I recently took the MTRON MOBI 3.5 inch desktop SSD
for a test drive and found the performance of the latest SSDs to be breathtaking, but costly. At this time, SSD for the desktop feels like a long way away due to high costs, but there is one market that is adopting the technology at a rapid rate. The notebook market has been begging for low cost SSD technology for many years, and for the last three they have started to implement the drives into their flagship products. Mid-priced models are starting to see SSD technology in the upgradable options list and the price is coming down. For mobile users, SSD technology offers more benefits over its desktop brethren. When was the last time you were worried about how much power your desktop was using or found yourself rushing to get a document finished before your power shut off? For most business travelers, battery life is vital to closing a big deal or making that cross country flight halfway enjoyable. Standard hard drives draw a lot of power since they need to spin a platter and move the read/write heads across the internal disks, a mechanical action that requires a large amount of power. Solid State Drives lose all mechanical movements and the result is lower power consumption. Additionally, the loss of mechanical actions makes SSDs able to withstand large impact loads, such as a notebook drop. The US military has been using SSD technology for years in their systems that are required in the field where harsh conditions and frequent impacts are common.
Specifications, Availability and PricingSpecifications, Availability and PricingMfgr's part number
: 32GBForm Factor
: Standard 2.5"Dimensions
: Standard 2.5", 1146.0(L),101.6(W), 20(H) mmInterface
: SATA (Serial-ATA 150)Unique feature(s)
: Fastest read speed of any SSD!Rated Performance
: 120MB/s read, 90MB/s write, .1ms access, 76K sequential IOPSEnclosure
: Aluminum caseWarranty
: 5 Years In our previous MTRON review, we found that the MOBI was the lowest priced SSD on the market, available from DVNation.com
for around 1300 US Dollars. Today we are looking at the MTRON PRO and the specifications claim it to be the fastest SSD on the market.
Our MTRON PRO 2.5 32GB SATA came to us as a loaner from the guys at DVNation.com
. Jason will be sending us the latest and greatest SSD drives as they become available, and we will be writing articles and showing what they can do. I would like to take a few minutes to tell you a little about DV Nation. The company is located in San Antonio, Texas and they sell only one thing, the most advanced SSD products available on the market. DV Nation doesn't manufacture any of their SSDs, but they work closely with the companies that do; so close that when a drive becomes available they buy a large wholesale batch, unlike many companies that will only place an order when they sell a drive, adding to the shipping time before you, the buyer receives the product. While 32GB might seem like a small amount of storage space, for the business traveler carrying Microsoft Word Documents and Power Point Presentations it should be plenty. Even after putting a couple of DVDs on the system to watch on a flight there should be plenty of space left over for additional files gathered at the destination. The limited space will keep us from testing with BAPCO's Mobile Mark 2007. Mobile Mark 2007 requires 30GB of storage space to be available.
The MTRON PRO SSDThe MTRON PRO SSD
From the top, you can see that the PRO was made like the MOBI we looked at last week, with an aluminium case.
The bottom is also brushed aluminium; you can also see the standard SATA connectors here too.
From the side you can see that the MTRON PRO has standard mounting holes, just like any 2.5 inch notebook drive.
A look from the rear shows the SATA connectors. Everything is lined up as it should, making installation in a notebook very easy. In my Lenovo T61 the drive slid right in.
Benchmarks - Test System Setup and HD Tune ProTest System Processor
: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 (Supplied by Intel
: MSI X38 Diamond (Supplied by MSI Computer
: 2x 1GB DDR2-1200 (Supplied by Winchip
: ASUS HD 3870 TOP (Supplied by ASUS
: GIGABYTE 3D Galaxy II (Supplied by GIGABYTE
: Microsoft Windows Vista UltimateDrivers
: Intel INF 188.8.131.529, ForceWare 163.21The above setup is what will be used for all hard disk reviews hereon. Hard disks designed primarily for use in notebooks are also tested in the above system. However, some tests which are for determining the effect on battery life simply cannot be run on a desktop. All battery related tests are performed on a Lenovo T61 with WiFi enabled. HD Tune ProVersion and / or Patch Used:
3.00Developer 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. Read and Write Tests
MTRON PRO 32GB SSD Read
Western Digital Raptor 150 GB Read
The Western Digital Raptor is the standard for enthusiasts, but as you can see, the MTRON PRO is faster in every aspect other than the burst rate. Once you are outside of the sweet spot on the Raptor the read speed is cut in half, but the MTRON keeps right on going at full speed.
MTRON PRO 32GB SSD Write
Western Digital Raptor 150 GB Write
Write performance struck me as a little odd, as I was expecting the MTRON PRO to wipe the floor with the Raptor but they traded benchmarks back and forth. Access Times
Aside from lower power consumption, SSD technology has given us access times that are almost non-existent. While the Raptor and other standard hard drives need to wait for the platter to spin around to where the data is located, like a record player, SSDs do not have this limitation.As per our previous SSD test, the MTRON PRO has a read access time of just .1 ms and a write access time of .2 ms.
Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage Hard Disk TestsPCMark Vantage - Hard Disk TestsVersion and / or Patch Used:
xDeveloper Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct 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. These tests are based on real world applications that many of us use daily.
HDD1 - Windows DefenderHDD2 - GamingHDD3 - Windows Photo GalleryHDD4 - Vista StartupHDD5 - Windows Movie MakerHDD6 - Windows Media CenterHDD7 - Windows Media PlayerHDD8 - Application LoadingIn this collection of real world applications and scenarios, we find the MTRON PRO obliterating the Raptor. In just about every test the MTRON PRO performed twice as fast as Western Digital's fastest Raptor.
Benchmarks - Real World ApplicationsWinRAR
Millions of computer enthusiasts all over the world use WinRAR, it is pretty popular with Joe Sixpack also.
In the WinRAR tests the PRO bests the Raptor by a much larger margin than the MOBI did. Quickpar
Quickpar is necessary for users of Usenet, the software has started to make its way to the Bit-Torrent scene and now millions of users are starting to repair their botched downloads with it.
In Quickpar the PRO once again shows that it is the superior drive. Adobe Audition
Formally known as Cool Edit Pro, Audition is a professional audio application that makes touching up files in the recording booth a breeze.
In this test, the MTRON PRO was able to save the work performed ten seconds faster than the Raptor.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
From everything I have seen by looking at two of MTRONs most popular products, the technology has two areas that it will need to overcome before being considered a true consumer level product. The first is price; the MTRON PRO as of this writing, costs 1159.00 US Dollars as tested in 32GB form. The next limiting factor is size. A full install of Vista Ultimate with necessary drivers is going to take up close to 20GB, and that is before Office is installed. Most business travelers will use a version of Vista that is not so bloated, but the truly technical traveler will ditch Vista all together and install XP to regain a little extra battery life. At first I didn't think being limited to only 32GB would be an issue for me until I went to install BAPCOs Mobile Mark 2007 and realized that I couldn't install the software.All things considered, the MTRON PRO is fast and I have no doubt that notebooks will gain a decent amount of battery time by using it (we will have to test this when a larger SSD in 2.5 inch form comes around). At this time, I can't recommend the MTRON PRO to anyone that needs to fill their notebook with the usual goodies like Office, Acrobat and other typical programs that we all use every day as the amount of space just isn't enough. The good news is that larger 2.5 inch notebook SSDs are available and DV Nation carries a large assortment. The bad news is that 64GB will cost about the same as a decently loaded notebook, and 128GB would cost what a full system does at a boutique dealer like Alienware, close to 4000 US Dollars.