The SSD market is becoming a little crazy. There’s more than four dozen manufacturers out there offering various formulas for solid-state storage in a M.2 or 2.5-inch form factor, and it’s becoming a little difficult to keep track of them all. Hopping into the crazy pool without inflatable armbands is Sony, who quietly launched a consumer-bound SSD under the “M-series” brand. These drives are only available in the Japanese market for now, but might make their way around the world in due course. Sony advertises write speeds of 530MB/s and read speeds of 560MB/s as well as a standard three-year warranty.
In the box, Sony adds in a spacer for 9.5mm applications, as the SLW-M family are all 7 millimeters in height. A copy of Acronis True Image 2015 ships in the box, and there’s some Sony-branded drive software called “Sony SSD Toolbox”. Sony already makes, or rather sells, a lot of branded 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch USB products overseas, but this is their first SSD product.
A teardown of the 250GB drive by a forum poster on DIYPC reveals that the drive is using a Phison PS3110 S10-X controller (rebranded to “Sony H1 10X”), along with 19-nanometer Toshiba TLC-based flash memory. The drive’s package looks very similar to this one by PNY, which is equipped with a S10-X controller and 15nm MLC Toshiba memory which just launched this past week.
According to the johnnylucky.com database, the only other company that uses the S10-X controller with TLC flash is Kingston with the UV300 family, so it’s also likely that the firmware is done by Kingston as well. If Sony’s drives make it outside of Japan, it will be interesting to see how it performs in the market. The current price for the 480GB drive is $152 (approx. R2400*), so it’ll be quite competitive out of the gate with regards to price.
* Exchange rate calculated at R15.86 to U.S. $1 as of 4 February 2016