Specifications, Pricing and Availability
The VisionTek Racer Series 1 currently ships in three capacity sizes - 120GB, 240GB and 480GB. A LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller steers the drive and communicates through a SATA III port, passing information to Toshiba Toggle Mode flash built on a 24nm process. There isn't really anything ground breaking about that, we see this all of the time.
VisionTek does configure the Racer in an optimal manner that balances performance and power draw. Our 120GB sample arrived with eight Toggle Mode flash chips. We've seen 120GB drives ship with 16 NAND flash chips, a configuration that increases performance, but also the amount of power needed. We've also seen 120GB drives ship with just 4 NAND flash chips to reduce power, but this configuration also reduces performance. The Racer is balanced for both desktop and notebook environments so as the drive ages and you move to a new drive your Racer will fit right in with your secondary computer be it a desktop or notebook.
Performance on drives like the VisionTek Racer change with advances in firmware, this is commonplace with all SSDs. Today we are testing the drive with a very special firmware. VisionTek released the drive with firmware 5.0.2, a release that didn't pass the TRIM command to the NAND properly. Despite the inclusion of TRIM Support (O/S Dependent) appearing on the specification sheet, TRIM wasn't and still isn't there now. This wasn't VisionTek's fault, but it is what it is, a pain in the butt for end-users. We have a beta firmware that fixes the TRIM issue and loaded it on our sample 120GB drive. Kingston just released firmware 5.0.3, the TRIM fix firmware that has passed validation and VisionTek isn't far behind.
That really isn't going to matter too much for our readers or for your customers because the Racer 120GB costs $176. That was the lowest we found the drive using Google Shopping. The 240GB is at $312 and the large 480GB is at $676. Ouch! To put this into perspective, the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB with an identical configuration, SF-2281 / 8 Toshiba 24nm Toggle Mode NAND flash chips currently costs $109.99 at Newegg.
With that high price you might think VisionTek is cramming the package full of every accessory and add-on you've ever seen for an SSD. You do get a desktop adapter bracket, which is a good start, but fairly common. Oh, you get screws too, very good. The last thing you get is paper! On the paper you get a catchy 25% off coupon code for the nice, but somewhat redundant accessory kit you see above. For $20 ($15 after the coupon code) you get a second desktop adapter bracket, a nice USB 2.0 to SATA adapter (these are actually very nice, I have one and use it all of the time) and a software disk with drive cloning software. As we said before, there were holes in VisionTek's strategy and expecting an end-user to buy and then wait for an accessory package is like Swiss cheese... the good kind you get in Europe. You do get a three year warranty which is average for a drive shipping with 3K P/E cycle NAND flash.