Version and / or Patch Used: 2012 1.5
One of the largest selling points for this SSD is the low power consumption.
The Optima delivered 280 minutes in our Mobile Mark 2012 test, the fifth best in this capacity size.
The only thing that could possibly keep this drive from receiving our highest award is if it catches on fire, eats our data due to reliability issues or sprouts legs and runs away. None of those have happened yet. We first tested the Silicon Motion 2246EN at Flash Memory Summit 2013, so SM hasn't rushed this controller to market. From the start, Silicon Motion targeted the low-cost market, so this isn't a performance SSD controller that's no longer able to compete in the hyper performance market.
When you design a product for the middle of the road, the pressure is off to bring home the crown of flagship performance. Over the years, we've tested controllers from Marvell, Phison and LSI SandForce that were geared towards the mainstream with 4-channels, but all of those companies derived the silicon from very high performance parts. Silicon Motion went the other way and targeted the mainstream.
It's not like SMI cut any corners either with the technology other than the 4-channel design. This controller supports hardware encryption for TCG Opal support, uses advanced power states to reduce power consumption, and supports a wide range of flash.
Newegg already has a handful of user reviews and we can use the 96% five and four egg reviews as an indication of the drives short-term reliability. The drive just hit the market so long term data isn't available outside of SMI's or PNY's test labs.
No matter what I say here can stop this drive from being a high seller. At $109.99 ($89.99 after a MIR), this is the lowest priced 256GB class SSD on the market. We have a broad readership, but the millions of people who shop for an SSD without reading reviews will find this drive. Hopefully they come here to read the review too. Either way, the price makes this an instant hit.
Luckily this drive is a good all-around performer with good daily use performance and low power consumption. It's not the absolute very best SSD on the market, but if price even plays a small role in your purchasing decision, then you need to take a close look at the PNY Optima 240GB.
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