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Strontium HAWK Series 120GB SSD Review

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Sep 19, 2012 5:09 pm
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Strontium



Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

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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.




With latency a wash as far as the Hynix flash bringing anything new to the table, we move on to CDM. I didn't expect CDM to show a difference, but once again, I was wrong.


In this chart we see the incompressible data reads. Starting from the bottom of each group up we have sequential read performance. The Strontium HAWK is down quite a bit when compared to the other SF-2281 drives in this test, around 100MB/s. Let's skip the 512b test since it is nearly the same as the sequential read test.


The Strontium HAWK is also down a bit on the 4K read speed, just 25.6MB/s, down from the 35ish we see on the Intel 510 Series and OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS. Then we get to the NCQ tests where the HAWK jumps right up with the other SF-2281 drives with a solid 62MB/s. The QD32 test shows the HAWK still scaling, all the way up to 205MB/s. We haven't see a 120GB drive with a SandForce controller do that in a very long time. The last time was when we tested the Vertex 3 Max IOPS and that was on firmware 3.3.4.




The real difference can be found on the incompressible data write side of things. This is an area where we know the flash can really make a difference since we observed really large gains when testing SLC drives.


We often talk about the SF-2281 120GB 'brick wall' when writing incompressible data. Some drives stop at 160MB/s, some at 190MB/s and a very small number of drives manage to push through the boundaries as if nothing were there to stop them. The Strontium HAWK is in the last group.


The Strontium HAWK is the fastest SF-2281 / MLC incompressible data writer we've tested to date. The incompressible sequential speed is over 305MB/s, a new record for SandForce 120GB MLC. The single 4K write is on average with the other Team SandForce MLC drives at 130MB/s, but the native command queuing performance scales well past the traditional brick wall. QD4 delivers an amazing 253.2MB/s and QD32 takes it to just over 260MB/s.


We can attribute this to the flash and programming because we have firmware 5.0.4 on a couple of other 120GB drives and they all still have the brick wall affect.

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