Those of you old enough to remember the Celeron 300A would easily recall this legendary icon that solidified words like overclocking and watercooling into the vocabulary of computer enthusiasts worldwide. The 300A was a low cost processor that when ran to its maximum potential was faster than Intel's flagship processor at the time. So, how could a value class solid state drive even begin to compare to a legendary Intel processor, you ask?
Just recently we reviewed the Kingston SSDNow V Series drive that uses the JMicron 602 controller which has been reworked by Kingston and Toshiba. The V Series has a very respectable price performance ratio, but it is hardly what I would call an enthusiasts product. Just hours after our review of the V Series Kingston announced their V+ Series of drives in 64, 128 and 256GB capacities. Just like the original V Series press release, the controller used for the product line was not listed. I completely understand the omission from the V Series press release, but the V+ Series does not have to worry about the JMicron reputation since it carries one of the most advanced chipsets on the market today, the Samsung S3C29RBB01-YK40.
If you frequent the solid state reviews published here on TweakTown then you know that this is the same controller used in the Corsair Performance Series and Samsung's own line of drives. Just a couple of weeks ago we published two reviews that featured the Corsair Performance drives, the P256 and the Corsair Performance RAID 0 Report that featured two P64 drives. At the time the Performance Series was Corsair's flagship solid state product line and it featured a flagship price point.
So, how does all of this bring about comparisons to the iconic Celeron 300A? In our lengthy testing of the Samsung controller we found a little discussed feature that is only found in the Samsung controller. For the last six months everyone has been talking about "garbage collection", the only fault that remains in these early stages of solid state storage products. MLC SSDs need to clean a block of its previously stored data before it can be written to. Windows XP and Vista simply disregards the data, but just like platter drives, SSDs retain the information until that particular piece of real-estate is required to store additional information. When it comes time to write to that block a solid state drive sees that information is present and needs to scrub the block, this adds latency since an additional process was added to the chain.
The Samsung controller has a unique feature called Self-Healing. The drive is able to cleanse itself of deleted data without being ordered to by the operating system. Indilinx has a similar feature, but there are some strong imperfections that make garbage collection troublesome. The Indilinx system requires a single drive, no RAID support and the drive must be the boot drive. Not exactly the stipulations an enthusiast can live with since RAID is now built into every mainstream motherboard sold on the planet.
So, is the ability to use several solid state drives in a RAID array that cleans itself of unused data enough to call the Kingston V+ Series a legendary product? Let's take a deeper look and see.