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Solidata K5-32 solid-state drive

Solidata K5-32 solid-state drive

Solidata's SLC-based solid-state drive is energy efficient, but it has poor write performance

The Solidata K5-32 is a 2.5in, 32GB solid-state drive (SSD). It features single-level cell (SLC) memory, which allows it to provide higher input/output operations per second (IOPS) than drives with multi-level cells (MLC). This makes it a good choice for servers, workstations and high-end desktops, but it does come with a high-end price tag to match.

It has a formatted capacity of 29.8GB and a cost per formatted gigabyte of $11.21. This price is almost twice as expensive as the MLC-based Solidata K6-32 SSD. Thankfully, as far as SLC solid-state drives go, the K5-32 is still a relatively good buy; the Kingston 80GB SSDNow M Series solid-state drive has an even higher price of $16.72 per formatted gigabyte.

Of course, there is a reason you’re shelling out the extra cash: SLC memory generally offers higher IOPS than MLC memory, which means that it can handle more operations in a shorter amount of time. This makes it a viable option for servers and storage area networks (SAN). Solidata quotes the K5-32 SSD at 7000 IOPS for write operations and 7500 IOPS for read operations; by contrast, the Kingston SSDNow E series manages 35,000 IOPS for write operations and 3300 IOPS for read operations. Though SLC solid-state drives offer higher input/output operations in a given period, they don't necessarily offer better performance in tasks that don't require sustained throughput. In our tests, we transferred both large and small files between the K5-32 SSD and a 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptor test drive. In our large file test — transferring 20GB of 3-4GB files — the K5-32 SSD had a write speed of 42.4 megabytes per second, a read speed of 76.9MBps and it performed a simultaneous read/write operation at a rate of 37.1MBps. These transfer speeds are faster than the MLC K6-32 SSD, but still slow when compared to other solid-state drives like the MLC-based Intel X25-M.

Our small file test consisted of transferring 3GB of 1MB files. The K5-32 solid-state drive wrote this data at a rate of 34.1MBps, read it at 50.6MBps and performed a simultaneous read/write operation at a rate of 26.8MBps. Overall, these transfer speeds are on par with the K6-32 SSD.

Thankfully, solid-state drives aren't purely about performance; they are also cooler, quieter and more power efficient than conventional hard drives. The K5-32 SSD is particularly frugal when it comes to power consumption. During our tests, it consumed 0.4 Watts when idle, and a maximum of 1.06W when writing data. Overall power consumption is slightly less than the MLC-based K6-32 SSD and significantly less than Intel's X25-M solid-state drive, which had erratic power usage during our tests. These power savings certainly add up when multiple solid-state drives are used in a RAID array or employed in a 24/7 role.

The Solidata K5-32 solid-state drive has a 2.5in form factor and is 9.5mm thick. This makes it suitable for use in all SATA-based notebooks that have a 2.5in drive bay. However, the K5-32's is better suited to servers, SANs or 2.5in network-attached storage devices like the QNAP SS-439 Pro Turbo NAS.

The Solidata K5-32 solid-state drive is an affordable option for IOPS-intensive enterprise applications such as virtual machines and high-capacity storage arrays. It has low power consumption and operates silently. At 32GB, however, it won't replace conventional hard drives, and it’s much slower than other SLC-based and even MLC-based solid-state drives.

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