MTRON SSD 32GB: Wile E. Coyote or Road Runner?

by Gary Key on 8/15/2007 3:00 AM EST
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  • enovikoff - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    I purchased two 7000 series SSDs for running a commercial datacenter (hey, they're billed as "enterprise") Both failed within 3 months and MTRON did not stand behind them. Instead they said that I should mail them to Korea(!!!) and wait to see if their tests indicated that they were defective. In my business "waiting" means I either have to spend money to replace the hardware or leave my customers high and dry. Attempts to RMA the SSDs through their reseller, NeoStore, also failed: NeoStore took the SSDs back and then never acknowledged emails or calls. $2000 worth of hardware (I have receipts/invoices to prove everything) is in their possession, and my company is out the $2000 as well as the refunds we had to pay our customers for the downtime.

    Avoid MTRON: they're not ready to provide reliable units or do business in the United States.
    Reply
  • WaterGun - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    The same drive is for sale in Japan for only 99800 Yen ~ US$900. Here is a list of online shops:
    http://www.3top.co.jp/shohin_ichiran.php?SearchMod...">3 Top
    http://shop.tsukumo.co.jp/goods/4582149901982/2015...">Tsukumo
    http://www.ark-pc.co.jp/item/MSD-SATA602532/code/1...

    So, why is there such a big price difference? Any takers?
    Reply
  • brundlefly - Friday, August 17, 2007 - link

    Hmmm there should be some kind of service that helps you order from Japanese web sites.

    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    Presumably, the 32GB SSD is measured using binary GB (1,073,741,824 bytes) rather than decimal GB like traditional hard-drives, therefore making it roughly 34.3GB when comparing it to other hard-drives. Still a bit on the small side, but perhaps worth mentioning. Reply
  • brundlefly - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    fdisk shows the device as 33.2 GB, but formatted as ext3 df shows ~31GB available.

    Disk /dev/sda: 33.2 GB, 33285996544 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4046 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

    df .
    Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
    /dev/sda5 31981396 8893912 21462916 30% /mnt/mtron
    Reply
  • brundlefly - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    I received one of these this week too for evaluating as a MySQL datadir.

    The results were outstanding - we had a handful of problem queries which would take 30-40 seconds on a 15k Fujitsu MAS Ultra SCSI. The same queries take about 3 seconds on the MTRON.

    I have worked with large MySQL databases for years, but there are a lot of examples like this one where I just cant qualify throwing a few days into A/B testing various indexing and table schemas for the performance issues with a handful of slow queries - especially when just *loading* a table and creating an index can take 20-30 min each. Throwing hardware at the problem is far cheaper and you can use simpler table layouts, plus you may not even be able to achieve this performance any other way in some scenarios.

    IMHO this is a unique 'drop-in' solution for a lot of specific data center applications. In the long term you are going to see these replace mechanicals across the board in the server room because they will be cheaper and far simpler to deal with then SCSI and offer far better performance with low heat, noise, and power.

    I also popped it in my notebook, which was just sublime. I already had the fastest mechanical in this notebook - a brand new Hitachi 7k200 with 16MB cache.

    Within 34 min I had a 32-bit Vista Ultimate / Ubuntu Feisty x64 dual-boot setup - Vista booted in 21 seconds, Ubuntu in a little under 30 (a savings of about 6 seconds for each). No noise, vibration, or heat - the fan never came on, even set to high performance power profile. I didnt do a battery life test but from the battery remaining indicator I would expect an extra half hour.

    Immediately the advantages of having a .1ms access time became apparent. Stuff just happens. Firefox cold boots in 3s, open a bunch of apps - the disk doesnt care, every piece of data is exactly .1ms away. Write speeds are more traditional but still as good as or better than the Hitachi. Subjectively the mental line between memory and disk usage just kind of dissolves.

    While booting, I heard the BIOS check the optical drive, and it was like 'wtf with this prehistoric mechanical thing in my notebook!' In a notebook, the mechanical drive is dead, IMHO, but yet once the prices come down.

    The lack of storage space was a downer, especially after just getting used to the 200GB in the Hitachi. I was thinking this could be partially augmented with a cheaper, slower 16GB expresscard SSD for music, etc.

    On my overclocked 3Ghz C2D 6400 2GB Raptor desktop, the results were similar but subjectively not as exciting since I dont really care about heat noise vibration power (BF2142 booted to 'join game' in 70s vs 80s on the raptor). I would definitely wait until the prices for a 64GB came down to $300 or so before using one as a boot drive.

    I use VMWare workstation a great deal, although I havent tried it yet this would be another application which would benefit greatly since it uses a pseudo-disk.

    The disk is definitely going into production immediately on the MySQL server, and I am considering getting one as my primary Linux development workstation disk as 32 GB goes a long way in that application, and I have never seen a Linux desktop perform like that. Plus I do a lot more disk-intensive stuff in development vs web surfing etc on my notebook or desktop PC.

    There is no argument IMHO - mechanicals are a dead-end technology as a notebook/desktop/server boot and application disk as soon as the prices come down.
    Reply
  • bji - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    You ended up being correct on all counts: 4 and a half years later and SSDs are making major inroads in every place you predicted they would. You can get a 120 GB SSD now for under $200 and it blows away the 32 GB Mtron you tested in every performance category. Reply
  • Googer - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    Could you possibly revisit this article at a later date and post some Mtron vs Raptor RAID 0 benchmarks?

    Also for the enterprise market and serious enthusiast, comparing this SSD to a Seagate 15k.5. Which would be the better value, 15K SAS or SATA SSD?
    Reply
  • erikejw - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    Please get another one and test it in Raid 0. Reply
  • Verdant - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    I would kill for one of these for my tablet, that would really affect battery life....and all the other good looking benefits. On the other hand i don't see working within the SSD capacity limitations, and i don't see spending nearly as much on an hd as the machine itself. I am hoping next refresh (2-3 years)something like this will meet my needs. Reply
  • Frumious1 - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    I don't think an SSD in a notebook is really going to affect battery life that much. There was a laptop review that made this point just the other day: http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=306...">see the last 3 paragraphs. If you have a low power laptop, it could probably cut 1-2W power and add maybe 15 minutes of battery life. 2.5" drives also aren't particularly hot, so it won't make a huge difference there. Now, performance would be faster for sure, since laptop drives are also slow, but $1500 or whatever for one of these puppies? I'll pass! Reply
  • ciparis - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    I may have missed it in the article -- was there a discussion of Windows boot times? That plus hibernate / sleep would be interesting. More comprehensive application launch time comparisons would be nice as well. Reply
  • PandaBear - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    With this kind of performance I think the target is not laptop but rather database servers that need very very fast seq and random access. They can afford a couple of these drives, easily.

    But then again, will a RAM based device like Gigabyte's work better? and how long would they last (i.e. how good is MTRON's wear leveling?)
    Reply
  • brundlefly - Saturday, August 18, 2007 - link

    Actually I have this disk and it outperforms every mechanical I have ever used in every scenario (server, database, notebook, desktop) (and I have 15k Fujitsu MAS UltraSCSI's, Raptors, and Hitachi 7k200). See my post below about MySQL performance, which is why I got the drive.

    There is no reason or desire to have a mechanical device in any computer, it doesn't even make any sense, its just the best solution weve had until the price, performance, size, and durability of SSD matured.

    BTW MTRON states you can write or erase 50GB/day for 140 years before any cells turn read-only. Thats longer then the MTBF for a raptor.

    Reply
  • StraightPipe - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    I'd love to see how one of these drives performs in multi-access enviroments. Can you run a server test or two (RAID would also be nice) to see how they do?



    I can't see too many home users picking these up for their desktops, but it's always nice to have another option. the 3.5" even goes to 128MB, it's about the same as my 160GB Raptor. Price is still way high, but like all good memory, it only gets cheaper :)

    Right now the pricing is set so it is most viable for the enterprise market.
    Reply
  • StraightPipe - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    From the Tom's article listed above:
    "Writing to lots of different cells slows the SSD down so much that even conventional 2.5" hard drives offer better I/O and file-write performance. "

    So this is probably not what you want for many server applications.

    For a webserver this fast read, no write scenario may be ideal.
    Reply
  • jaybuffet - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    http://www.adtec.co.jp/direct/index.php/product/18...">http://www.adtec.co.jp/direct/index.php/product/18...

    Is that $1600 USD?

    Their mainpage shows the 32GB version for about $850 USD
    Reply
  • brundlefly - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    I cant read Japanese but 198,000 yen = $1700 USD ? Reply
  • jaybuffet - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    Those are 3.5" drive versions i guess. According to the bottom of http://mtron.net/eng/sub_eb1.asp">http://mtron.net/eng/sub_eb1.asp their is also a 128GB 3.5" available Reply
  • EODetroit - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    ... It might be interesting to compare the speeds here with those from Gigabyte's old I-Ram.
    Reply
  • iwodo - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    With 40% price decrease per year as well as improve in transfer speed. It will only take 2-3 years before the drive become affordable.

    But i keep on wondering. Let say I need 10GB for OS. 10GB for Application. I still have 12GB for Swap Space and other uses. 32GB for basic usage is actually more then enough if we dont store any Music or Video.

    Personally i would like to see Normal Hard Drive gets much bigger Capacity ( 2 - 4 TB Per Hard Drive ) and move them out of the Main Box to external storage via eSATA. While the Main performance Hard drive will be a SSD based Hard Drive.
    Reply
  • wordsworm - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    Boo! Reply
  • johnsonx - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    it's a hard drive test, what difference does it make what CPU brand they use? Reply
  • wordsworm - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    Did you read the article? It mentioned how much faster it works on the Nvidia chipset than the Intel chipset. What about an AMD chipset? What difference would that make? You don't think this would make a difference after reading the article? Reply
  • shabby - Saturday, August 18, 2007 - link

    You're right, with the amd chipset it would probably be 50% slower... good thing anandtech didnt waste their time testing on amd ;) Reply
  • Bladen - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    Has any reputable site ever done RAID 0 tests with a pair (or more) of SSD's? Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    Well http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/08/13/flash_based...">Toms Hardware had done a review including RAID 0 on SanDisk's 32GB SSD Reply
  • johnsonx - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    yes, but he asked for a reputable site
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    bad johnsonx, bad! Reply
  • Axbattler - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    quote:

    We doubt SSD products will make significant headway into the desktop market over the next three years due to the continued explosion of storage space requirements for digital entertainment.

    I agree that it will remain a niche market product, but I reckon that the main reason will be cost per GB. I wonder if the average consumer's space requirement has exploded much past the requirement added by Vista: how many really rip audio/video to their HD?

    Granted, I am a space hog, and I happen to rip at least my CDs to lossless - but I do not know many (outside enthusiast forums) who do that. From a performance enthusiast point of view, especially those who will afford the 'best', I reckon that SSD may overtake the Raptor as the choice for OS drive within the next three years. Those users could always grab one or more TB size HD for their multimedia needs. From a silent PC enthusiast point of view, going by this review, SSD is a non brainer - the more dedicated silencers are already using 2.5" drive in their desktop.
    Reply
  • mostlyprudent - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    I hope Gary's 3 year prediction is as wrong as AT's (and just about everyone else's) prediction about DDR3 speeds and latencies! I am quite impressed by what has happened in SSD technology over the last year or so. Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    Well I do rip loseless audio from CDs. On some types of music I can hear differences betwween mp3 and ape

    32GB is just enough for a Windows installation plus few applications

    It's best to store multimedia files to a HDD
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    80MB/s sustained is more than enough for video editing, and I am not sure you guys understand this or not, but until now, this is the first test I have personally seen that the SSD comes this close to overall standard HDD in performance. The Raptor may peak higher, but if I am reading these benchmarks correctly, this drive is FAST. Take the sub milisecond access times, and you have something worth talking about.

    As for Windows boot times, I think if you compared this even to a Raptor, you would notice a diference in bootup times. Windows may not need much more than ~12MB/s transfers, but the very low access times will show a noticable difference. Maybe only a second or two, but in Windows boot times, this is outstanding given the current performance of all current HDDs.

    quote:

    32GB is just enough for a Windows installation plus few applications


    Uh, WinXP only needs ~1.5GB-4GB for a base install, this gives plenty of room for other applications. I do not know how other people install their OSes, but this is perfect for me, since I keep all my data(important or not) on a different drive from the OS anyhow. This SSD would probably serve great as a Photoshop scratch disk as well . . .
    Reply
  • GlassHouse69 - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    Windows itself doesnt need a fast drive. I load up windows 1x every 2-3 weeks. It is on 24/7. The swap file is affected, but with 2 gb of ram, dual core, xp pro, O&O defrag and no random crap programs loaded into memory unnecessarily, I never see my hd tic when I am using windows.

    Now, network transfers it can show, but that is for 1 hour here and there, maybe 3-4x a month. Really, what the fast hd is used for is encoding or decoding, compressing and uncompressing, and, most importantly, games. There you would never dream of using anything less than 100 gigs of space. So, this thing is completely useless. yay! I mean, unless you make a partition for your favorite games and another for some ripping usage, 32 gb is next to useless.

    it is a great write up though. nicely done
    Reply
  • AnnihilatorX - Friday, August 17, 2007 - link

    Not entirely true

    Although Windows at run-time does not need a fast drive,
    Windows at boot-time and applications at load-time do improve a lot

    Windows startup is 2x faster on SSD
    That alone is the biggest selling point of SSD
    Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    You might want to try a quick and dirty benchmark in Linux, maybe the situation is simply related to drivers. And maybe some quick and dirty benchmarks in XP versus Vista, just to see if the Intel chipset is slower in all configurations Reply
  • Epyon - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - link

    Thanks for the review. Its great to have some concrete numbers to base opinions on SSDs. Reply

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