Strontium has one of the best looking SSDs available on the market today. The white finish looks great and the 7mm package adds to appeal for ultrabook and future ultrabook users. Unfortunately, Strontium didn't do much, actually anything for an accessory package and stuck to a fairly standard three year warranty.
Those issues aside, the Strontium HAWK does have some strong features that distinguish it from most of the other Team SandForce SSD offerings. The first is the high write performance with incompressible data. I think it's safe to say that we all work with large batches of incompressible data. You might be into music, pictures or movies, which is all incompressible data and all very common data types that most of us have a passion for, even if it's just one. The Strontium can write that data very quickly, much like the 240GB MLC drives with SandForce controllers. Going tick for tock again, the HAWK tends to read that type of data a little slower than other SF/MLC drives.
At this time we really have to group 7mm z-height drives in their own special niche category. Newegg lists a total of 108 120/128GB capacity size SSDs at the time of writing, but very few fit the 7mm height requirement for ultrabooks. Taking out 9.5mm z-height drives and SSDs using asynchronous flash we found two low cost competitors. In the 128GB size Newegg shows the Samsung 830 128GB model for roughly $110 (but it has a write IOPS rating of only 30K, which is very low) and in the 120GB size the Corsair Neutron (non-GTX) for $110 as well. The Strontium HAWK beats both of those products in price by $10 and matches them in form factor.
Even though we didn't review it today, the HAWK 240GB model might be even more appealing to our readers. We can't comment on performance because we don't have one, but we can look at the pricing since it's listed on the site. At $170 the HAWK 240GB matches the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe, Newegg's lowest priced 240GB drive with synchronous or Toggle flash (anything but async please). The main difference being the HAWK will fit in your 7mm limited ultrabook and the Chronos Deluxe won't.
The only real thing holding Strontium back right now is their distribution. We've seen three of their products and liked all of them, but at this time, Strontium doesn't have a large global presence. To get the HAWK 120GB to my home in Indiana I have to order through their website. The drive has to ship from Singapore which tacks an additional $30 to the price and at that point the great value 7mm drive just becomes another Team SandForce drive without an accessory package. Hopefully the company picks up some distributers between now and the next time we review one of their products.
Strontium is in Singapore so our readers over there and around Asia have an advantage and should look at this drive for their notebook and especially ultrabook upgrades.
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