Silicon Power Slim S55 240GB Solid State Drive Review

by - 4 years ago

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Introduction


Slim S55

I have already had the pleasure to review a few storage products from Silicon Power and today I’m having the second solid state drive of theirs on my test bench for a closer look at what it can perform: The Silicon Power Slim S55 240GB solid state drive.

Silicon Power’s Slim series of solid state drives all come with a 7mm thickness, making them perfect for ultrabooks and similar portable computers that require this form factor. Traditional 2.5-inch mechanical drives mostly come with a 9.5mm thickness, ruling them out as an option. The Slim S55 SSD is the little brother in this series, but it doesn’t need to be ashamed of that.

SP_S55-Photo-top angle

The Silicon Power Slim S55 is designed for the budget minded consumer that doesn’t want to compromise performance at the same time. Taking the move up from a mechanical hard disk drive or a solid state hybrid drive and to a real SSD can make a world of difference and the SP Slim S55 would be a great option here. It is available as just the drive itself, as I’m testing and reviewing today, but it is also available as an upgrade package with included shockproof external enclosure and cloning software to make the switch as easy as possible. A few clicks with the included NTI Echo 3 cloning software and your laptop is ready to rock with solid state drive speeds.

A solid state drive is an optimal choice for any portable computer, it has a higher reliability and durability than a mechanical HDD does. It doesn’t have any moving parts that generate noise, it consumes less power, has a higher shock resistance, and a throughput that is a lot higher.

SP_S55-Photo-connector

The Silicon Power Slim S55 connects through a default SATA3 interface that’s also backward compatible with previous generations. Connecting it to a slower bus naturally also impacts performance, but it is one of the nice things about the SATA connector: Combability. The Slim S55 is rated for a performance of up to 520 MB/s while reading and up to 460 MB/s when writing.

Feature wise we find all the basics and as well as a little more. The Slim S55 supports TRIM and Garbage Collection, Native Command Queuing and it is RAID ready. S.M.A.R.T. is also supported and it comes with built-in Error Correction Code. The only thing that’s missing a little bit is the DeviceSleep feature and maybe encryption support, but you can’t get it all when you go down the budget route.

SP_S55-Photo-side

Silicon Power offers the Slim S55 solid state drive in five different capacities, making sure there is an optimal choice for everyone. Users that only need a little space because they run an Android or ChromeOS, or possible store most data in a personal or commercial cloud environment will find great options here just as users that require more space for a complete windows installation with games and programs will. The Slim S55 is available with 32GB, 60GB, 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB capacity. All of them are backed by a 3-year warranty.

SP_S55-Photo-bottom

Opening up the drive and having a look inside and we see what the drive is made of. We find a 2/3 sized PCB featuring a quad-core Phison PS3110-S10 controller that should give a great performance at both sequential and random operations. There are four NAND chips on the top and another four on the rear, making up the total of 240GB capacity. We also see a Nanya 128MB DDR3 cache located on the top.

SP_S55-Photo-pcb top

SP_S55-Photo-pcb bottom

Features

  • 7mm slim design suitable for Ultrabooks and Ultra-slim notebooks
  • SATA III 6Gbps, backward compatible with SATA II 3Gbps
  • ATTO high transfer rate: Read speed: 520 MB/s max; Write speed: 460 MB/s max
  • Smartest Choice for System Upgrade
  • Supports TRIM command and Garbage Collection technology
  • NCQ and RAID ready
  • Implemented with ECC technology to guarantee data transmission reliability
  • Built-in with SMART monitoring system
  • Low power consumption
  • Shockproof & Anti-Vibration
  • Noiseless operation, no latency delay and no seek error
  • 3-year warranty

Packaging

Silicon Power wrapped the Slim S55 in a blister package that displays the included drive directly through the front while it also highlights the drives features and 7mm slim-type.

SP_S55-Photo-box front

On the rear, we can find a few more information such as how much better it is than a traditional hard disk drive as well as a list of the basic features NCQ, TRIM, and RAID readiness in several languages.

SP_S55-Photo-box rear

Inside the blister pack is the drive itself and the leaflet folds out into a small manual and getting started guide that highlights the features, specifications and setting description.

SP_S55-Photo-content

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Testing & Methodology


Hardware

Software

  • AIDA64 Storage Benchmark
  • Anvil’s Storage Utilities
  • AS SSD Benchmark
  • ATTO Benchmark
  • CrystalDiskMark
  • IOMeter
  • PCMark 8 Storage Benchmark

In a bid to make our testing as thorough and as accurate as possible, we have devised a testing methodology to give us the maximum amount of data. Whilst this means that testing each drive will take considerably longer to test – nearly 36 hours in fact, the picture that we are able to build upon the overall performance of each drive is far clearer, providing a more accurate analysis at how a drive performs under different conditions.

I will be testing the drives performance when it is clean and fresh out of the box and then start to fill it up with data, namely 25%, 50% and 75% of the drives capacity and rerun the tests under each of these scenarios. I’ll be using the same sample files under each test to keep the results as consistent as possible. The files in question are a collection of files from my personal NAS, composed of a mixture of small and big files, media, programs, and archives.

On top of this, I will also take the wear on the NAND into consideration and this process obviously takes a long time to perform – so long under real world conditions that it is simply not practical. In order to accelerate this conditioning process I will use the SSD endurance test that lies within Anvils Storage Utilities and read / write 10TB of data to the drive through a process of filling the drive with thousands of small files of various sizes and compressibility (with randomised duration between each of the writes), then reading each of them back with a randomised time between each file. After this has completed, the data is then erased and the process starts again. This process of conditioning the drive can take anywhere upwards of 12-15 hours on a typical 256GB SATA III SSD, however, the performance and capacity of the drive will influence the time it takes to condition the drive.

Following the conditioning process, the benchmarking process described above is repeated again with the volume filled with the same sample data to each percentage between test runs. Furthermore between each benchmark, the drive will get a TRIM command sent and further left alone for a while to make sure the TRIM command has done its job. TRIM can heavily impact a drives performance as it takes place, so allowing a period of time between tests will eliminate this factor and any subsequent false performance figures.

On each page that follows with the benchmark results, I have inserted the screenshots from the benchmark results, created a drive analysis chart for fill-level as well as a drive comparison chart for each software used, where possible.

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

AIDA64


AIDA64 is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for home users. It provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring.

It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives and is compatible with most Microsoft Windows operating systems. It also has a disk benchmark tool, and that is the one I’ll be using.

Fresh Drive

SP_S55-BenchFresh-aida suite

The Linear Read and Write tests measure the sequential performance by reading or writing all sectors without skipping any. It gives, as the name says, a linear view on the drives overall performance from start to end.

SP_S55-BenchFresh-aida read linear

SP_S55-BenchFresh-aida write linear

The Random Read and Write tests measure the random performance by reading or writing variable-sized data blocks at random locations on the surface of the drive. The Random tests are actually a combination of both speed and access times as it moves the position before each new operation.

SP_S55-BenchFresh-aida read random

SP_S55-BenchFresh-aida write random

The Access time tests are designed to measure the data access performance by reading or writing small 0.5KB data blocks at random locations on the drive surface.

SP_S55-BenchFresh-aida read access

SP_S55-BenchFresh-aida write access

Conditioned Drive

SP_S55-BenchCondi-aida suite

The Linear Read and Write tests measure the sequential performance by reading or writing all sectors without skipping any. It gives, as the name says, a linear view on the drives overall performance from start to end.

SP_S55-BenchCondi-aida read linear

SP_S55-BenchCondi-aida write linear

The Random Read and Write tests measure the random performance by reading or writing variable-sized data blocks at random locations on the surface of the drive. The Random tests are actually a combination of both speed and access times as it moves the position before each new operation.

SP_S55-BenchCondi-aida read random

SP_S55-BenchCondi-aida write random

The Access time tests are designed to measure the data access performance by reading or writing small 0.5KB data blocks at random locations on the drive surface.

SP_S55-BenchCondi-aida read access

SP_S55-BenchCondi-aida write access

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Anvil’s Storage Utilities


Anvil’s Storage Utilities is a new benchmarking utility that we have started using here at eTeknix, it’s completely free to download and has the ability to test mainly hard drives and solid state drives, but also any other form of storage medium that you can throw at it.

As well as testing the drive in a variety of benchmarking tests, it also has a drive endurance test that consistently reads and writes data to the selected medium to give days, months and potentially even years of use in a shorter period of time to see how the drive copes in the longer term.

Fresh Drive

SP_S55-BenchFresh-anvils compr

SP_S55-BenchFresh-anvils incompr

Conditioned Drive

SP_S55-BenchCondi-anvils compr 75

SP_S55-BenchCondi-anvils incompr 75

Drive Performance

SP_S55-ChartAnalysis-Anvils_compr

SP_S55-ChartAnalysis-Anvils_incomp

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

SP_S55-ChartDrives-Anvils

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

AS SSD


The AS SSD software determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains five synthetic and three practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are performed without using the operating system caches. In Sequential tests, the program measures the time it takes to read and write a 1 GB file respectively. To give a clearer picture of the drives tested, I’ve chosen to include all tests. Special the copy test is one that I think is relevant on the consumer level as it gives the user a view into one of the operations he’s going to do many times.

Fresh Drive

SP_S55-BenchFresh-asssd combined

SP_S55-BenchFresh-asssd compr

Conditioned

SP_S55-BenchCondi-asssd combined

SP_S55-BenchCondi-asssd compr

Drive Performance

SP_S55-ChartAnalysis-ASSSD

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

SP_S55-ChartDrives-ASSSD

SP_S55-ChartDrives-ASSSD_IOPS

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

ATTO


The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Measure your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Several options are available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

Fresh Drive

SP_S55-BenchFresh-atto

Conditioned

SP_S55-BenchCondi-atto 75

Drive Performance

SP_S55-ChartAnalysis-ATTO

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

SP_S55-ChartDrives-ATTO

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

CrystalDiskMark


CrystalDiskMark is a small HDD benchmark utility for your hard drive that enables you to rapidly measure sequential and random 4KB/512KB read/write speeds.

Fresh Drive

SP_S55-BenchFresh-cdm

Conditioned

SP_S55-BenchCondi-cdm 75

Drive Performance

SP_S55-ChartAnalysis-CDM

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

SP_S55-ChartDrives-CDM

SP_S55-ChartDrives-CDM_Random

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

IOmeter & PCMark 8


IOmeter

OMeter is an I/O subsystem measurement and characterization tool for single and clustered systems. It is used as a benchmark and troubleshooting tool and is easily configured to replicate the behavior of many popular applications. One commonly quoted measurement provided by the tool is IOPS.

IOMeter allows the configuration of disk parameters such as the ‘Maximum Disk Size’, ‘Starting Disk Sector’ and ‘# of Outstanding I/Os’. This allows a user to configure a test file upon which the ‘Access Specifications’ configure the I/O types to the file. Configurable items within the Access Specifications are Transfer Request Size, Percent Random/Sequential distribution, Percent Read/Write Distribution, Aligned I/O’s, Reply Size, and TCP/IP status among others.

Sequential Performance

SP_S55-IOmeter_seq

Random 4K Performance

SP_S55-IOmeter_ran

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

SP_S55-ChartDrives-IOmeter_seq

SP_S55-ChartDrives-IOmeter_ran

PCMark 8

PCMark 8 Storage benchmark is used test the performance of SSDs, HDDs and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games. You can test any recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

Fresh Drive

SP_S55-BenchFresh-pcmark

Conditioned Drive

SP_S55-BenchCondi-pcmark

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

SP_S55-Chart-PCmark_score

SP_S55-Chart-PCmark_bandwidth

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Final Thoughts


Pricing

The Silicon Power Slim S55 can be a tricky drive to find, but it might be worth the search when we look at the benchmark results. Most vendors will have a different and older design of the drive shown, but you can identify it by the product code. At the time of writing, I found it listed for £68.41 for UK readers and starting from €78.99 in Germany. Amazon US has the drive listed for $63.35. Since writing this review, the drive’s availability got a lot better. For example, you can now get it at Aria PC too for just £59.99.

SP_S55-Chart-PricePerGB

Conclusion

The Slim S55 is the little brother in the Slim series of 7mm thin Silicon Power solid state drives, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t show its teeth and perform great. It performed far better than I had expected with sequential read results all the way up to 556MB/s in ATTO and 530MB/s in CDM. The random performance was equally impressive with 92K IOPS reading and 89K IOPS writing during our IOmeter benchmarks.

The design is very simple: a two piece black casing with a sticker on the top. The colourful logo brightens it up a bit, but other than that it is just a plain and simple black drive. Feature wise it has the basics such as SMART, TRIM, and Garbage collection features, but it also comes with Error Correction Code and is RAID ready.

There is a capacity option for pretty much anyone. It starts out with small drives at 32GB and 64GB for basics setups where you don’t need much local capacity and continues over 120GB to the 240GB model that I tested today and ending in a 480GB model. The available upgrade kits make the switch from an old system extremely easy as they come with an external enclosure to be used during the upgrade as well as cloning software. Once you are done with the upgrade, you can use the enclosure for the old drive and use it as a portable one instead.

Pros

  • Phison S10 Controller
  • Great performance
  • Available as upgrade-pack
  • RAID ready, TRIM, ECC, SMART, NCQ, and Garbage Collection features
  • 32GB to 480GB capacity options

Cons

  • Availability

“Silicon Power’s Slim S55 SSD has a surprisingly great performance and did not let us down in any of our benchmarks.”

Extreme-Performance

Silicon Power Slim S55 240GB Solid State Drive Review

Thank You Silicon Power for providing us with this sample.

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Testing & Methodology
  3. Aida64
  4. Anvil's Storage Utilities
  5. AS SSD
  6. ATTO
  7. CrystalDiskMark
  8. IOmeter
  9. Final Thoughts
  10. View All

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