Specifications, Availability and Pricing
At the heart of the G-Monster V5 is a product that PhotoFast sells on its own called the G-Monster Evolution. Essentially it is a JMicron RAID controller that is able to take two 2.5 inch or 1.8 inch drives running at the typical 5 volts and put them in a RAID 0 or 1 array. The individual drives on the inside are G-Monster V3 models that have been modified to fit the enclosure. One PhotoFast employee said, "it is like two miniature Vertex's inside."
The G-Monster V3 drives use the Indilinx barefoot controller with 64MB of Elpida cache. Since the G-Monster V5 uses two of these drives PhotoFast takes the liberty to claim the total cache size of 128MB. I am sure there were more than a couple of people roll their eyes as soon as they saw the JMicron portion above, but let me assure you that the RAID controller has nothing to do with the solid state controller and therefore you will not be pulling your hair out while your drive stutters along.
Before we get too far along there are a few things that we should really discuss first. If you recall the review of the Corsair P64 drives in RAID 0 article that we published last week, I talked about the inability of the Indilinx drives to run the cleaning software while in RAID. Milton at PhotoFast confirmed my worst fears in a brief discussion.
Chris Ramseyer (TweakTown) says (4:21 AM):
...the only real bad position I see the V5 falling into, no way to run the software to clean the drive up.
Maybe I am wrong?
Milton (PhotoFast) says (4:21 AM):
You're correct. The only solution is to open up [the drive] and run wiper on both individual SSDs but with firmware 1571 the performance fall down would be less and last longer.
So, as you can see, not everything is peaches and cream once you dig past the surface. Without extensive testing it would be impossible to say how long the drive will last without reaching a condition where the drive would benefit significantly from a cleanup. Another question that we have to consider is how Windows 7's built in cleaning will work with arrays of solid state drives. I can only speculate on this one and we will all have to wait a couple more weeks to find out for sure.
Clean up aside, the real limitation of the G-Monster V5 has to be its cost. DVNation is currently selling the 256GB drive that we are reviewing here today for 999.00 USD. The flashy graphics lead us to believe that this product is targeted towards the enthusiast and power user crowd, but the price screams enterprise. DVNation also carries the 64GB model for 449 USD and the 128GB for 609. We just reviewed the Crucial M225 256GB Indilinx drive with 64MB cache and it had an MSRP of 599 USD, so you are definitely paying a premium for the built in RAID controller and two V3 drives.
DVNation is also the exclusive PhotoFast distributer in the U.S. and they have put together a website for resellers. If you fall into this category be sure to check out Photofastssd.com for more information. Let's move on and check out the PhotoFast G-Monster V5.