G.Skill Phoenix Pro 40GB SSD review

Another nippy SSD, but is it worth it when larger SSDs are around?

TODO alt text

On paper, there's little to separate this 40GB 2.5-inch SSD from the likes of Corsair's Force F40. For the most part, that's a good thing.

The most significant common component shared by both is the SandForce SF-1200 controller. Our SSD technology lessons have sometimes been painful, but we've come to learn that the most important single component in any SSD is the controller chip, and the SandForce is a good 'un.

For the record, the SF-1200 uses an ARM-based Tensilica DC 570T processor core. However, it's not the core itself but rather how it's programmed and supported that counts. Notably, the SF-1200 doesn't use cache memory. That would seem like an obvious disadvantage. After all, SSD cache is used to both reduce the need to access the flash memory cells and to help speed up data mapping and retrieval when accessed.

The SandForce controller's trick is to reduce something known as write amplification. Put simply, write amplification is something that SSDs suffer due to the way data is stored and written in blocks. In the bad old days, a stuttering SSD might write as much as 10 or 20 times more data than was actually being stored.

SandForce claims that not only does its controller reduce write amplification, it actually takes it into negative territory. In other words, when the operating system sends 1GB of data to a SandForce drive, less 1GB of data is actually written.

All SandForce-based drives sport this feature. However, G.Skill says that its version of the controller has been further tuned for what is known as 4k random access. That's tech speak for the itty-bitty data transfers that make up much of the traffic into and out of an SSD during normal usage. Not transferring large chunks of sequential data.

Moreover, G.Skill claims this drive is highly optimised for use in RAID configurations.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSolid State Drive
Product FamilyPhoenix Pro
Drive InterfaceSATA
Drive Width2.5"
Drive Interface StandardSATA/300
Brand NameG.SKILL
Drive TypeInternal
Storage Capacity40 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
Maximum Read Transfer Rate280 MBps
Maximum Write Transfer Rate270 MBps
ManufacturerGSkill International Enterprise
Product ModelFM-25S2S-40GBP2
Product NamePhoenix Pro FM-25S2S-40GBP2 MLC Solid State Drive
Product LinePhoenix Pro
Manufacturer Part NumberFM-25S2S-40GBP2
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.gskill.com