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I need some relatively-affordable 256 GB SSD drives for a Linux application where fast seek performance (many IOPS) is more important than sequential throughput. The ratio of reads to writes is more than 10,000 to 1.

I like Intel X-25 drives but can't wait for their 320 GB MLC so I'm looking at others.

OCZ, Corsair, Patriot, Super Talent, Kingston, etc. have 256 GB MLC drives in the $600-$700 range but I haven't found high quality or Linux-oriented performance metrics for them. Can anyone point me to good benchmarks or describe their own testing with these drives?

Which of them have support for updating the firmware in Linux? Booting an ISO to do the firmware update is possible but annoying. Running a Windows executable is not an option.


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I decided to go with the Patriot Torqx 256 GB drives ($695 each). We'll see how they do.. – Kevin Oct 23 '09 at 20:04
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Anandtech is the place I go for current commentary on SSDs.

The most recent article is The SSD Relapse: Understanding and Choosing the Best SSD

The short version is; bigger drives are faster. Intel makes the best, Indilinx based drives are a close second. As to firmware updates, I have yet to see anyone make a tool to do it for anything but Windows.

I have had very good experience with SuperTalent UltraDrive's sized at 64 and 128gb and would buy a 256gb version of the drive in a heartbeat if I had a need for that size.

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Which of the UltraDrive models do you like? SX, RX, ME? – Kevin Oct 21 '09 at 21:34
Specifically, the SuperTalent UltraDrive GX. I am not sure what controllers are in the other models. – Brian De Smet Oct 22 '09 at 17:08
Intel supply bootable ISO images for firmware flashing, and you can get hold of the tool to do it from your own dos environment. This still isn't from within linux, but it's not from Windows only, which is why I'm raising the point :) – Daniel Lawson Jan 10 '10 at 2:56

The only real MLC solution to look at is the Intel X25-M SSD drives, they only come in 80 and 160GB flavours, but they are definitely above the other desktop-grade drives in terms of performance and life-span.

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I use a lot of X25-M and X-25E but this project requires single drives with at least 256 GB which is why I'm considering other makers. – Kevin Oct 21 '09 at 21:15

You will find a lot of good info on the state of play for SSD drives (SLC\MLC Flash, RAM and hybrid) on StorageSearch's SSD section. They are strongly biased towards enterprise class storage systems but even so the information you can find there is relevant - you want drives that can perform under server type loads.

My general advice is be careful with the affordable stuff that is out there right now, even the X-25M which is an awesome drive in a desktop\notebook environment. Most of the commentary you will find is carried out by, and aimed at, people interested in SSD's for desktop\user computing environments and most of the characteristics that are best suited to those environments are not the same as those desired by someone looking to build high IOPS tier-0 storage layer for servers. Consumer grade SSD's have highly erratic performance characteristics under sustained load in particular.

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