There are quite a few SSD vendors today clamouring to have you open up your wallet to them. They want your money, you want the speed. Its a quick exchange and by the end of it, you’re left with yearning – yearning for more super-fast storage, more space, higher speeds, bigger thrills. Well, it looks like Mushkin will be the SSD vendor to give you your fix, as their newly announced Eco² family drops per-Gigabyte pricing down to just R4.03/GB. Want to know more?
The Eco² family isn’t entirely new, although the configuration is new and absurdly cheap. Muskin will be using the LSI Sandforce SF-2280 controller, which is a bit long in the tooth but perfectly serviceable as a host for cheap, fast storage. Paired to it will be between 120 and 480GB of 19-nanometer Micron flash memory in 16GiB groupings, which would explain why it works out so cheaply. With those kinds of numbers, you can expect the 120GB and 240GB versions to have a quarter to half the write speed of the 480GB drive.
For the moment, the RRP for the 240GB drive is $85 (approx, R1040) and the 480GB version sells for $160, which works out to about R1960. If that’s not cheap enough already, these are just launch prices and over time these will see drops to much lower prices. Like game developers, SSD manufacturers tend to try recoup as much of their intial investment into their products within the first year of going on sale.
Performance is at what you’d expect for a Sandforce controller, although keep in mind that these figures change according to the amount of flash chips on the PCB and what data you’re pushing through the controller. Sandforce has always worked best with compressible data like text files, photographs and documents and so on, while incompressible data like music, movies and some file types won’t be pegging the controller’s limits. Sequentiel read speeds for the entire Eco² range will hit between 530-550MB/s, with sequential writes topping out at 480MB/s for the 480GB model. IOPs ratings for both metrics are at 87,000 and 37,000 respectively. Its a bit on the low site, but about the same as you’d expect from Crucial’s BX100 family.
The only problem with this drive is that its only available through Newegg in the US with a three-year warranty. It probably won’t come here too soon, although you can keep an eye on Rebel Tech’s Mushkin page every now and then in the hopes that a version of the Eco² with different branding ends up on there. The SSD price war begins with Mushkin and I wonder what the other vendors will do in response.
Mushkin also adds that the Eco² family will be subject to configuration changes over time, possibly with things like swapping out the Sandforce controller for a cheaper one, or opting for a different brand of flash memory to drop prices further. Its not the bait-and-switch on the level of what Kingston did with the SSD V200 family, but its worth keeping in mind when you have a look at SSD sales in the coming months.