking with solid state drives. Firmware 1916 has brought Indilinx Barefoot drives like the RunCore Pro IV to a point where mainstream adaption can be wide spread without disappointing users three to six months after their purchase. Most mainstream users know little about how a solid state drive works or even the tools used to keep them running at out of the box speeds. To put it simply, they don't care and wouldn't want to deal with the hassles involved with early SSDs. Recently I installed a 128GB Indilinx Barefoot SSD in my mother-in-laws two year old Toshiba notebook that is used mainly for her final stages of becoming a doctor. I can rest knowing that the email stating that her notebook is "running slow again" will be several months to a year away since she has the latest 1916 firmware installed on her drive. Her initial impressions of solid state technology were filled with quite a bit of gratitude to say the least. This is typical for users moving from traditional platter based drives to SSDs as the performance across the board is truly amazing, but in the past keeping that same level of jaw dropping amazement came at the cost of running software tools that kept them out of mainstream computers.
Now that the firmware has allowed Indilinx Barefoot drives to become user friendly and next generation drives will lower the cost, it will be easier for mainstream users to move to higher capacity solid state drives. The Intel X25-M drives offer higher performance but the 80GB capacity limit on the 200+USD drive is a tough pill to swallow for notebook users, a growing number of users for the last ten years. Indilinx Barefoot drives are now hitting the 300 USD mark for 128GB, a price that many consumers limit their component spending to per products. How low will Barefoot drives go, only time will tell, but to stay competitive with next generation drives like the RunCore Pro V and Crucial RealSSD C300, there will need to be reductions in cost and those are coming up very quickly.
If you are interested in reading over every detail of the Indilinx Barefoot change log from each firmware release, this is a really good document to look over.
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