Several months ago we looked at the Venus Pro 3 120GB from Comay and found it to be a very unique SSD. At the time Comay shipped its drives with firmware 3.3.2, the code that fixed the BSOD issues. Comay followed up our 120GB sample with a new 240GB drive, but it shipped to us with firmware 5.0.2, the broken TRIM firmware. Since we didn't want to make the Venus Pro 3 240GB look bad for an issue that was out of Comay's hands, we held the review until fully functional firmware was available.
Comay was one of the first companies to send us firmware 5.0.3, the version now on their website for download. We also know that Comay is testing firmware 5.0.4 and we suspect they are also testing firmware 5.0.5 since it was shipped to manufacturers in the last week of September.
The Venus Pro 3 has a very unique hardware feature that we've only found on enterprise class SSDs so far, and that is host power loss protection. When SandForce first started shipping its first products, we saw a few drives with a hardware capacitor that was about the same size as a button on your jeans. This was referred to as a supercap or CapXX, named from the company that manufacturers them. The supercap used on Comay's Venus Pro 3 gives your SSD an extra four second of power, even when the host (i.e. your computer) loses power. SandForce SSDs, even with a DRAM cache buffer still have a buffer stage in the controller. The extra four seconds gives the SSD time to finish sending the data from the controller to the NAND flash.
This feature was designed for server environments, but since most servers have an uninterruptable power backup, I never really felt strongly for the need in that environment. Notebooks and ruggedized environments on the other hand are a different story. We've all been working on a notebook without the power plug in and accidentally hit the button to eject the battery at least one. I've never lost data that way, but with host power loss protection there are a number of consumer scenarios where losing power to your drive can happen.
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