Model: Silicon Power Slim S80 480GB Solid State Drive
Manufacturer: Silicon Power
Provided By: Silicon Power
Silicon Power is a relatively new name in the storage industry. Founded in 2003 by a group of professionals specializing in international business, global marketing and technical engineering, the company has already established itself as one of Taiwan's top manufacturers. With an eye for attractive and versatile design, Silicon Power has built its brand around the concept that its customers deserve products that represent who they are in life and mirror their personality. The end result is a variety of uniquely designed storage products including USB flash drives, memory cards and solid-state drives (SSD).
One of the latest additions to Silicon Power's line of solid state drives is the Slim S80. Weighing only 79g and measuring 7mm in depth, the drive is designed to be an ideal upgrade solution for ultrabooks and ultra slim notebooks. The S80 is powered by Phison's PS3108-S8 controller and is available with up to 960GB of Toshiba's Toggle Mode MLC NAND to deliver faster boot up speeds, shorter application load times and higher reliability than traditional hard drives. The drive is also shock and vibration proof, and is equipped with ECC and wear leveling technologies to enhance data reliability, extend endurance and ensure consistent data storage.
For this review, Silicon Power sent us the 480GB version of the Slim S80. This SSD is capable of delivering up to 550 MB/s sequential read and 500 MB/s sequential write speeds as well as a maximum of 80,000 4K random write IOPS.
|Silicon Power Slim S80 480GB Solid State Drive|
Dimensions and Weight
Needless to say, this is only a taste of what the Slim S80 has to offer. To give you an idea of what to expect, we'll take a closer look at Silicon Power's new SSD and then see how well it performs. Does the S80 have what it takes? Can it deliver the value and performance we've come to expect from Silicon Power? Keep reading as we find out.
The Slim S80 comes in a brightly colored box. Along with a picture of the drive, the front advertises many of its key features including its 480GB capacity, SATA III interface and maximum read and write speeds The back of the box provides a bit more information, including the S80's specifications and a longer list of features. Inside, you'll find the SSD, a 3.5" adapter bracket, a mounting spacer for use with traditional 9.5mm drive bays, mounting screws and a small installation guide.
Like Silicon Power's other SSDs, the Slim S80 is very well constructed. The outer casing is made entirely out of metal and is covered by a nice, matte black finish. The top of the drive also has a large, red and white sticker advertising its capacity as well as the fact that it is part of Silicon Power's S80 series.
Like Silicon Power's Velox V55 and Slim S55 series SSDs, the S80 uses Phison's PS3108 controller. The PS3108 can be found in a growing number of drives including the Corsair Force LS, Kingston SSDNow V310, MyDigitalSSD BP4 and Patriot Memory Blaze.
For the 480GB version of the S80, Silicon Power opted to use Toshiba's TH58TEG9D2HBA89 Toggle Mode MLC NAND flash modules. Looking at the pictures above, you can see that there are eight of these 64GB chips on top of the PCB. The S80 also has a single 512MB NANYA NT5CC256M16CP-DI DDR3L-1600 SDRAM memory chip that is used for caching.
The test system used in this review was an HP 8200 Elite. The computer came equipped with an Intel Core i5-2400 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 1333MHz memory, Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3250312AS 250GB SATA 6 Gb/s hard drive, NVIDIA Quadro FX580 512MB PCIe graphics card and an Intel 82579-LM gigabit network card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 8.1 Enterprise.
To test the performance of Silicon Power's 480GB S80 SSD, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3, HD Tach RW 220.127.116.11, ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46, AS SSD, HD Tune Pro 4.61, Anvil's Storage Utilities and Iometer. For comparison, I've also included test results from the Samsung SSD 850 EVO, OCZ ARC 100, SanDisk Ultra II, Crucial MX100, SanDisk Extreme Pro, Samsung SSD 850 PRO, Plextor PX-256M6S, Toshiba Q Series Pro, Plextor PX-256M6M, Samsung SSD 840 EVO mSATA, OCZ Vector 150, OCZ Vertex 450, Silicon Power Slim S55, Samsung SSD 840 EVO, Seagate 600 SSD, SanDisk Extreme II, Plextor PX-256M5M, OCZ Vector, Plextor PX-256M5Pro Xtreme, Samsung SSD 840 Pro and Samsung SSD 840.
As I mentioned earlier, the S80 is based on Phison's PS3108 controller chip. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that it performs equally well with both incompressible (0%) and compressible (100%) data.
First, I ran a few quick tests using CrystalDiskMark. This benchmark tool measures the performance of a storage device by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its random read and write speeds using blocks 512K and 4K in size.
According to Silicon Power, the S80 is capable of reading at 510MB/s and writing at 400MB/s when tested with CrystalDiskMark. While the drive performed better than expected when reading, it came up a bit short of its rated speed in CrystalDiskMark's sequential write test.
Contrary to what we saw with AS SSD's compression benchmark, the S80 performed much better when using highly compressible 0x00 (0 Fill) data. This time around, the drive was able to read at 530.0 MB/s and write at 496.1 MB/s.
HD Tach RW 18.104.22.168:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the S80's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.
Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the S80 had average read and write speeds of 335.1 MB/s and 308.3 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 359.3 MB/s.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the S80's sequential read and write speeds. The tests are run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the S80's read speeds topped out at about 557 MB/s and its write speeds at 535 MB/s.
AS SSD is a relatively new benchmark designed specifically for solid state drives. The application contains five synthetic tests used to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of a drive.
AS SSD also includes a copy benchmark. This test copies an ISO (two large files), program (many small files) and game (small and large files), returning the speed and duration of each.
HD Tune Pro 5.00:
Next, I ran a series of tests using HD Tune Pro. This hard disk utility measures a drive's performance by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its access time, burst rate and CPU usage. For this review, I'm also going to use it to benchmark the S80's random read and write speeds, random access times and the number of operations per second.
The S80 didn't do as well as I had expected when benchmarked with HD Tune. The drive had average read and write speeds of 320.3 MB/s and 304.0 MB/s, respectively, and a burst rate of 147.2 MB/s when reading.
The S80 didn't perform as well as the Ultra II when doing random reads and writes. When reading 4KB blocks, the drive reached 10,704 IOPS and had an average speed of 41.816 MB/s. The S80 was a bit faster when writing, reaching 14,931 IOPS with an average speed of 58.325 MB/s.
Anvil's Storage Utilities:
Anvil's Storage Utilities is another new benchmark designed with SSDs in mind. The standard storage benchmark measures a drive's performance by testing its transfer speeds, access times and IOPS.
Silicon Power S80 480GB - Incompressible Data
Silicon Power S80 480GB - Compressible Data
Lastly, I ran a series of tests using Iometer. This tool can be configured to benchmark a number of things. In this case, I used it to measure the S80's read and write speeds and the number of operations per second. The tests were run using random bytes and a queue depth of 3.
The S80's performance was very similar to what we saw in our other tests. The drive was able to read at 497.32 MB/s and write at 377.73 MB/s.
The S80 did not perform as well as I had expected when doing random reads and writes. In our tests, the drive was able to read at 88.93 MB/s and write at a mere 91.1 MB/s.
According to Silicon Power, the S80 is capable of up to 80,000 IOPS when writing 4K blocks. In our tests, the drive reached 22,639 random read IOPS and 23,322 random write IOPS. Increasing the queue depth had little impact on the S80's random write performance. However, with the queue depth set to 32, the drive was able to reach 36,715 random read IOPS.
While SSDs offer many benefits, there are some downsides to using flash memory. One of the biggest issues people run into is performance degradation. Over time, an SSD will run out of fresh blocks and will have to write over data the file system has marked as deleted. This procedure is very complicated and can slow an SSD's write speeds considerably.
To address this problem, most manufacturers have added TRIM support to their SSDs. The TRIM command allows an operating system, such as Windows 7, to tell an SSD which data blocks are no longer in use. Using this information, the drive proactively erases these blocks and adds them to the free block pool.
To test the S80's TRIM function, I first put the drive in a "dirty" state. I used Iometer to fill the entire drive and then ran a random write test for about 30 minutes. This had very little effect on the S80's read speed. However, its average write speed dropped to a mere 19.6 MB/s.
Silicon Power S80 480GB - Dirty
To see how well the S80 could recover, I let the computer sit for a few hours and then reran the test. The drive wasn't able to reach the factory fresh performance shown in our earlier tests. However, its average write speed climbed up to 112.5 MB/s.
Silicon Power S80 480GB - After Trim
Lastly, I used Parted Magic to perform a secure erase on the S80. With the drive wiped clean, its write speed jumped back up to 263.1 MB/s.
Silicon Power S80 480GB - Secure Erase
While not the fastest or most feature packed SSD to come through the 'Labs, Silicon Power's new Slim S80 delivers a lot of bang for your buck. This slim, lightweight drive combines Phison's PS3108 controller with Toshiba's Toggle mode MLC NAND flash to deliver a cost-effective upgrade solution for ultrabooks and ultra slim notebooks. While the results varied from one benchmark to another, the 480GB S80 performed relatively well in our sequential read and write tests. When working with incompressible data, the drive was able to read at speeds as high as 524 MB/s and write at almost 400 MB/s. Unfortunately, the S80 didn't do nearly as well in our random write tests. Even at high queue depths, the drive produced less than 24,000 IOPS. This is a far cry from what we saw from the Samsung 850 EVO or even the SanDisk Ultra II. However, it's still a huge step up over traditional hard drives.
- Available in capacities up to 960GB
- Slim 7mm form factor
- Phison PS3108-S8 controller
- Good sequential read and write performance
- SATA 6Gb/s interface
- Toggle Mode NAND flash
- Supports SMART, TRIM and Garbage Collection
- Well constructed design
- Includes 3.5" adapter bracket and mounting spacer
- Reasonably priced
- 3 year warranty
- Lackluster random read and write performance
- Not as fast when writing incompressible data