With SandForce on the verge of releasing the new SF-2000 Series controller, some may wonder why we are bothering with 2010 technology. The truth is that the darling 2010 controller will end up being a low cost, high speed controller for the first part of 2011. SandForce partners will be very aggressive with pricing on both old and new technology in 2011 to push market adaption, but it's safe to say that existing products will cost less than those fresh from the oven.
MemoRight is a premium SSD manufacturer that specializes in high performance, high reliability solid state drives. Even though the company can't be considered very old when compared to some of the larger players, their experience in solid state drive technology is just as impressive as many of the names we associate with SSDs.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Like many other SandForce manufacturers, MemoRight ran through the entire capacity range with the FTM-25 Series. We will be looking at the 240GB model in detail today, but several other capacity sizes are available and they range from 50GB and go all the way to 480GB.
MemoRight offers several SSD lines; the FTM-25 that we are looking at today uses multi-level cell flash technology and pairs it with the phenomenal SandForce SF-1200 controller. Even now with new SATA 6G SSDs hitting the market the SandForce SF-1200 offers some of the best performance vs. cost benefits available.
When it comes to performance the FTM-25 Series of products offers a claimed 280MB/s read speed and 270MB/s write speed. These are for the most part the limits of SATA 3G as implemented by most motherboard manufacturers. The FTM-25 Series also offers 30K 4K IOPS read performance and 10K write performance.
The only issue we've found is actually trying to find the MemoRight FTM-25 to verify pricing. After a few global searches on Google we came up empty handed. MemoRight is still trying to establish their global network of distributors and resellers, but we were surprised by the results since the company has such a good history of manufacturing high performance products.
MemoRight put together an attractive package for the FTM-25 Series. On the front we don't get a lot of information, but we do have a nice presentation.
On the back MemoRight made up for the lack of information on the front. Here we see a list of key features and possible applications for the drive.
On the inside of the package we found everything tucked in nicely. The drive doesn't come with a desktop adapter bracket or a bunch of fancy accessories, but it does have a three year warranty.
The MemoRight FTM-25 240GB SSD
On the front of the actual drive MemoRight carried over the same green nebula theme used on the box art. The label clearly displays the drives model series and capacity size.
The back label has the full model number, capacity size and serial number.
The side of the drive has both mounting points where they should be. This will allow you to install the drive in your notebook and desktop adapter easily.
The SATA power and data ports are also where they should be, so you can install the drive in an enclosure.
This is the first time we've seen this PCB layout. The SandForce controller is offset to one side of the PCB and not in the middle.
On the back we found two empty spaces for super caps. This leads us to the conclusion that MemoRight is using the same PCB for both the consumer and enterprise models. Considering the amount of time that goes into engineering the enterprise drives, this can only be a good thing for consumers.
Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance
We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: AVADirect, GIGABYTE, Cooler Master, 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.
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.
In ATTO we found solid performance from the MemoRight FTM-25 240GB drive, but the lack of high 4K programming left the FTM-25 around 30MB/s slower than some of the other premium SandForce SF-1200 drives at 4K write. The other thing we noticed is that the maximum read speed of 277MB/s was a little lower than the 285MB/s observed on many of the other SF drives.
The performance delivered by the MemoRight FTM-25 is very good even though there are some drives on the market that are a bit faster in this synthetic test. We will keep an eye on things and see how the synthetic performance affects real world performance.
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
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.
In our charts we get to see the MemoRight FTM-25 240GB drive go head to head with the OCZ Technology Vertex 2 240GB. In the US and in most parts of the world the Vertex 2 is recognized as baseline for all other SandForce drives to compete with. Here we see the MemoRight lagging behind the Vertex 2, but the results aren't as clear cut as they seem.
Later firmware releases from SandForce and their partners have reduced the write speeds in some of these synthetic tests, so comparing the Vertex 2 with early firmware to the FTM-25 with the latest firmware is not as cut and dry. We will focus on the real world performance later in this article, an area where the new firmware shines brightly.
The write speed of the MemoRight FTM-25 is consistent with other SF-1200 controlled drives we've reviewed in the past.
Benchmarks - Everest Random Access Time
Everest Random Access Time
Version and / or Patch Used: 4.60
Developer Homepage: http://www.lavalys.com
Product Homepage: http://www.lavalys.com
Everest Ultimate and Corporate Edition offer 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 write the write test mean that they have failed the test and their Maximum and possibly their Average Scores were very high after the cached fills. This usually happens only with controllers manufactured by JMicron.
The access time on the newer firmware takes a little longer to read data, but the results are still far better than any platter drive. It is the access time that makes your applications and windows feel fast and the FTM-25 feels very quick.
The write access times are relatively unchanged with the newer firmware.
Benchmarks - 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.
* Sequential reads/writes
* Random 4KB/512KB reads/writes
* Text copy
* Change dialog design
* internationalization (i18n)
Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 is not available to the public yet, but the Technical Preview does allow us to test 4K performance at queue depths of 4 and 32 in addition to 1. The current release Crystal Disk Mark only shows us QD 1.
When looking at the 4K results we have to consider the newer firmware on the FTM-25 and also the slower programming used by MemoRight. SandForce charges a fee to enable the 'High IOPS' feature and MemoRight didn't choose to enable the function. If it was enabled the FTM-25 would perform a little better at the 4K block size.
The lack of High IOPS in 4K writes didn't keep the MemoRight FTM-25 down here. In this test we see the FTM-25 running with the Vertex 2 240GB drive and even outperforming it in some tests.
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.
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
With the synthetic benchmarks out of the way we can finally start to look at some real world usage models. Here we see the MemoRight FTM-25 filling the graph a little better than the Vertex 2. This is mainly due to the newer firmware that allows the 240GB drives to run a little faster in many real world scenarios.
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
The same is true with the copy benchmark. Here we see the newer firmware found on the FTM-25 doing a better job of the firmware that was on the Vertex 2 when we tested it. This was a really big deal for SandForce when the latest firmware was released since the SF drives were a bit slower than the competition when working with compressed data. The new firmware has really enabled SandForce partners to step up their game when it comes to copying data to and from the drive when the data is compressed.
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.
The SandForce SF-1200 controller used in the MemoRight FTM-25 was derived from the enterprise SF-1500 controller and both are very fast when used in enterprise models. Here we see that FTM-25 running with the Vertex 2 240GB drive in all of the tests. MemoRight also builds enterprise specific drives with SLC flash.
When I think of MemoRight I think of their long history as a SSD manufacturer. Back when SSDs cost a few thousand dollars MemoRight was a leader in the technology. Since then MemoRight has been fairly quiet and allowed their competition to take a leading role in this market. The fact that we can't find the FTM-25 available for sale really goes to highlight this point. What we really need to see from MemoRight going forward is a distribution model with resellers attached to it.
The SSD marketplace is getting very thick and many companies are trying to do the same thing. Many of these companies are just involved in the short term, when profits are high and reselling existing products with their own label. MemoRight isn't in the short term market; they are one of the first to offer quality SSDs. Making their products available, though, is the only way to remain a player. Hopefully MemoRight can achieve this goal so we can all enjoy their high quality products.
When it comes to the FTM-25 time is running out on this product SKU. Most manufacturers are starting to populate their remaining SF-1200 stock with 25nm flash in an effort to reduce costs and increase profitability. I'm glad to see that MemoRight hasn't made this move yet since the 25nm flash reduces product life expectancy and drastically reduces performance.
The MemoRight FTM-25 is a champ when it comes to performance, one of the last true SF-1200 / 34nm flash drives I may ever review. Still, all of the performance in the world might be packed in this aluminum housing, but it doesn't do anyone any good if you can't actually buy it.
We look forward to seeing the next SandForce based product from MemoRight. I have no doubt that the company is hard at work engineering a SF-2200 based product as I type. MemoRight's strength is in the engineering, a department where so many others don't even turn the lights on.