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Data Memory Systems Celerity 6G Plus 120GB Solid State Drive Review

It's like the full size model, only thinner and a little faster. Check out our first SSD review from DMS.
@TweakTown
Published Sun, May 13 2012 11:11 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 83%Manufacturer: Data Memory Systems

Introduction

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VIEW GALLERY - 26 IMAGES

We all know about OCZ's Vertex Series and Corsair's Force series of products, but there are several other companies out there producing really good SSDs. Over the next couple of weeks we'll focus on some of the best SSDs that you've never heard of. There are diamonds in the rough and we're going to find them for you.

First up in this limited series of reviews is a product from Data Memory Systems. DMS is a PC and MAC e-tailer who took on the task of becoming a solid state drive seller. Their Celerity product line is sold under the DMS brand and the company offers a couple of different versions based on component choices.

The DMS Celerity 6G Plus uses the SandForce SF-2281 controller, our current top pick for low cost, high performance consumer SSDS, and pairs it with IMFT 25nm synchronous flash.

This is a song we sing often, but this time it is from another type of company, one who offers personalized service, like going to your local hometown bank and every teller knowing your name. For many, having that 'part of the family' relationship is just as important as getting a low price.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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DMS's house brand Celerity series of products are based on the same model that most Team SandForce companies use. There is a synchronous flash product, an asynchronous flash product and even a SATA II (3Gbps) class. Sitting at the top is the Celerity 6G Plus and today we'll look at the 120GB drive.

The drive itself ships with all of the SandForce goodies enabled and DMS lists all of the buzzwords on their site. The 6G Plus is available from datamemorysystems.com directly and they carry 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacity sizes. The baseline Celerity 6G, the asynchronous model is available in the same capacity sizes, but also includes a 60GB model.

DMS takes the term bare drive seriously and that is exactly what you get in the package. You do get a three year no hassle warranty, but items like desktop adapter brackets, cables, data migration software are all extra, but can be purchased on the site.

That leads us into the price and the only real issue we found with the Celerity 6G Plus. Our 120GB drive that we are looking at today sells for $239. That price was pretty good when the SF-2281 based drives launched, but it's a bit unrealistic now.

Hopefully after this review hits the site DMS takes a look at the competitions pricing and makes some adjustments.

DMS Celerity 6G Plus 120GB SSD

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Data Memory Systems certainly takes the minimalist thing seriously as you can see here. With most manufactures we'd call this an OEM package, but for the Celerity this is all you get.

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The drive is safe and secure and the box our drive shipped in was quite strong.

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Here we get our first look at the drive itself. We're a sucker for red; you really can't go wrong with it.

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The label on the back gives us quite a bit of info. The capacity size is the focus point, but we're more interested in the firmware at this time. Our sample shipped with firmware 3.3.4. Most of the drives we've tested lately use 3.2 or what we believe is 5.2. The 5.2 drives seem to have an issue with TRIM, but from the small number of 3.3.4 drives we've tested, the 3.3.4 seems to be the best SandForce firmware to date.

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DMS positioned all of the mounting points where they should be so you won't have an issue installing this drive in your notebook or in your desktop with a bracket adapter (not included).

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The SATA power and data ports are where they should be.

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25nm synchronous flash from Micron is used, sixteen total with eight on each side. Here we also see the SandForce SF-2281 controller.

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We should point out that DMS's SSDs are assembled in the USA!

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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In our testing with ATTO to find the baseline performance we achieved a massive 560MB/s read speed and just under 520MB/s write speed. The Celerity 6G Plus is starting off very well!

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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The new firmware has shown really good performance in our testing so far and the DMS Celerity 6G Plus proves it. With a maximum read speed of 441MB/s, one of the highest recorded to data with a 2.5" drive, we're certainly impressed. That number drops down to 414MB/s on average and there were a few short dips along the way.

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For some reason the Celerity 6G Plus we tested had several dips in sequential performance at the start of the test and that really hampered the average score. Once getting past the dips everything leveled off and the drive wrote data very quickly.

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 notice the extremely fast actions after moving to SSDs. The feeling of fast comes from the low access times which are what we measure on this page.

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The DMS Celerity 6G Plus falls in line with other drives based on SandForce SF-2281 controllers and paired with synchronous flash.

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. In the read category the 6G Plus is down to the Plextor M3 Pro when the commands stack up. In the single request test the 6G Plus outperforms everything on the chart. This is an important feat for mainstream users because getting into high queue depths isn't possible without heavy multitasking.

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Here we can pick through and find some drives that are a bit faster than the 6G Plus, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this drive is pretty quick on its own.

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

I really like this firmware release; it delivers performance all over and doesn't compromise features. Here we see another solid performance for the Celerity 6G Plus.

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

We prefer a different kind of Vantage test around here though, one that shows the drives in a closer to real-world aspect.

Using the middle blue line on the chart we see the how each drive performance when filled to 50% of total capacity. The Plextor M3 Pro and Intel 520 are the top performers here, but the DMS Celerity 6G Plus isn't far behind.

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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SandForce worked hard to increase file transfer performance of their controllers and I think we've just about peaked with this firmware release. As you can see the 6G Plus is very close to the leading drives in each category.

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.

Compressible Data

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Incompressible Data

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Being a SandForce based drive the DMS Celerity 6G Plus will slow when incompressible data (data that is compressed) is read and written to the drive. Several users have asked us to publish our Anvil Storage Utilities benchmark results. We are currently working on a chart format for these tests.

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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DMS isn't labeling the Celerity 6G Plus as an enterprise drive, but we've heard from several readers who've already started using consumer SSDs in their enterprise environments. Since the SandForce SF-2281 is a close relative to the SF-2500 enterprise controller we can see why.

Final Thoughts

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I always enjoy searching the web and trade shows for new companies that may one day challenge for the top spot in a product category. With Computex Taipei 2012 right around the corner, we're going to see more articles like this. Little did I know when my quest started that I would find our first test subject so close to home. Data Memory Systems is right here in the US... Salem, New Hampshire to be specific.

When I think of that area of the country, it's like going back in time. There is so much history out east - hell, it is where the US started with the colonies. Many things are still old fashion out there and DMS is still a part of that friendly, old school era. When you call DMS you get a person on the other end of the line. "Hello, thanks for calling. What can we do for you?" There are so many places and so many companies that just don't offer that type of service. Most companies these days think Facetwit is where customer service starts.

Getting real service and real support, before and after the sale tends to cost companies a little more so the products are a bit more expensive. The Celerity 6G Plus is in that category. The 120GB drive we looked at today is available for $239. It's not the most expensive 120GB SSD on the market right now, but it's not the cheapest either.

When it comes to performance, the drive is a beast. A big part of that comes from the new 3.3.4 firmware, but the choice of flash also plays a role. The 6G Plus is also very stable, another credit to the firmware. This is the kind of SSD that you buy and use for several years. Sure, there are newer drives with new 24nm flash, but DMS hasn't jumped on that bandwagon and is keeping the 6G Plus reliable.

All things considered the DMS Celerity 6G Plus is a good release, but I think the price is going to hold most of you back from ordering. It's too bad we didn't test this drive when the SF-2281 era started because the price would have fit with the mainstream SSD makers. The additional exposure might have given DMS the opportunity to battle it out in the low cost arena.

We'll keep an eye on Data Memory Systems for future releases and let you know what comes down the pipe. The company has been around for more than 20 years, so they aren't going to fade away any time soon.

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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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