MyDigitalSSD BP3 512GB SATA III Solid State Drive (Phison S8 Exclusive) Preview

The My Digital guys strike again, this time with the first Phison SATA III controller and new Toggle Mode Flash. We present you the world exclusive right here.
@TweakTown
Published Wed, May 23 2012 11:19 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Manufacturer: MyDigitalSSD

Introduction

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VIEW GALLERY - 24 IMAGES

At this point we are hardly surprised when MyDigitalSSD proprietor Matt Dawson calls us and says he has another world's first ready for us to check out. After helping steer many of the storage designs used in netbooks today, Matt moved on to build a large portion of RunCore's fan base. From there he started his own SSD company named after his retail store, MyDigitalDiscount.

MyDigitalSSD, the solid state drive wing of the company produces products that fall into one of two categories. The first is special applications, like mSATA and other emerging technologies. The second category is a bit more mainstream, quality low cost SSDs that provide a very good mix between performance and low cost.

The new MyDigitalSSD BP3 fits into the second category and brings with it two new to market components that are designed to reduce the overall cost of SATA III performance. The first new component is the Phison S8 controller. This is Phison's first SATA III controller and it's built from the ground up to provide performance that breaks past the SATA II barriers while remaining a low-cost option for SSD manufactures.

The second new component is from Toshiba and this one has us very excited. We've all seen Toshiba Toggle Flash drives that rest at the top of almost every manufacture's product line. Toggle Flash is a premium component and Toshiba recently released a 24nm version of it. This new flash, Toggle 2 is still 24nm, but it increases the performance from 166MB/s to 200MB/s. It should also reduce the power needed for operation, but we've yet to confirm the power draw.

MyDigitalSSD chose to use both of these emerging components in the same product, the Bullet Proof 3 or BP3. Today we're looking at the MDSSD BP3 512GB, but we haven't even got to the best part yet.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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MyDigitalSSD will run with all the standard capacity sizes from 64GB to a massive 512GB. We suspect a 1TB model is in the works as well judging from the layout of the 512GB model we are looking at today.

MyDigitalSSD claims read performance at 490MB/s with 16K IOPS. Write performance is a claimed 310MB/s at 46K IOPS. These numbers are produced on a SATA III interface and this is the first time Phison has entered the SATA III market.

When comparing the BP3 to power user drives that use SandForce controllers, there is no question that the SandForce drives outperform the BP3 on paper. The Phison S8 is a budget offering though and is designed to be a low-cost solution. As a budget minded product, it has to have the price to back that claim up and MyDigitalSSD has come through in that area.

The BP3 512GB has a normal cost of $499.99, but with a TweakTown coupon code (TT512BP3SAVE25) MyDigitalSSD is taking off another $25. Additionally, the 256GB BP3 model has a coupon code as well (TT512BP3SAVE10) that is good for $10 off.

Being a budget release there aren't any accessories included with the package. We would of liked to of seen a desktop adapter bracket tossed in the package. You do get a three year warranty though which is longer than what many companies provide with their budget SSDs.

MyDigitalSSD BP3 512GB

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Here we get our first look at the new BP3 512GB model. There isn't much too look at on the outside of the drive other than the top sticker.

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The back of our sample is void of any stickers at all. MDSSD is going for the clean and crisp look.

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All of the mounting points are located where they should be on both the side and bottom of the drive. This means you won't run into any issues installing the new BP3 in your notebook or desktop with an adapter bracket (not included).

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The SATA power and data ports are also offset to the left side as they should be.

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The inside is much more impressive to us. On the left side here we see the new Phison S8 controller with a Nanya DRAM buffer just under the controller. There are eight Toshiba Toggle 2 NAND flash chips that make up all 512GB of user capacity.

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Previously we stated that a 1TB model might be in the works. This is why we think that may be an option. There are an additional eight openings for flash if the controller can use the volume.

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The Phison S8 gets a close up. This is the first time we've used this controller and this is also Phison's first SATA III controller.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: AVADirect, GIGABYTE, LSI, Corsair and Noctua.

You can read more about TweakTown's Storage Product Testing Workstation and the procedures followed to test products in this article.

In order to fully utilize SATA III you need a system with native SATA III support. P67, Z68 and Z77 systems are preferred, but AMD has made advances in their newer SATA III systems as well. Older X58 systems with Marvell based SATA III ports do not deliver the same high levels of performance, so we recommend newer systems when available.

ATTO Baseline Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34

ATTO is used by many disk manufacturers to determine the read and write speeds that will be presented to customers.

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In ATTO we achieved a read speed of 460MB/s using the default queue depth of 4. The write speed recorded was just under 315MB/s, which is pretty solid for a 512GB drive.

Benchmarks - HD Tune Pro

HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.00

Developer Homepage: http://www.efdsoftware.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

Benchmark: measures the performance

Info: shows detailed information

Health: checks the health status by using SMART

Error Scan: scans the surface for errors

Temperature display

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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We are starting to amass quite a collection of 512GB models and by the end of the month will have this list full of 480/512GB class drives. The read performance of the MDSSD BP3 is quite good coming in just behind the OCZ Octane 512GB by a small amount. The Vertex 3 512GB is a rocket ship here, but since the SandForce drives get to compress HD Tune Pro data, we'll have to look at some tests that use incompressible data to tell how the BP3 compares.

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At first I wasn't all that impressed with the BP3's write speed until I saw the numbers plotted in this chart. Here we see that the BP3 runs very close to the Octane 512GB and even manages to outperform the Crucial m4 512GB.

Benchmarks - AIDA64 Random Access Time

AIDA64 Random Access Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.60

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

AIDA64 offers several different benchmarks for testing and optimizing your system or network. The Random Access test is one of very few if not only that will measure hard drives random access times in hundredths of milliseconds as oppose to tens of milliseconds.

Drives with only one or two tests displayed in the write test mean that they have failed the test and their Maximum and possibly their Average Scores were very high after the cache fills. This usually happens only with controllers manufactured by JMicron and Toshiba.

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The read access time is one of the most important areas for a SSD to perform well in. The manufacturers like to talk about large numbers because it gets your attention, but in reality, it is the small access numbers that make your programs open rapidly. Here we see the MyDigitalSSD BP3 512GB setting new records for read access time.

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Unfortunately the write access time also set some records too, but not in a good way. We do know that Phison is working on a new firmware release for June or July and in that release the high write latency and low IOPS numbers will be addressed. Hopefully when we return from Computex, we'll have a new firmware waiting for us.

We should also point out that the firmware we are testing with today is pre-release, hence the preview nature of this article.

Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

Developer Homepage: http://crystalmark.info

Product Homepage: http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskMark/index-e.html

Download here: http://crystaldew.info/category/software/crystaldiskmark

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4K and 4K queue depths with accuracy.

Key Features:-

* Sequential reads/writes

* Random 4KB/512KB reads/writes

* Text copy

* Change dialog design

* internationalization (i18n)

Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at 4 and 32.

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IOPS performance is also being addressed in the new firmware. An increase in IOPS will lead to an increase in 4K performance, but here we see that the MyDigitalSSD BP3 is already able to hold its own in 4K read performance.

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The 4K writes could use a bit of a bump especially when it comes to using NCQ. Here we see that the BP3 doesn't scale well when the commands are stacked. Let's hope Phison is able to address this issue and get native command queuing working on the release firmware.

Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage Hard Disk Tests

PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark-vantage/

Buy It Here

PCMark Vantage is the first objective hardware performance benchmark for PCs running 32 and 64 bit versions of Microsoft Windows Vista. PCMark Vantage is perfectly suited for benchmarking any type of Microsoft Windows Vista PC from multimedia home entertainment systems and laptops to dedicated workstations and high-end gaming rigs. Regardless of whether the benchmarker is an artist or an IT Professional, PCMark Vantage shows the user where their system soars or falls flat, and how to get the most performance possible out of their hardware. PCMark Vantage is easy enough for even the most casual enthusiast to use yet supports in-depth, professional industry grade testing.

FutureMark has developed a good set of hard disk tests for their PCMark Vantage Suite. Windows users can count on Vantage to show them how a drive will perform in normal day to day usage scenarios. For most users these are the tests that matter since many of the old hat ways to measure performance have become ineffective to measure true Windows performance.

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HDD1 - Windows Defender

HDD2 - Gaming

HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery

HDD4 - Vista Startup

HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker

HDD6 - Windows Media Center

HDD7 - Windows Media Player

HDD8 - Application Loading

The baseline real-world performance in daily use tasks shows the BP3 performing very well. The drive manages to keep pace with several of the other 512GB class drives.

Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing

PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing

For a complete breakdown on the Drives with Data Testing please read this article. You will be able to perform this test at home with the files provided in the article - full instructions are included.

- Brief Methodology

SSDs perform differently when used for a period of time and when data is already present on the drive. The purpose of the Drives with Data testing is to show how a drive performs in these 'dirty' states. SSDs also need time to recover, either with TRIM or onboard garbage collection methods.

Drives with Data Testing - 25%, 50%, 75% Full States and Dirty / Empty Test

Files needed for 60 (64GB), 120 (128GB), 240 (256GB)

60GB Fill - 15GB, 30GB, 45GB

120GB Fill - 30GB, 60GB, 90GB

240GB Fill - 60GB, 120GB, 160GB

Empty but Dirty - a test run just after the fill tests and shows if a drive needs time to recover or if performance is instantly restored.

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HDD1 - Windows Defender

HDD2 - Gaming

HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery

HDD4 - Vista Startup

HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker

HDD6 - Windows Media Center

HDD7 - Windows Media Player

HDD8 - Application Loading

The performance drop off as the drive fills is not as impressive as the standard baseline test. Here we see that half full the performance drops off by more than 50%. This is an important benchmark to pay attention to since most users don't run their SSD empty.

Benchmarks - AS SSD

AS SSD Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.3577.40358

Developer Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software

Product Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software

Download here: http://www.alex-is.de/PHP/fusion/downloads.php?cat_id=4&download_id=9

AS determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are carried out without the use of the operating system caches.

In all synthetic tests the test file size is 1GB. AS can also determine the access time of the SSD, the access of which the drive is determined to read through the entire capacity of the SSD (Full Stroke). The write access test is only to be met with a 1 GB big test file. At the end of the tests three values for the read and write as well as the overall performance will be issued. In addition to the calculated values which are shown in MB/s, they are also represented in IO per seconds (IOPS).

Note: AS SSD is a great benchmark for many tests, but since Crystal Disk Mark covers a broader range of 4K tests and HD Tune Pro covering sequential speeds, we will only use the Copy Benchmark from AS SSD.

- Copy Benchmark

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When you run a larger SSD you tend to copy data to and from the drive more often since you have the space to do so. The MyDigitalSSD BP3 transfer data performance is very good for a budget drive.

Benchmarks - Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: BETA 11

So what is Anvil Storage Utilities? First of all, it's a storage benchmark for SSDs and HDDs where you can check and monitor your performance. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests, you can run a full test or just the read or the write test or you can run a single test, i.e. 4K DQ16.

Anvil Storage Utilities is not officially available yet but we've been playing with the beta for several months now. The author, Anvil on several international forums has been updating the software steadily and is adding new features every couple of months.

The software can be used several different ways and to show different aspects for each drive. We've chosen to use this software to show the performance of a drive with two different data sets. The first is with compressible data and the second data set is incompressible data. Several users have requested this data in our SSD reviews.

Fill Compressible Data

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Incompressible Data

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You asked for it and we delivered it, Anvil Storage Utilities benchmarks are now on TweakTown.

The first image is from the 0-fill test and the second is from the incompressible data test. As you can see the BP3 does not take a hit when working with incompressible data at all. In fact, the BP3 handles incompressible data even better than compressible data.

Benchmarks - Passmark

Passmark Advanced Multi-User Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.1

Developer Homepage: http://www.passmark.com

Test Homepage: http://www.passmark.com

Many users complain that I/O Meter is too complicated of a benchmark to replicate results so my quest to find an alternative was started. Passmark has added several multi-user tests that measure a hard drives ability to operate in a multi-user environment.

The tests use different settings to mimic basic multi-user operations as they would play out on your server. Variances is read / write percentage as well as random / sequential reads are common in certain applications, Web Servers read nearly 100% of the time while Database Servers write a small amount of data.

The Workstation test is the only single user environment and will be similar to how you use your system at home.

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MyDigitalSSD isn't advertising the BP3 as an enterprise drive, but over the years we've read about several companies using low-cost consumer SSDs in their enterprise environments. With the write NCQ not working, the BP3 wouldn't be a good candidate for enterprise tasks.

Final Thoughts

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Today we're just going to preview the MyDigitalSSD BP3 since we don't have access to the release firmware just yet. As you know the SSD market is really heating up, just last month we previewed the OCZ Vertex 4 and then had to test a new firmware release just a few weeks later. The MDSSD BP3 will put us in a similar situation, but we don't mind since we're able to tell you about another new technology before it's officially release.

When it comes to the new firmware we're hearing that Phison is working on increasing IOPS performance, an area where the BP3 falls behind the competition. We're hoping that native command queuing write performance is also addressed in the initial release as well. Time will tell.

The MyDigitalSSD BP3 is already available for pre-order at MyDigitalDiscount.com. MDD will have the 512GB model that we previewed today for $499.99, but they have also sent over a TweakTown coupon code (TT512BP3SAVE25) that takes $25 off of your BP3 512GB order. The 256GB drive is available for pre-order as well and it gets a $10 coupon code (TT512BP3SAVE10).

After a quick scan at Newegg we see that the price of the 512GB model is better than most high capacity 2.5" drives on the market today and that is even before the $25 coupon code is included.

Let's hope that MyDigitalSSD and Phison are able to get the new firmware ready soon so we can take advantage of these new low-cost, high capacity drives. We're going to pay very close attention, don't worry.

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Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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