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G.Skill Phoenix Pro 40GB & 120GB Solid State Drives Review

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AkG

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XP Start Up / ADOBE CS3 Load Time

XP Start Up


When it comes to hard drive performance there is one area that even the most oblivious user notices: how long it takes to load the Operating System. While all the other tests were run with a streamlined XP image this particular image is the test bed's “day to day” OS and it has accumulated a lot of crud over the months from installs and removals. We chose the Anti-Virus splash screen as our finish line as it is the last program to be loaded on start up.

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Phoenix Pro/boot.jpg" border="0" alt="" />



ADOBE CS3 LOAD TIME


Photoshop is a notoriously slow loading program under the best of circumstances, but when you add in a bunch of extra brushes and the such you get a really great torture test which can bring even the best of the best to their knees. Let’s see how our review unit faired in the Adobe crucible!

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Phoenix Pro/adobe.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
 
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AkG

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Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Real World Data Transfers

Real World Data Transfers


No matter how good a synthetic benchmark like IOMeter or PCMark is, it can not really tell you how your hard drive will perform in “real world” situations. All of us here at Hardware Canucks strive to give you the best, most complete picture of a review item’s true capabilities and to this end we will be running timed data transfers to give you a general idea of how its performance relates to real life use. To help replicate worse case scenarios we will transfer a 4.00GB contiguous RAR file and a folder containing 49 subfolders with a total 2108 files varying in length from 20mb to 1kb (1.00 GB total).

Testing will include transfer to and transferring from the devices, timing each process individually to provide an approximate Read and Write performance. To then stress the dive even more we will then make a copy of the large file to another portion of the same drive and then repeat the process with the small one. This will test the drive to its limits as it will be reading and writing simultaneously. Here is what we found.


<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Phoenix Pro/copy_lg.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Phoenix Pro/copy_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Phoenix Pro/copy_self.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

While the G.Skill Phoenix Pro 120GB is a second faster here or there it really is a tie with the Vertex 2. It seems its older firmware doesn’t noticeably hurt its performance. This is what we expected. Luckily, the 40GB once again did not fail to impress posting numbers that are simply astonishing for such a (relatively) cheap drive! Bloody impressive is all we can say.
 
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AkG

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Oct 24, 2007
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5,270
Conclusion

Conclusion


G.Skill’s SSD lineup has impressed us on a regular basis and the Phoenix Pro drives have continued this tradition of excellence. Both drives posted consistent performance across the board and once again showed why Sandforce-based drives are making a name for themselves in the SSD market.

Naturally, there both the 40GB and 120GB drives are aimed at completely different markets so we decided to treat them separately in this conclusion.


40GB


The Phoenix Pro 40GB is one hell of a product. It really is amazing to see a sub-$150 drive with the ability to outperform last year’s flagship SSDs and still have enough grunt to run neck and neck with even today’s higher-end products. In many cases it even eats other mundane 40GB SandForce drives for breakfast due in part to the “full speed” firmware it possesses. While the Phoenix Pro 40GB is certainly not going to be right for everyone, the performance we saw will make it awfully tempting to many.

We do however have some concerns about this drive. While the Pro 40GB will work exceedingly well as a boot drive, it really does lack the space necessary to be considered a true “storage” product. This limited capacity unfortunately walks hand in hand with a price that’s slightly out of sync with the current realities in the SSD market. Considering an OCZ Vertex 2 60GB goes for around $135 and even the larger 60GB version of the Phoenix Pro is $130, $125 for a comparable 40GB drive is a hard sell indeed.

The Phoenix Pro 40GB is an excellent product that offers class-leading numbers and puts quite a few other 40GB drives to shame. Since pricing is fluid and we have seen it on sale for less than $110, we’re awarding the Pro 40GB our Dam Good Award.


Pros:

- Extremely fast for a mere “entry level” drive
- Great low end performance
- Reasonable price


Cons:

- While very good, the current pricing does tip it into the realm of 60GB SandForce drives
- Durability concerns w/plastic push pins

dam_good.jpg



120GB


Our commentary for the 120GB version of the Phoenix Pro very much reflects what was said above about the 40GB version. Unlike the mid-tier drive, this one has enough storage space to satisfy most people’s needs. However, since this is a much higher-end drive with a correspondingly large $200 price point our expectations are understandably much stricter.

In terms of raw all-round speed, the Phoenix Pro 120GB has very few competitors other than OCZ’s identical capacity Vertex 2. Regardless of the similarities between the two drives, OCZ product does stay out front by virtue of its slightly more refined firmware but the difference really is negligible. G.Skill has also worked towards offering this 120GB drive at a highly aggressive price of about $25 less than the competition.

Since this is can be considered one of G.Skill’s flagship drives things that we let slip with the 40GB version need to be brought up here. Attaching the PCB to the SSD’s chassis with brittle push pins is definitely a faux pas in our books. We also feel like G.Skill needs to be a bit quicker on the firmware trigger since OCZ’s drives have been sporting the “3.4” version for the better part of a month now while the Phoenix Pro still lags behind.

Considering the Phoenix Pro’s high performance and relatively low price in relation to the competition, it receives our Dam Good Value Award.


Pros:

- Big and Fast
- Good price / performance ratio


Cons:

- Durability concerns
- G.Skill is usually one step behind in the firmware revision department



 
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