Zalman S Series 128GB SSD ReviewGeekspeak411 - December 21, 2010
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The Zalman S Series 128GB drive is a 2.5 inch drive that will feel right at home in either a laptop or a desktop. The S Series offers 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB variants, the last of which I will be testing. The drive is moderately attractive in its black brushed aluminum casing that maintains the drive's durable, but lightweight feel. The top of the drive is covered with a large sticker with a S Series graphic and some basic specs on it. At the bottom of the sticker is a hole allowing the drive's blue activity indicator light to peek through. The back of the drive is very basic with standard mounting holes allowing you to fit the drive in conversion or hotswap bays, such as the ones in Corsair's Obsidian 800D chassis. With a JMicron controller and 128MB of RAM as cache, the drive's rated speeds of 260MB/s read and 210MB/s write make this sound like quite the mainstream competitor, but will it measure up? Only time will tell.
The drive supports standard SATA II connections on the business end of the drive as well as a bonus mini-USB port to allow the drive to essentially be used as a giant flash drive. This is a nice touch for people who need to transfer large files between computers, but still wish to maintain mobility. The SATA II 3Gbps specs should leave plenty of overhead for the drive to operate at full speeds, but the USB 2.0 port will leave you a bit hungry. The drive has standard screws all the way around, and has all the mounting holes you could ask for in a 2.5 inch form factor.
As with pretty much any piece of hardware out there, opening up a manufactured product almost always voids your warrenty. Because of this, we take out the stress and just do it for you! Unfortunately, the insides of a SSD are not nearly as juicy as those of a new graphics card or the like, but that may just be personal opinion. Nevertheless, the Zalman S Series 128GB SSD is packed with a single PCB that hosts sixteen 8GB Intel MLC chips that are run by JMicrons standard JMF616 controller. The drive's 128MB cache buffer is present in the the form of a single Elpida chip. Right up next to the SATA II connections is the USB 2.0 port in all its periphrial glory.
The drive is fairly attractive and everything seems to be in order so far, so let's see how the drive performs.