It was bound to happen again; another bait and switch SSD is upon us. In September 2012, Silicon Power released the S60, a 7mm slim version of the V60 product that was released five months prior. When first released, the S60 used a SandForce SF-2281 flash controller, as confirmed by reviews published online at the time. The Silicon Power product page for the S60 also confirms that the S60 uses DuraWrite technology that belongs to SandForce.
This past month, Silicon Power contacted TweakTown, and asked us to review the S60. The product we received is in a S60 retail blister pack, and the outside of the packaging shows all of the signs of a SandForce based product. However, when it comes to SSDs, it's really what is on the inside that counts.
Silicon Power's website shows two distinct designs for the outside housing and label of the S60 product line. Both products are sold under the same product specifications, and both products are available under the S60 product name at U.S. e-tail stores. The image above shows both products in retail packaging. The images are small, and a bit blurry, but that's the kind of detail Silicon Power gives potential customers, and we have to use what we can get.
Several months back, we raised hell when PNY released two different versions of the Optima SSD. One version shipped with SandForce SF-2281 controllers, and other shipped under the same name and product number with a Silicon Motion controller. After the initial reviews for the Optima SSD with the Silicon Motion controller published, PNY started shipping Optima branded SSDs with SF-2281 controllers from SandForce. Side by side, both controllers perform about the same, but each has specific strong and weak points that some users may consider when purchasing a SSD for a specific workload.
For the most part, reviewers and news editors from other sites supported our findings and thoughts, but there were a few detractors who didn't take issue with what we dubbed a SSD "bait and switch."
What our critics didn't understand is that while the first bait and switch happened with nearly equal controllers, if the practice becomes accepted, there isn't anything stopping companies from starting out with a new part, and then rolling back to cheaper or even older components. Today we have a worst-case scenario - a bait and switch with a wider discrepancy in components.
We fully expected to find a SandForce SF-2281 controller paired with genuine Intel NAND flash inside of the case of our Silicon Power S60, just like a Silicon Power S60 reviewed on another site last August, but this is what we found instead. The controller is a Phison S8, and the flash is unknown, but we suspect it's Toshiba Toggle, packaged by a third party.
To confirm we weren't misreading "S60" with... well, a different S60, we downloaded the firmware update tool for the S60, and found a SandForce Field Update Toolbox.
Specifications, Pricing, and Availability
The Silicon Power S60 product page shows the product specifications in the image above. The data isn't exactly accurate, and even states the S60 is "Equipped with DuraWrite, and wear leveling to extend endurance." DuraWrite is trademarked by SandForce, and as far as I know, SandForce hasn't licensed the technology to other controller makers for use in SSDs.
On the bright side, the Silicon Power S60 sells online for as low as $99.99, but we're not sure what version you'll actually receive. The S60 product page states the S60 comes with a three-year warranty.
PRICING: You can find the Silicon Power S60 SSD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The Silicon Power 240GB SSD retails for $102.99 at Amazon.
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- Page 1 [Introduction & Specifications, Pricing, and Availability]
- Page 2 [Silicon Power S60 240GB SSD]
- Page 3 [Test System Setup and Initial Performance]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - Sequential Performance]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - Anvil Storage Utilities]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - Mixed Read / Write Workloads]
- Page 7 [PCMark 8 Consistency Test]
- Page 8 [PCMark 8 Consistency Test - Continued]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]