There is no doubt that the hottest solid state drives on the market right now are those that use the new SandForce SF-1200 controller. Back in January we were starting to get our first look at SandForce products and were even lead to believe those products were the real deal, retail ready, but those claims were later retracted. At the time it looked like SandForce SSDs were going to be faster than anything else on the market, but most attention and anticipation rested on a very well marketed controller from Marvell that Crucial later used in their RealSSD C300 line.
Last month SandForce allowed their partners to start sampling products that used their new consumer controller, the SF-1200. Our first look at the controller came from the Corsair Force F100, but at the time we were not able to verify the price and Intel hadn't released their new SSD friendly RST 9.6 driver that significantly improved SSD performance on the Intel SATA II chipset. Within a few days A-DATA had shipped over their SF-1200 powered drive, the S599 and Intel made the RST 9.6 driver available to the public. The new driver was just enough to propel the SandForce SF-1200 controlled drives past the then king Crucial RealSSD C300 and we received the final MSRP from A-DATA to boot.
Out of nowhere the SandForce label went from being associated with a good product that is going to cost an arm and a leg, to a great product that is not only the fastest on the market, but has a reasonable cost, too. When looking at the benchmarks we see that there really isn't a whole lot of difference between testing with the Microsoft and Intel drivers, but it is enough to surpass Crucial's C300 in most real world performance categories. Just like the old saying, second place is the first loser; the SF-1200 controlled products were now holding the top honors and something to get excited about.
As enthusiasts we are often compelled to take the best of the best and double them to achieve higher performance. This week through next week we will see two RAID reports, the first being with the A-DATA S599 today and next week using Crucial's RealSSD C300. Let's recap the A-DATA S599 specifications and then get right into the testing.