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ADATA Premier Pro SP900 (0-provision) 256GB Solid State Drive Review

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Apr 30, 2012 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 65%Manufacturer: ADATA

Final Thoughts




Let's get this TRIM issue out of the way first. I've sent SandForce my findings and hopefully the next firmware from them will correct any issue they are able to verify. ADATA has always been very good about updating their SSD products downloads pages with new firmware as it rolls out. The image above shows the ADATA S511 download page and all of the listings. For now let's just chalk this one up to another SSD firmware issue that made it to retail. Even Intel, whom is widely regarded as having the least amount of these issues has a few red marks on their track record. Also, not every company can have a Chris Ramseyer running around in the lab to find these issues. I suggest companies figure out a cloning machine and then we can talk licensing fees. :)


Looking at the firmware download page for the ADATA S511 does bring up another issue. As an owner of a few S511s, why aren't ADATA and the other Team SandForce companies giving us the new firmware that increases performance (and breaks TRIM at this time)? The ADATA S511 uses synchronous flash from IMFT just like the new SX900. The SX900 and SP900 use the new third generation flash, but I doubt that has much of an effect on the performance since most performance comes from programming and firmware. The S510 (async) and S511 (sync) have been on the market for quite a while so I can see why the marketing departments want new model numbers to help generate a buzz about ADATA products. But the fact remains that these older drives are damn near identical to the new models... minus the new, higher speed firmware. Owners of these older models might end up a little ticked off about losing out on the latest and greatest firmware and I wouldn't blame them at all. The company that releases a fixed version 5 firmware for an older model will gain my respect very quickly and also gain my endorsement of their products. Till then, this SandForce re-launch with a faster firmware is only going to burn existing owners of these products.


The SP900 that we are looking at today has the new 0 provision programming which is pretty cool on paper, but in real-life use it has little meaning. You can fill your SSD with more data, but no one wants to do that because the drive slows down too much. The async models are going to take a bigger performance hit so the SP900 gets a double whammy when full. Just because you have it doesn't mean you need to use it.


The issues for the SP900 don't stop there though. As this article turns into a total hit piece I'm reminded that ADATA was once a very good SSD manufacture that competed heavily in the low cost price game. That is no longer the case. At the time of writing the SP900 256GB sells for $309.99 at Newegg. To ADATA's credit this is a new product and Newegg artificially inflates new product prices, but that still isn't an excuse for the SP900 256GB async flash drive to cost a full $109 more than the Corsair Force Series 3 240GB ($199.99 after a $30 mail-in-rebate). The Muskin Chronos Deluxe with very good 34nm Toshiba Toggle Mode flash, AKA the really, really good stuff sells for just $249.99 at Newegg and at 50% full (of data on the drive) delivers nearly twice the performance of the SP900.


Somewhere along the path ADATA has lost their way. Two years ago this drive wouldn't have hit the market at this price or in this condition. We can't pin all of the issues on ADATA, but we certainly can't say they aren't without fault either. Hopefully someone over there is able to get it together and give us back the quality of products that earned ADATA several awards for their SSDs in the past.



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