Specifications, Pricing and Availability
We've all seen most of the specs before. The 280MB/s read and 270MB/s write speeds are pretty much the standard for SandForce SF-1200 controllers. The SF-1200 is limited by the SATA 3G interface it is tied to. When it comes to model numbers and capacity, Zalman is starting out with the 64 and 128GB sizes, but plans to releases a 40 and 256GB model soon. All four models will use MLC flash memory and for the most part all share the same specifications.
The one area that Zalman choose to focus on in their product specifications is the power usage. These are numbers we haven't seen highlighted before. Since no one else is publishing these numbers we don't have anything to compare them to other than traditional platter drives. Zalman's N Series SSD uses significantly less power than any other 2.5" 9mm height platter drives we've tested.
When it really comes down to it, most users care most about pricing and availability. The Zalman N Series is available at Newegg, so they have the availability part covered nicely. The next hurdle is pricing. The 64GB model is listed at Newegg for 129.99 at this time and the 128GB drive we are testing today is 239.99 USD. The prices are very reasonable for the performance offered by the N Series, but it's far from the lowest priced SandForce SF-1200 drive in this capacity range. That title currently goes to the OCZ Agility 2.
The next issue that Zalman has to go up against is the accessory package. Zalman didn't include any accessories with the N Series. For the last eight months many companies have included a desktop 2.5" to 3.5" adapter bracket. If the Zalman N Series had a lower cost than the Agility 2 it wouldn't be much of an issue, but with the Agility 2 costing less and including the adapter bracket, things aren't looking so shiny.
Zalman does offer a three year warranty, but this is now considered middle of the road since other manufacturers have also raised their warranty period to three years.
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