PNY Optima 240GB SSD uses SandForce

Discussion in 'Memory and Storage' started by code65536, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. code65536

    code65536 Golden Member

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    I just bought a PNY Optima 240GB SSD from Newegg ($79 after rebate!).

    The price was the main reason behind the purchase, but I was also intrigued by the glowing review at TweakTown.

    According to that review, the Optima uses a new controller from SMI (never had heard of them before). Well, it turns out that the Optima that I got came with a SandForce controller instead.

    The first thing I noticed was that the firmware version reported by the drive is 541ABBF0, which is the format of SandForce firmware versions. The version printed on the outside of the drive reads "5.4.1" (vs. "N0307A" for the drive in the TT review), and when I applied PNY's 5.6.0 firmware update to this drive, it was with SandForce's firmware updater software.

    I ran a simple benchmark (using a 3Gbps SATA-II interface), and the results looked decent (and certainly satisfactory given the price I paid), so at least it doesn't appear to be a V300-style bait-and-switch.
    Code:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 x64 (C) 2007-2013 hiyohiyo
                               Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    * MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]
    
               Sequential Read :   269.245 MB/s
              Sequential Write :   227.531 MB/s
             Random Read 512KB :   250.157 MB/s
            Random Write 512KB :   227.649 MB/s
        Random Read 4KB (QD=1) :    23.207 MB/s [  5665.8 IOPS]
       Random Write 4KB (QD=1) :    43.873 MB/s [ 10711.1 IOPS]
       Random Read 4KB (QD=32) :    95.683 MB/s [ 23360.1 IOPS]
      Random Write 4KB (QD=32) :   173.737 MB/s [ 42416.3 IOPS]
    
      Test : 1000 MB [C: 6.4% (14.2/223.1 GB)] (x5)
        OS : Windows 8.1  [6.3 Build 9600] (x64)
    But it does pretty much make that TweakTown review irrelevant.
     
    #1 code65536, Jun 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
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  3. DominionSeraph

    DominionSeraph Diamond Member

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    I have it with the N0307A, also on SATA II. My results:

    Code:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 Shizuku Edition (C) 2007-2013 hiyohiyo
                               Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    * MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]
    
               Sequential Read :   263.395 MB/s
              Sequential Write :   217.186 MB/s
             Random Read 512KB :   202.314 MB/s
            Random Write 512KB :   214.565 MB/s
        Random Read 4KB (QD=1) :    28.233 MB/s [  6892.9 IOPS]
       Random Write 4KB (QD=1) :    82.478 MB/s [ 20136.3 IOPS]
       Random Read 4KB (QD=32) :   121.876 MB/s [ 29755.0 IOPS]
      Random Write 4KB (QD=32) :   112.558 MB/s [ 27479.9 IOPS]
    
      Test : 1000 MB [C: 12.3% (24.0/195.3 GB)] (x5)
      Date : 2014/06/13 4:00:31
        OS : Windows XP Professional SP3 [5.1 Build 2600] (x86)
      
    Not terribly different, and can't tell if the difference in random writes would be from hardware or drivers. (I see a decent difference on my machine between Microsoft and Nforce drivers)

    I noticed my Atto scores were about half those of the Tweaktown review, though.

    (stopped at 64k since it's hitting SATA limit after that)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    But my numbers run with the XLR8 Pro, even beating it until 4k.
    http://www.custompcreview.com/reviews/pny-xlr8-pro-240gb-ssd-review/17930/5/
     
    #2 DominionSeraph, Jun 13, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  4. cfendrick

    cfendrick Junior Member

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    Where and why did you apply PNY's 5.6.0? I can not find any such version on the US PNY site let alone any downloads. I can find a 5.0.7. 5.0.5 and 5.0.4 from http://pny.eu/s/d/Downloads/PNY/. Did you maybe mean 5.0.6? Why would you not apply the 5.0.7 as this is the newest release.


    Do you have links and steps to the downloads you used would you mind trying 5.0.7 and do bench marks after the firmware to see if there is a difference in performance. I assume that flashing a different firmware will void any warranty. Do they make a tool to back the current version as the Optima series of SSD's do not have any downloads available that I can find.

    Looking at the internal parts and benchmarks the sandforce controller in the optima looks pretty good bang for your buck.
    http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/comments/28k0f6/in_response_to_the_pny_news_we_decided_to_buy/
     
  5. code65536

    code65536 Golden Member

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    That's strange--it looks like they removed the links to the firmware. But the direct link to the firmware file still works (as of the time of this post).
     
  6. cfendrick

    cfendrick Junior Member

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    Thanks for the files. Firmware Revision: 5.6.0 looks legit and I'll be updating shortly. Great find in having the direct download link.

    Miscellaneous new Flash families are added and supported in this release. They have successfully completed our SQA testing.
    New Features and Enhancements: Description Enabled additional SMART log support.

    I think I am ready to do some testing tomorrow.
     
  7. cfendrick

    cfendrick Junior Member

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    I purchased the PNY Optima 240GB SSD from TigerDirect on 6/18/2014 (Price was 109.99 with a 20 rebate = $89 after rebate).

    The price was the main reason behind the purchase and I didn't do any real research ect prior to the purchase. After doing some research with drive in hand I'm now postng here. As it turns out the Optima that I have also came with a SandForce controller. This isn't my first SSD as I also have purchased and currently still use 2 M500 240gb, 1 M500 480GB, 1 Kingston Hyper X 120gb, and 1 Toshiba Q Series Pro 256.

    I ran a simple benchmark on both (3Gbps SATA-II interface) and (6Gbps SATA-III interface). I provided benchmarks for each firmware using 3 different tools and the results are more than decent and I am certainly happy with my purchase. Assuming the quality is there and it lasts 2 to 3 years in my opinion it will be well worth having the controller that it came with.

    Stock machine was a Dell Optiplex 790, i5-2500 with 12GB ram
    Windows 7 Enterprise with all current updates

    Optima 240GB SSD on Firmware 5.4.1 using a Sata II connection
    [​IMG]

    Optima 240GB SSD on Firmware 5.4.1 using a Sata III connection
    [​IMG]

    Optima 240GB SSD on Firmware 5.6.0 using a Sata II connection
    [​IMG]

    Optima 240GB SSD on Firmware 5.6.0 using a Sata III connection
    [​IMG]
     
  8. cfendrick

    cfendrick Junior Member

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    Optima 240GB SSD on Firmware 5.6.0 using a Sata III connection
    Code:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 x64 (C) 2007-2013 hiyohiyo
                               Crystal Dew World : [URL]http://crystalmark.info/[/URL]
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    * MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]
               Sequential Read :   489.227 MB/s
              Sequential Write :   261.295 MB/s
             Random Read 512KB :   427.101 MB/s
            Random Write 512KB :   260.581 MB/s
        Random Read 4KB (QD=1) :    27.103 MB/s [  6616.8 IOPS]
       Random Write 4KB (QD=1) :    78.988 MB/s [ 19284.2 IOPS]
       Random Read 4KB (QD=32) :   104.867 MB/s [ 25602.2 IOPS]
      Random Write 4KB (QD=32) :   230.972 MB/s [ 56389.7 IOPS]
      Test : 1000 MB [D: 0.0% (0.1/223.6 GB)] (x4)
      Date : 2014/07/02 12:30:57
        OS : Windows 7 Enterprise SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)
    
    Optima 240GB SSD on Firmware 5.6.0 using a Sata II connection
    Code:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 x64 (C) 2007-2013 hiyohiyo
                               Crystal Dew World : [URL]http://crystalmark.info/[/URL]
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    * MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]
               Sequential Read :   269.107 MB/s
              Sequential Write :   228.324 MB/s
             Random Read 512KB :   251.323 MB/s
            Random Write 512KB :   227.574 MB/s
        Random Read 4KB (QD=1) :    24.959 MB/s [  6093.5 IOPS]
       Random Write 4KB (QD=1) :    58.506 MB/s [ 14283.8 IOPS]
       Random Read 4KB (QD=32) :    97.996 MB/s [ 23924.7 IOPS]
      Random Write 4KB (QD=32) :   184.031 MB/s [ 44929.5 IOPS]
      Test : 1000 MB [D: 0.0% (0.1/223.6 GB)] (x4)
      Date : 2014/07/02 12:51:22
        OS : Windows 7 Enterprise SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)
    
     
    #7 cfendrick, Jul 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  9. 802D

    802D Junior Member

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  10. Schmide

    Schmide Diamond Member

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    Woo Hoo Mine has a N0307A firmware. Eat it suckers.

    Still kindo lame PNY
     
  11. coredump4

    coredump4 Junior Member

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    The PNY 5.6.0 download link is dead now. Any alternative download locations?

    TIA
     
  12. blastingcap

    blastingcap Diamond Member

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    I haven't read the other posts in this thread so forgive me if I'm redundant, but once I read that PNY Optimas can have pretty much any crappy controller up to and including JMicron (although so far PNY seems to have not actually done that, the mere fact that they reserved the right to switch the controller to JMicron made me shudder), I steered clear of the OBVIOUS bait-and-switch trap. This is like Kingston switching NAND in the middle of their SSD production run without changing the product number, but PNY/Newegg did post a warning that they could switch suppliers for this SSD's controller, thus PNY wasn't quite as underhanded as Kingston.

    http://techreport.com/review/26664/alleged-bait-and-switch-tactics-spur-kingston-pny-ssd-boycott

    P.S. For the last several years I have always recommended buying SSDs from companies that produce their own NAND and SSDs with known controllers. I'd also add to that group enterprise drives and Plextor (which has to date not cost-cut in objectionable ways). This is because the market was obviously going to shake out as margins compressed, and companies that make their own NAND held a big survival advantage. My order of preference if price were no concern:

    1. Intel (they were the ones who fixed Sandforce's controller; and their QA process is perhaps the most intense in the business http://techreport.com/review/26269/behind-the-scenes-with-intel-ssd-division/3 so I have no worries about Intel NAND quality at all)
    2. Crucial/Micron (tie, a few hiccups in M4 firmware that had to be updated, but not a bad of a record overall)
    2. Samsung (tie, few hiccups and make some of the highest-quality NAND on market)
    4. Sandisk/Toshiba (only if recent ones, not their Sandforce-based ones with TRIM and other problems; pure-Toshiba not really in retail market but Sandisk/Toshiba share NAND fabrication facilities)
    5. Hynix (not available via retail, closest you are going to get is via Seagate 600 series and Corsair's LAMD-based SSDs)
    ----------small dropoff here; everyone above this line makes their own NAND----------
    6. Plextor (just a reseller, but a good one) (tie)
    6. Seagate (though their enterprise-lite 600 Pro I'd place a notch above... I have one as my main PC's OS SSD and have found it reliable) (tie)
    8. Corsair (just a reseller, but a good one... but until recent years they were still on Sandforce-only, and I doubt they do much of anything other than resell; some others at least have their own firmware teams)
    ----------big dropoff here------------
    9. Everyone else
    ----------wild card-------------------
    ???. OCZ which is now a Toshiba company, I am not sure where to put this given Toshiba's good rep and OCZ's bad rep; OCZ's firmware and controller designs are still suspect imho so "indilinx" is not a selling point to me, if anything it's the reverse
     
    #11 blastingcap, Jul 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  13. berryracer

    berryracer Platinum Member

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    those scores are horrible I don't know what you people are happy about.

    any Samsung SSD would blow a Sandforce chipst out of the water.

    and ATTO Benchmarks mean nothing because they use compressed data and that is where Sandforce excels but in REAL life, most data if not all is NOT compressible so this ATTO benchmark is a useless marketing tool used by Kingston and Sandforce based SSDs to show off their drives which suck so bad.
     
  14. code65536

    code65536 Golden Member

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    And how much does a Samsung SSD cost per GB vs. the PNY Optima? And without a benchmark program, can you tell the difference in everday usage? It's way more than fast enough to notice the difference when upgrading from HDD. Anything beyond that is just a phallus-size contest.

    http://www28.zippyshare.com/v/77552968/file.html
    MD5 hash: afcedb662e063eed9e20b7c20c97f581
     
  15. blastingcap

    blastingcap Diamond Member

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    I don't understand this speed thing. Pretty much any SSD on the market is going to perform well at this point for normal usage scenarios. What really matters to me is reliability. Optimas are too new for me to fully trust that problems have all been ironed out. Samsungs are overpriced unless you really really really value those corner cases where you can feel the speed difference. Other companies have produced reliable SSDs for less.
     
  16. aviator79

    aviator79 Member

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  17. berryracer

    berryracer Platinum Member

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    yes in that I agree with you. in day to day life, you wouldn't even know which system had the Samsung SSD and which had the PNY or any other one. It's just the benchmarks.
     
  18. coredump4

    coredump4 Junior Member

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  19. alan1476

    alan1476 Member

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    Hi code65536, you know Wendy has all this information, they are both about .40 cents a GB, the larger the cheaper. LOL. Long time no see.:biggrin:
     
  20. code65536

    code65536 Golden Member

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    LOL, er, yes, that switch is exactly what this thread was originally about: PNY's switch to a different controller. In fact, I was the person who e-mailed the TweakTown reviewer about it, and he wrote the blog post as a result (which was then picked up by places like what you just linked to). (This thread actually pre-dates TT's post by over half a day.)

    The TT reviewer was furious, but I was more or less okay with it because the performance was similar. This was, as I said in the first post, nothing like the Kingston switch. That one was unforgiveable. I mean, for a budget SSD with the lowest per-GB price on the market, people who buy it are doing so mostly for the price, and as long as the performance is roughly comparable, I'm willing to forgive some small discrepancy. Now, if this was a higher-end, pricier model where people are paying a premium for specific performance, I'd be less forgiving. But come on, this was something that you could pick up for $0.33 per GB after rebate!

    Anyway, there was an outpouring of outrage of reddit that was quickly muted when pcpartpicker posted detailed benchmarks comparing the two variants and confirmed that it was a sidegrade, not a downgrade.


    As for the reliability of the Optima, ironically, the Sandforce version should be a bit more reliable, given that the controller has been around for a couple of years and is now a mature, known quantity. Whereas the SMI controller in the original review is the one lacking the market mileage.
     
    #19 code65536, Jul 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  21. vonWolfhausen

    vonWolfhausen Junior Member

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    I purchased this drive within a few days of it being posted on newegg, before it was even reviewed on tweaktown. None of the specs indicated what controller or flash was used but I simply gambled on the low price (89 w rebate) cause I figured at that price what the hey. I'm very happy with the drive I received, that said, I would't buy another. Drives have dropped a ton in price over the last few months so I would simply choose a drive who's innards are stated (though SMI is g2g in my book).

    i3 sandybridge laptop results:

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    CrystalDiskMark 3.0.2 x64 (C) 2007-2013 hiyohiyo
    Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    * MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

    Sequential Read : 507.375 MB/s
    Sequential Write : 306.109 MB/s
    Random Read 512KB : 366.208 MB/s
    Random Write 512KB : 305.748 MB/s
    Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 19.539 MB/s [ 4770.2 IOPS]
    Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 57.787 MB/s [ 14108.3 IOPS]
    Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 224.775 MB/s [ 54876.8 IOPS]
    Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 190.532 MB/s [ 46516.5 IOPS]

    Test : 500 MB [C: 70.8% (142.1/200.8 GB)] (x4)
    Date : 2014/07/21 21:17:41
     
  22. secretsauce

    secretsauce Junior Member

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    Is there a way to tell on the outside of the packaging which controller is in the box? I'm guessing no, but thought I'd ask anyway.

    With the way prices are dropping, and the fact that newegg offered a prepaid return label, I'm tempted to just return this ssd and wait until the deals in November.
     
  23. code65536

    code65536 Golden Member

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    Um, why does it matter? Unless you have a specific reason to prefer one over the other, the two variants perform similarly, that it doesn't really matter which one you get. (Also, even if the return shipping is free, Newegg still charges a 15% restocking fee.)
     
  24. secretsauce

    secretsauce Junior Member

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    They waived the restocking fee because the package is still sealed. After I posted my question and while I was making dinner, I think I may have decided to keep it. Did a lot of reading and you are right, its performance isnt bad.
     
  25. secretsauce

    secretsauce Junior Member

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    I decided to keep the Optima and it turned out to have the SMI controller. Test results (SATA III):

    Code:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 x64 (C) 2007-2013 hiyohiyo
                               Crystal Dew World : [URL]http://crystalmark.info/[/URL]
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    * MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]
    
               Sequential Read :   518.840 MB/s
              Sequential Write :   382.645 MB/s
             Random Read 512KB :   352.828 MB/s
            Random Write 512KB :   372.058 MB/s
        Random Read 4KB (QD=1) :    28.029 MB/s [  6843.1 IOPS]
       Random Write 4KB (QD=1) :    94.932 MB/s [ 23176.8 IOPS]
       Random Read 4KB (QD=32) :   301.768 MB/s [ 73673.8 IOPS]
      Random Write 4KB (QD=32) :   312.643 MB/s [ 76328.8 IOPS]
    
      Test : 1000 MB [C: 49.0% (109.4/223.5 GB)] (x5)
      Date : 2014/08/06 15:37:59
        OS : Windows 8.1  [6.3 Build 9600] (x64)
     
  26. thebearstate

    thebearstate Junior Member

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    The Optima with SMI controller latest FW is N0815B and Optima with SandForce controller latest FW is 600A. Both FWs will have vast improve on performance tests.