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Testing Participants

Silicon Power Velox V60 120 GB

Silicon Power isn’t a first-tier brand yet. This Taiwan-headquartered firm has only got some reputation as a flash card maker while its solid state drives aren’t widespread. In fact, there’s nothing odd about a company that works closely with NAND flash manufacturers trying its luck on the SSD market as well. It’s the same business, actually. However, promoting SSDs is a much more daunting task than actually making them since their consumers are well versed in computer technologies and can only be attracted by something special and innovative.

And that’s where Silicon Power may have some problems. Like most other smaller SSD makers, the company uses LSI’s SF-2281 controller which is hardly the best solution available right now. The model range of SATA 3 drives offered by Silicon Power currently includes four models but, according to the not-very-informative official website, they only differ in exterior design and accessories but use the same hardware – synchronous flash memory with Toggle Mode interface.

The model we’re going to test is Velox V60 120GB. Its cardboard box is all covered with promo slogans but offers no useful information about the product itself.

 

The SSD is additionally packed into a plastic case. Besides it, the box contains mounting screws, an installation guide, and an adapter that helps install the 2.5-inch drive into a 3.5-inch bay of a system case.

The exterior design of the SSD itself is somewhat unusual. The case is made of brushed aluminum and has the cold gray color of the metal. The model name and capacity are written in white paint. The manufacturer’s logo is pressed out in the top panel. So, the SSD has an original appearance and lacks conventional stickers.

 

The case has a standard height of 9 millimeters, so the Velox V60 won’t fit into ultra-slim mobile computers. The manufacturer offers another SSD series for such applications. It is appropriately called Slim.

Now let’s take a look into the case. There seem to be nothing special there at first sight: a reference PCB with an LSI SF-2281 controller and eight memory chips mounted on one side. There are places for an additional eight chips on the other side of the PCB, but they are empty in our SSD. Obviously, they are used for higher-capacity products in the Velox V60 series.

 

The only interesting thing about the hardware configuration is the type of the NAND flash memory chips. These are SanDisk SDZNPQBHER-016GT components which have but recently got some popularity. LSI/SandForce engineers have recently proposed a new version of their platform which uses 24nm flash memory with Toggle Mode interface. SanDisk being a major manufacturer of such memory, recently released SSDs with SF-2281 controllers often come with SanDisk chips. We saw the same components in our Corsair Force GS review, for example, so the Velox V60 is overall similar to Corsair’s Force GS series.

Each of the eight memory chips inside the Velox V60 120GB contains two 64-gigabit 24nm NAND devices, so the SF-2281 controller uses 2-way interleaving to access them. Thus, the Velox V60 is similar in its logical structure to SSDs with synchronous ONFI flash but uses lower-level interleaving than SSDs with older 32nm Toggle Mode flash.

After our immersion into the inner world of the Silicon Power Velox V60 120GB, we can give you a sum of its specs:

  • Controller: SandForce SF-2281;
  • Interface: SATA 6 Gbps;
  • Flash-memory: synchronous 24 nm Toggle Mode NAND;
  • Size: 120 GB;
  • Cache-memory: none;
  • Sequential read speed: up to 550 MB/s;
  • Sequential write speed: up to 500 MB/s;
  • Random write speed (4 KB blocks): no data.

The specified speed of sequential operations is expectedly too high as is typical of SandForce-based products. As for capacity, the user can only access 87% of the internal flash memory, which is normal, too. The remaining 13% is reserved for the RAISE technology, for replacing failed memory cells and for the garbage collection technique. Again, all of this is perfectly normal for a decent SandForce-based SSD.

Silicon Power currently suggests that you use reference firmware version 5.0.2 for the Velox V60 series. Unfortunately, that version has obvious problems with the TRIM command. SandForce has already issued newer modifications but Silicon Power doesn’t hurry to update its products. So, the Velox 60 is going to lose more speed after hard use than similar products from other brands until Silicon Power adapts the updated firmware to its SSDs.

 
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