Top positive review
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Not the fastest by any means, but solid for the price
on November 20, 2015
We bought a couple of these for work to refresh older Linux machines in the lab that still had mechanical disks, and we're quite happy. This was a cheap upgrade, and was very much worth it.
These systems don't need much in the way of local storage; everything of importance gets stored on a network file server, so these were primarily intended as OS & application drives. Because they're older, they don't need the latest and greatest by any means; their SATA ports are limited to 3Gb/s, so spending the money on the fastest SSDs known to mankind would have been a real waste.
For the price, these seem to be great. They're significantly faster in use than a spinny rust drive, which is all that mattered to us. Compared to the latest and greatest from the likes of Samsung or Crucial (or even Sandisk's own Extreme Pro line, which are no slouches), these seem almost laughably slow, but that's not the point.
In desktop usage, they seem snappy enough. Applications launch far faster than they did with the old mechanical drive, which is the whole point.
Real-world file use with an ext4 filesystem suggests sequential reads are somewhere in the 270MB/s region, and writes a bit slower, perhaps 200MB/s or so. I didn't see any particular difference between fairly random, uncompressible data or a pile of zeroes from /dev/zero.
On these older machines, copying data from one place to another on the same drive seems to be limited to a little under 110MB/s on average for long file copies (for example, 18.3GB of test junk copied to another file in 2m50s). The net bandwidth is obviously doubled as the data is read from the drive and then written back, so call it 220MB/s over long copies. The transfer rate was fairly consistent. with 'iotop' showing instantaneous peaks around 130MB/s and lows around 90MB/s.
Actually, they're very consistent. Repeated copies of the same 18.3GB gibberish test file (an mp4 video that a colleague put together for a talk concatenated on itself a bunch of times to bring the size up to something reasonable) completed to within a second or two; copy times of 2m50.1s, 2m50.9s, 2m50.8s, 2m49.3s and 2m49.8s were observed back-to back.
This consistency suggests that performance also doesn't go off a cliff when all of the available blocks have been written to at some point, which is a very good thing. It just seems to plod along at the same rate regardless, which is preferable to a drive that's amazingly fast until there are no more zeroed blocks left, then slows to a crawl. All the blocks on this drive have likely been filled at some point during my testing as it currently reports a total of 176GB written.
In terms of raw performance. this is nothing to write home about. They work, but they don't come close to setting records (and the drive is apparently also not capable of saturating the available 3Gb/s SATA link). This would definitely be a 3-star product if it weren't for the price.
These are significantly cheaper than a 120GB Evo 850 or Crucial BX100, and given we'll probably go through more machines to do the same thing with them, the cost savings start to add up quickly; three of these are roughly the same price of two of Samsung's or Crucial's offerings. For situations where outright speed isn't needed, a permanent buy-two-get-one-free setup can't be ignored.
SMART reports 'Total_LBAs_Written' and 'Total_LBAs_Read' attributes, which appear to be in units of GB (both rising by 18 after copying said junk file) so guesstimating the remaining drive life should be simple enough (Crucial says > 80TBW on their website). I'm not sure what the raw value for the 'Media_Wearout_Indicator' represents, as it appears to climb over time and is larger than LBAs written. This did also rise by 18 for one copy so perhaps this is an indication of the effective writes after any amplification effect stated in GB?
SMART's reported temperature doesn't rise by any huge amount while the drive is active. In this particular system the idle temperature appears to be about 30C, rising to 36C during minutes-long copy operations.
I can't judge their long-term reliability just yet (i'll try to remember to report back in a year or so), but these have thrown up no initial surprises in installation and initial usage.
To summarise, for replacing mechanical disks in cases where you don't need a lot of local file storage, these are a no-brainer. They're not exciting and aren't nearly as fast as the state of the art in SSDs, but they're far better than spinny disks, they appear to perform at the same consistent level instead of being very bursty with large peaks and troughs, and are cheap for their capacity. There are far faster and larger SSDs on the market, but if price is more of a concern than size or speed, these are definitely worth considering.