Inside The Drive

All major chips are covered by pink thermal pads for heat dissipation. The interesting thing about the controller is that while it's based on Marvell silicon, it does not require any external DRAM. One of the reasons why SSD OEMs have preferred SandForce controllers is that they require no DRAM, which helps to drive costs down. The DRAM is mainly needed for caching the NAND mapping table, although some manufacturers also use it to cache writes, but it's certainly possible to build a design that doesn't require any external DRAM. Especially if you have access to the silicon (like I suspect Toshiba does; this doesn't seem like an off-the-shelf Marvell controller), you can make sure the controller has sufficient built-in caches to eliminate the need for DRAM. What's odd is that there is, however, an empty socket for DRAM next to the controller. It seems that either some models come with additional DRAM (bigger capacities may require a larger NAND mapping table) or the PCB design was simply finalized before the controller/firmware. I asked Strontium about the lack of DRAM but unfortunately they didn't have any knowledge of its purpose as it's purely a Toshiba/Marvell design. 

As for the NAND, there are eight packages and each package is 32GiB (4x8GiB) in size. 

Test System

CPU Intel Core i5-2500K running at 3.3GHz (Turbo and EIST enabled)
Motherboard AsRock Z68 Pro3
Chipset Intel Z68
Chipset Drivers Intel + Intel RST 10.2
Memory G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 4 x 8GB (9-9-9-24)
Video Card XFX AMD Radeon HD 6850 XXX
(800MHz core clock; 4.2GHz GDDR5 effective)
Video Drivers AMD Catalyst 10.1
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1080
OS Windows 7 x64

Thanks to G.Skill for the RipjawsX 32GB DDR3 DRAM kit

Introduction & The Drive Performance Consistency
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  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - link

    That's different. Apple doesn't hide the fact that they've updated the iPad, the least they do is release a press release. I agree that calling third-gen iPad the "iPad 3" and then going back to just "iPad" wasn't the best move from Apple, but it was understandable as the naming would quickly get stupid (imagine e.g. iPad 11). Apple has always been doing that with the MacBook Pros for instance.

    Strontium did nothing to let the public know that they've changed suppliers, hence the suspicion. No press release, no mention in the product page, nothing. Like I said in the article, we are the first to report about this - I even thought I'm reviewing a SandForce drive until I took the drive apart.
  • gamoniac - Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - link

    Great review. Not a bad drive at all. Unfortunately it is overshadowed by the GB vs GiB and Hawk vs Python issues. I don't mind owning one if reliability is their focus. Now the other deciding factors are warranty and customer service. If they can build up a good reputation, they will have a good following.
  • toytanks - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    I just purchased a the Samsung 840 Pro 256GB. Does anyone know how much of a difference it would make to use this instead, in terms of battery life?
  • LB-ID - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    Absolutely not, and you're a fool soon parted from your money if you do.
  • zjozjom - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    for all you thinking samsung 840 pro the best drive, getting brain washed only to see the destroyer benchmark owns it =(

    yeahhh look at the inconsistent write for sandisk extreme II under hd tach yet it destroys samsung 840 pro due to ncache LOL gj sandisk, samsung stop brain wash people thanks, people stop being retards thanks yeah
  • hemlock44 - Thursday, June 27, 2013 - link

    Should they ever plan to sell in Italy, I strongly suggest a name change, because "Strontium" recalls a scatological term here :-)

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