My goal for Computex Taipei this year was to search out new SSDs and new markets - to boldly go where no man has.... you get the idea. We had a lot of success and came home with many new products sold in countries we rarely visit, but have many readers. In our exploration we learned many things. One of the things we learned was this, no matter where you are in the world, if you want a quality SSD, they are available.
Zalman, a company that does have a strong US presence, has a growing line of solid-state drives. Their previous generation products made it to the States and even made an appearance on Newegg. Their new SandForce SF-2281 based consumer SSDs though are absent in the US other than a few tipping up on EBay from resellers. The F1 drives are available in Asia where Zalman has a significant presence and is gaining market share.
The Zalman F1 Series uses SF-2281 controllers and in standard LSI SandForce capacity sizes. Paired with the controller is Intel 25nm synchronous flash. When we picked our two Zalman F1 samples up at Computex we assumed they had 5.0.1 or 5.0.2 firmware on them like everything else we brought back. Two nights ago I needed to retest a 501/502 firmware 120GB drive and discovered our Zalman F1 120GB actually arrived with 3.3.2. The 3.3.2 firmware fixed all of the power state change issues, but still had working TRIM, unlike 5.0.1 and 5.0.2.
Now that we know the Zalman F1 is still "one of the good ones", let's get it tested and take a look at the performance.