Shootouts

Entry-level SSD Showdown: OCZ Trion 150 vs. Samsung SSD 750 Evo vs. Sony SLW-M

By Ciara Alarcon & Kenny Yeo - 16 May 2016

Samsung SSD 750 Evo & Sony SLW-M

With the high-end SSD market handily tied up with their new blazingly fast SSD 950 Pro, Samsung is turning their attention to the entry-level market again and recently announced their new SSD 750 Evo.

Can you tell which is which? Ok, the new Samsung SSD 750 Evo is on the left, while the SSD 850 Evo is on the right.

The SSD 750 Evo uses Samsung’s own TLC NAND, which helps reduce cost, but at some expense of performance and endurance. According to Samsung, the SSD 750 Evo is targeted primarily at OEMs and system builders, providing them with a drive that has superior performance characteristics as compared to mechanical hard disk drives, but at a more palatable price point.

Inside, the SSD 750 Evo uses Samsung’s latest 16nm TLC NAND. Samsung’s last planar TLC NAND drive, the SSD 840 Evo, used 19nm TLC NAND. It also uses Samsung’s own MGX controller, the same controller that’s currently being employed in the SSD 850 Evo. Power consumption figures are suitably impressive. In DevSleep mode, the SSD 750 Evo consumes just 6mW of energy; while in idle mode, the drive’s power consumption is rated at just 50mW - a great deal less than the earlier OCZ Trion 150.

Unlike the SSD 850 Evo which is available in SATA, mSATA and M.2 form factors, the SSD 750 Evo will only support SATA 6Gbps.

One feature that the SSD 750 Evo has that its competitors at this price point doesn’t is hardware encryption. Thanks to the MGX controller, the SSD 750 Evo has full hardware support for 256-bit AES encryption and also supports TCG 2.0 Opal and the IEEE 1667 standards. Given today’s increased concern about security, the this added feature gives the SSD 750 Evo a big advantage over its competitors.

And like Samsung’s other TLC NAND drives, the SSD 750 Evo will benefit from Samsung’s performance-enhancing technologies like TurboWrite and RAPID mode. If you have already forgotten, TurboWrite dedicates a small portion of its TLC NAND to work as an SLC write buffer. This helps boost its write performance to make up for the shortcoming of TLC NAND, which typically suffers from inferior write performance. RAPID mode, on the other hand, is a caching technology that was introduced in the middle of 2014 to boost random I/O performance with smaller size data at low queue depths. Essentially, it makes use of unallocated system memory and spare CPU cycles to cache data and boost performance. We investigated Samsung's RAPID mode technology in the past and found it to work very well.

Samsung's excellent Magician utility lets users quickly monitor, optimize and manage their Samsung SSDs.

The Samsung SSD 750 Evo comes with no accessories other than Samsung’s own data migration software and the Samsung Magician utility. Samsung Magician is a nifty app that lets users easily manage and monitor their drives, optimize its performance and also update its firmware. One thing to note is that the SSD 750 Evo will only be available in two capacities - 120GB and 250GB.

Sony SLW-M series

When Sony announced in February earlier this year that it was releasing its first ever SSDs, we were all taken aback. Prior to this, the company had announced that it would be cutting all non-profitable businesses and focus on its core businesses. So to announce brand new SSDs, a market that it had never had a part in before, was surprising, to say the least.

Yup, we never thought we would see a Sony-branded SSD, but here it is.

With no experience in making SSDs and no NAND manufacturing facilities of their own, it’s no surprise that Sony had to turn to third-party providers for their SSD's controller and NAND.. The controller is Phison’s new high-end PS3110-S10 controller and the NAND is Toshiba’s 19nm TLC NAND.

Like the other two drives here, the Sony SLW-M SSD also supports SATA 6Gbps.

The use of Phison’s new S10 controller is intriguing because it is a fairly high-spec controller that currently sees action in quite number of other SSDs including the Corsair Neutron XT, Kingston HyperX and a few more. It has four cores and eight NAND channels and was designed by Phison to work with both MLC and TLC NAND and supports up to 2TB in capacity. Interestingly, it also supports 256-bit hardware AES encryption - a feature that is lacking in many entry-level and mid-range SSDs.

The Sony SSD Toolbox utility is pretty limited in its functionality as it only displays the status of the drive.

In terms of packaging, the Sony SLW-M comes with a spacer to boost its height to 9.5mm and also a free copy of Acronis True Image 2015 to make it easy for users to migrate to their new Sony SSD. There's also Sony's SSD Toolbox utility, but it is pretty limited in its use as it only displays basic information about the drive's status and health, and cannot be used for functions like updating the firmware or optimizing the drive's performance. The Sony SLW-M will be available in two capacities - 240GB (SLW-MG2) and 480GB (SLW-MG4).