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RunCore Pro V MAX 240GB Solid State Drive Review

RunCore reaches for IMFT synchronous flash to power the new Pro V SandForce 2281 SSD controlled model.

@TweakTown
Published Thu, May 3 2012 10:48 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:01 PM CST
Rating: 87%Manufacturer: RunCore

Introduction

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VIEW GALLERY - 24 IMAGES

The last solid state drive we tested from RunCore was the Pro V. To our surprise this drive used asynchronous flash and the performance suffered because of it. The Pro V hit the market very late, over a full year since OCZ handed us several Vertex 3 products. If the standard Pro V was late then the Pro V MAX is on a different area on the timeline.

The RunCore Pro V MAX model that we are looking at today is RunCore's attempt to compete at the high-end. The MAX uses 25nm IMFT synchronous flash just like several other drives on the market.

SandForce has made significant advances in performance and stability since the first crop of SF-2281 drives hit the market, but even with those onboard, can the Pro V MAX compete in today's saturated market?

To start answering that question we first have to find an e-tailer that lists the new Pro V MAX. We managed to do so at My Digital Discount, but the price is not all that favorable. At the time of writing the MDD price for the 240GB model that we are testing today is $469.99. The RunCore Pro V MAX isn't going to have a price advantage over our latest award winning SSDs.

Now let's look at the performance and see if the MAX has the performance to justify the cost.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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Just like the original Pro V, the Pro V MAX model is shipping in 60GB, 120GB, 240GB and a massive 480GB capacity size.

RunCore claims a maximum read speed of 560MB/s and a maximum write speed of 525MB/s. These are up slightly from the claimed performance for most products based on the SF-2281 controller with synchronous flash. The indicated IOPS numbers are 50K random read and 60K random write.

The Pro V MAX uses a 2.5" form factor that is 9.5mm high. RunCore just announced a new 7mm z-height drive, but this is not it. Our test sample arrived OEM style - no retail box, desktop adapter bracket, SATA cable or documentation, but all of these are included with the retail drive.

Also included is a software package that is pre-installed on the drive itself. To get the software you need to plug the drive in as a spare drive and copy the folder over to another drive before installing Windows in your new RunCore SSD. The software package includes Acronis TrueImage 2010, Adobe Reader and six PDF documents that will get you up and running.

At the time of writing the new Pro V MAX is a new product for RunCore and not many are available in the wild. MyDigitalDiscount.com has the 240GB model that we are looking at today listed at $469.99, but we look for this price to change soon.

RunCore Pro V MAX 240GB SSD

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As we stated previously, our MAX sample arrived like an OEM drive this time. We wanted a fresh, untouched sample straight from the line and not a round-robin review drive and that is what we received. This way the flash is still fresh and we can get the drive to steady state in the same manner we do most of our review samples. This is important because the last test run by another reviewer can affect our results, an issue we ran into with the Pro V review a few months back.

The retail model of the Pro V MAX includes a retail box, SATA cable, documentation, desktop adapter bracket and the drive that you'll see here today.

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Here we get our first look at the RunCore Pro V MAX. RunCore has used this case before on other models. So, the outside doesn't really have anything new (other than the label on the other side). The housing is built from aluminum, all the way around.

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The specific model number for the 240GB Pro V MAX is RCP-V-T2524-MCS. Given that RunCore has several products listed under the Pro V you will want to pay close attention to the model number when placing your order.

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As mentioned previously, the MAX uses a 9.5mm z-height. This is the typical notebook standard for SATA drives these days. Some new Ultrabooks now use 7mm height drives and RunCore has SSD for that specification.

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All of the mounting points are located where they should be so you won't run into any issue with the Pro V MAX fitting in your notebook or desktop. In a desktop installation you can use the included desktop adapter bracket that will allow the drive to fit in a standard 3.5" form factor bay.

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Inside we found Intel 25nm synchronous flash (CCME3), the same as several ultra-high performance drives these days.

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There are sixteen flash chips, eight on each side.

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, Z77 and X79 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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When I first read about RunCore's 560MB/s claim on the read performance I was a bit weary, but as you can see here, RunCore pulled it off. We even managed to get a little higher in our testing, but not a full megabytes worth. The claimed write speed of 530MB/s was a little off, but not by much.

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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As you can see we changed the charts up a bit. By dividing the products into similar capacity models on the chart we can show more products that compete in price in each review.

The RunCore Pro V MAX 240GB starts out strong and produces the highest sequential read in this test that we've recorded to date with a single 2.5" form factor drive.

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The sequential write speed is also very high. The Pro V MAX is able to keep up with the SanDisk Extreme (with 24nm flash) and Intel 520 Series (with special Intel firmware).

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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High sequential numbers make for good marketing but most users notices the extremely fast actions after moving to SSDs. The feeling of fast most notice comes from the low access times which are what we measure on this page.

The RunCore Pro V MAX 240GB has very low read access times for a SandForce based drive. On the chart you can see the results from a handful of other SandForce drives (Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 520 Series and Extreme SSD). The MAX beats them all in this test.

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The write access times were also lower than the other SandForce based drives, but by less of a margin in the write test.

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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In CDM we're looking at 4K and NCQ performance. The MAX outperforms SanDisk Extreme, a drive that uses the latest 24nm Toggle Mode Flash, in the single command 4K test. This caught us off guard since we've considered the Extreme to be the fastest 4K drive to date. The MAX came in the middle of the pack in the 4 command test and near the back in the 32 command test.

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The 4K write test showed the Pro V MAX performing in line with other SandForce SF-2281 based drives.

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

In the standard Vantage Test the RunCore Pro V MAX ran with the Intel 520 Series SSD and nearly broke into the 80K range. The numbers look very good with the drive empty; let's have a look at our version of this test which we prefer.

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

Before we get started we need to point out that the SanDisk Extreme currently has an issue with TRIM. With a fresh drive the Extreme produces a score of around 86K Marks. We decided to show the Extreme under the same 'dirty' state as the other drives. When SanDisk releases a firmware update that fixes the TRIM issue, we'll re-test and update the numbers on our charts.

In the drives with data test we like to use the 50% mark. This is a PCMark Vantage test with the drive half empty or half full however you want to look at it. At this state the MAX scores nearly 46K. This is a bit faster than the Plextor M3 Pro, but a little lower than the Intel 520 Series 240GB and the SanDisk Extreme 240GB drives.

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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This is one area where I really liked what RunCore managed to do with their new Pro V MAX. In the file copy test the drive was very consistent - over 300MB/s in each test.

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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Being a SandForce based drive the RunCore Pro V MAX will slow when incompressible data (data that is compressed) is read and written to the drive.

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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RunCore lists the Pro V MAX in the consumer products area of their website so it isn't advertised as an enterprise class drive. We've heard from several administrators about their use of consumer class SSDs in their servers, though. Because of that, we like to run these tests on the consumer drives and see how they settle in.

Final Thoughts

The RunCore Pro V MAX is a typical RunCore SSD in almost every way. The drive is fast enough to compete with the highest performing products on the market, but at the same time is priced so high that you would be foolish to actually buy one.

Let's look at the performance first. The RunCore Pro V MAX runs with the Intel 520 Series and SanDisk Extreme SSD. These three SandForce SF-2281 based drives are right together in almost every single test. In some cases the MAX even outperforms both of these other products. The Pro V MAX is a very fast drive.

Keeping with the 240GB capacity size, the size we tested today, RunCore is positioning this drive at $549.99. It's been a very long time since we've seen a 240GB SSD based on a SandForce controller priced that high... like two years ago.

To put it in perspective, the SanDisk Extreme SSD 240GB is selling at Newegg today for $289.99 and the Intel 520, one of the most expensive consumer class SSDs on the market at this time is selling for $344.99. You can't quite get a two for the price of a MAX from either the SanDisk or the Intel models, but the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB, another SandForce SF-2281 based drive with synchronous flash can be purchased at $249.99 each today.

At this time it really doesn't matter how good the performance of the RunCore Pro V MAX is. The price is the limiting factor and one of two areas that is holding RunCore back. The other is availability. RunCore does not have a large market presence, so finding their products for less than MSRP isn't exactly easy. For years MyDigitalDiscount.com, an SSD specialty e-tailer carried several RunCore products, but that seems to be fading. All is not lost though and RunCore has big plans that should change both of these problem areas.

RunCore is building a massive factory to manufacture their SSDs, maybe the largest in the world when completed. When the factory is finished and all of the SMT lines are operations, we should start to see the prices come down and the availability increase by a large margin. Let's hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

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