I was raised in Kokomo, Indiana. It's not the technology hot bed you might have imagined. As Indiana's 12th largest city I still remember when Wal-Mart came to town. The town was buzzing because larger cities already had Wal-Mart. People would drive from Kokomo to other cities to shop at Wal-Mart since Wal-Mart offered products below retail pricing. Before Wal-Mart and other megastores, retail shopping was just a way of life. Sure, stores still had sales, clearance items and such, but across the shelves, discount pricing was fairly rare.
Then the internet arrived in all of its greatness. The largest store in the world is now the internet and it's accessible in the smallest village in Africa to the largest city in the USA. If you sell a product, chances are you offer it for sale on the internet and if you don't, someone else sells that product on the internet. Global competition and even regional competition has changed the way we shop for products and the old retail, MSRP model has been eliminated for nearly every product SKU in the world.
Today we are looking at a product that is a throwback to the old retail, MSRP model. I say that because the company selling the Racer Series 1 SSD is an established company dating back to the old retail, MSRP days. VisionTek is one of the oldest video card companies still in existence today, at least in the United States. I remember buying VisionTek products at CompUSA, a retail establishment that eventually was swallowed up by an internet giant. When retail was a viable model for technology, VisionTek was in all of the gaming and technology stores - EB Games, CompUSA and so on. VisionTek is still in Best Buy, but according to market analysts, Best Buy is in bad shape now too.
The Racer Series is VisionTek's first entry into the SSD market and a product that allows them to test the waters. Over the last couple of weeks we've spoken at length with the company about their solid-state drive strategy, what it was, what it is and where it's going. VisionTek will be the first to tell you they stumbled out of the gate. This product has a high MSRP, mainly because their initial strategy was flawed. The Racer Series 1, in its current form, as it is selling now at a price that is not sustainable in a market dominated by low cost, high performing SSDs. VisionTek is working on changing that rapidly and hopes to be ready with new pricing as quickly as they possibly can.
Price aside, the VisionTek Racer Series hits all of the right technology queues. By pairing a LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller with premium Toshiba 24nm Toggle Mode flash, VisionTek has one of the finest quality SSDs on the market.
As you know, we've held a large number of SandForce based SSD reviews due to an issue with TRIM that hurt its performance in our benchmark charts. VisionTek is now working on getting firmware ready for the public. We expect the new TRIM fixing firmware from VisionTek soon for public release. We have a beta firmware on hand and can now publish our review. Let's get into the product details and then hit the benchmarks.