We've been following the evolution of solid-state drives for some time now, highlighting the most relevant offerings at any given time, and noting the impact that newer controllers have had in improving performance. The first and most significant step towards mainstream adoption was made by Intel mid-2008 when they released their affordable 50nm MLC-based X25-M drives which at the time offered significantly better performance than any other competing product.
Shortly after, towards the end of 2008 newer drives started to surface carrying a controller from Indilinx called “Barefoot”, most notable of which was the OCZ Vertex series. The Barefoot controller closed the performance gap on the Intel X25-M while reducing SSD prices at the same time.
Further down the track around mid-2009 a new breed of solid-state drives started to emerge based on a Samsung controller (code-name S3C29RBB01-YK40). OCZ were quick to jump on it releasing the Summit series. We test drove the 120GB model, but found that the Samsung controller delivered mixed results, usually coming close or at times beating the competition put forth by the Barefoot Indilinx or the Intel X25-M.
Timing didn't really help Samsung as Intel moved forward with their second generation X25-M drives and in the process killed competing drives like the OCZ Summit. Samsung’s first shot at cracking the SSD market was really over before it began and OCZ were forced to axe the Summit range within 6 months of release.
The next big thing came from a company called SandForce, who released the SF-1200 controller. This chip is still relatively new and remains one of the best available today. In fact, we tend to prefer drives such as the OCZ Vertex 2 that uses the SF-1200 controller over the Intel X25-M G2.
This leaves just one other real competitor, the speedy Crucial C300 which is based on the Marvell 88SS9174 controller. However, with the Intel X25-M G3 series scheduled for release early next year and the perspective that SSDs are finally taking a price cut after a nearly stagnant year, the SSD market won't stand still for long.
In the meantime it appears that Samsung is back in the game with a new controller they have quietly sneaked out the door. Lo and behold Samsung started selling their new 470 Series SSDs in late August featuring capacities of 64GB, 128GB and 256GB.
The 470 Series is being exclusively sold under the Samsung brand name and doesn't just feature a Samsung controller but also Samsung NAND flash memory. The drives boast some pretty impressive specifications, for example the 256GB version we are reviewing today claims a read throughput of 250MB/s and writes of 220MB/s. There are also some pretty amazing power consumption figures, so without further ado let's check out this new drive in greater detail...