ADATA's new JMicron-powered S596 Turbo 128GB has something of a public relations battle on its hands, given SSDs' turbulent history.

The good news is that the S596 Turbo 128GB's features an excellent spec. Not only do you get Intel NAND flash memory and a fat 128MB-sized chunk of cache memory, you also get two drives in one thanks to the integrated USB port.

Admittedly, an expensive SSD like this is overkill as USB drive. But the USB socket certainly makes things like dropping drive images on a lot easier. Put simply, we think every SSD should have a USB port. Intriguingly, the port is a function of the JMF616 controller, so there's at least one area where JMicron has carved out an advantage over the competition.

As for performance, the news is mostly good. The ADATA S596 Turbo 128GB doesn't quite hit its claimed numbers, but it puts in a pretty strong all-round showing, including in the crucial random read and write benchmarks.

We liked
Contrary to any expectations you might have, this effort is much, much improved. Synthetic performance is competitive with drives based on the popular SandForce controller, if not quite a match in random reads and writes. Actual application performance, however, looks right on the money. Throw in the USB port and you have an attractive package.

We disliked
In testing, the S596 Turbo exhibits a few inconsistencies, with sequential throughput varying markedly from one run to another. It's just enough to have us worried whether JMicron has the long-term performance thing truly licked. If we're really splitting hairs, it would be nice if the USB interface was 3.0 compliant, too.

Verdict
A promising drive that seems to have overcome some of SSDs' unwelcome heritage. We're interested to see how it fares in the long-term, though.

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