In August 2011, we published two SSD products from Strontium. The first review to go live was the Gamma Series, a SandForce SF-1200 product paired with 25nm flash. The Gamma performed well in our tests and we found it priced competitively at the time. Just a few days later, we published the Matrix Series SSD review. The Matrix Series was based on Micron's C400, which really wasn't very exciting at first glance. The Matrix Series did ship with the latest firmware installed on the drive; firmware that was just released prior to our sample arriving. In addition, Micron's C400 was a rare drive since Micron held this model for the OEM market forcing Crucial to use m4 as the product brand.
Strontium has two SSDs based on SandForce's SF-2281 controller, HAWK that we're looking at today and Python, a drive we know very little about. Strontium appears to be working a high / low scheme like several Team SandForce companies. The Python Series is priced higher than the HAWK Series, but HAWK isn't another lame asynchronous flash drive, like we've seen several other companies use.
HAWK uses SK Hynix 26nm synchronous flash. This is actually the first time we've tested this combination, SF-2281 with Hynix flash. The Strontium specs for the HAWK lead us to expect slower performance from this product than what we've seen from IMFT flash. We've seen misleading specs before since performance on SandForce controllers generally comes from the firmware more than it does the flash when using synchronous NAND.
Before testing the Strontium HAWK 120GB SSD we pressed the company to provide us with up to date firmware with working TRIM. On the last day of Intel Developers Forum we received our new firmware, 5.0.4. Just before leaving for IDF we received 5.0.4 from another company and while at the event we had a mini flood of companies sending the new firmware over. At this time, everything is testing 5.0.4, the successor to 5.0.3 - a.k.a The TRIM Fix Firmware.
This will be the first time we've published a drive with 504, but given the four drives we've tested with it, we expect it to roll out to end-users in the next few weeks.