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Apacer Thunderbird PT910 256GB PCIe SSD Review

By: Chris Ramseyer | PCIe in Storage | Posted: Mar 18, 2015 1:06 pm
TweakTown Rating: 76%Manufacturer: Apacer

Apacer Thunderbird PT910 PCIe 256GB SSD




Apacer put together an attractive package for the Thunderbird PT910 PCIe SSD.




The back of the package gives us some performance and feature information.




Inside of the package, we found the drive secured well with dense foam surrounding the SSD.




Users receive an installation guide as well as a half-height bracket.




The card looks nice, and it is fully surrounded by aluminum plates on each side that covers the PCBs.






The back plate is perforated, so air can pass over the Thunderbird SSD and exit from the rear of the system.




The PCIe 2.0 x2 bus is good to around 1000 MB/s. Apacer claims the Thunderbird series can deliver up to 830 MB/s, but doesn't specify the performance differences between the 256GB model that we're testing today and the 512GB mode that is also available.


Here we can see the three-layer PCB stack that starts with the base card that holds two SATA SSDs. The SSDs look a little longer than the units we find in 2.5" enclosures.




Each of the two drives uses a SandForce SF-2241 controller and four Intel NAND flash packages. The PCBs can hold as many as 16 packages, but Apacer choose to use higher density flash rather than spread the die across several packages.




ASAN Tron Technologies made the main PCN. This company makes several All-in-One RAID type products, as well as DDR3 form factor SSDs that fit in RAM slots but use a SATA cable to transfer data.




The main PCB holds the Marvell 88SS9220 RAID controller.




Here we get a closer look at the actual SSD that uses regular SATA power and data connectors. We often see these products with SandForce SF-2281 eight-channel controllers, but this product uses SandForce's four-channel controller, the SF-2241.




Each SSD also has onboard power circuits. On the back of the PCB, we also found tabs that could be used for USB 3.0 on other products. That explains the extra length of this card over what we normally see in 2.5" enclosures. After looking on the ASAN Tron Technologies website, we found a few USB 3.0 SSDs that also use this form factor, but with the USB 3.0 header installed.




While the drive was apart, we found an undocumented switch on the back side of the Apacer Thunderbird PT910. Apacer's documentation doesn't list the switch, but we later learned from the ASAN website that this is to move the card to UEFI mode for faster boot times.

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