Photofast G-Monster V4 ZIF SSD User Review

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by User Retired 2, Nov 27, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. User Retired 2

    User Retired 2 Notebook Nobel Laureate NBR Reviewer

    Reputations:
    4,127
    Messages:
    7,892
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Introduction

    Notebook owners using ZIF HDD or older SSD storage have a new performance storage upgrade option available. The Photofast G-Monster V4 ZIF SSD combines a EastWho EWS720 native PATA SSD controller, hardware garbage collection, best-in-class low power consumption and fast 15MB/s 4kb random reads. Performance testing below shows an average of 3-times-faster performance than a ZIF HDD. It is available for purchase from the Photofast US, UK, EU or AUS distributor.

    Note: Reviewed is a pre-release 128GB product with 16MB of cache and the SSD controller blanked. The final product will have 64MB of cache with slightly faster write performance than indicated below.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    1: Unboxing slideshow
    2: G-Monster V4 internals: 34nm MLC NAND flash, blanked SSD controller in pre-release product
    3: G-Monster V4 installed in a HP 2510P
    4: PDF showing hardware garbage collection implementation technical details


    PhotoFast 1.8" G-Monster V4 ZIF PATA SSD Specifications summary
    • Interface: 1.8” ZIF ATA7 Standard

    • Retail Price: 32GB-US$219 64GB-US$399
      128GB-US$599 256GB-US$999

    • Random 4kb reads: 16MB/s
      (measured 15MB/s @UDMA5)
    • Sequential read/write: 128/90 MB/s for 128/256GB size
      128/60 MB/s for 32/64GB size
      (measured 91/73 Mb/s @UDMA5 for 128GB model)

    • Average access time: 0.1ms

    • Power consumption idle/active: 0.02W/1.5W
      (measured 0.2/1.4W)
    Installation

    The first thing I noticed was the fit and finish of the plastic top and aluminium bottom cover of the G-Monster V4. It oozes understated quality much like a German car, but in this case the product is engineered in Japan and manufactured in Taiwan.

    Connecting the G-Monster V4 to the system itself is very easy. The ZIF cable is disconnected from the HDD and the Gmonster V4 attached in it's place. The black strip on the ZIF socket is a stiffener as shown here. Flicking the stiffener into an upright position allows very easy insertion of the ZIF cable, secured by flicking the stiffener in the down position.

    No additional tools are provided for standalone cloning of the existing ZIF HDD. So suggest using a USB HDD to move your data. If don't have one consider purchasing a US$10-delivered ZIF USB enclosure to use with the GMonster V4 and downloading the free Acronis Easy Migrate 15-day Trial to do the cloning. Alternatively could copy to then from network attached storage.

    Performance Comparison: G-Monster V4 ZIF SSD versus Toshiba ZIF HDD

    [/TR]
    Drive​
    Idle/Active
    Power^1
    Benchmark​
    Bootup2GB file
    copy^3
    Toshiba MK8009GAH
    80GB 1.8" ZIF HDD
    4200rpm
    0.4W/1.1W​
    low​
    350s
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Photofast G-Monster
    V4 128GB 1.8" ZIF
    PATA SSD
    0.1W/1.4Wboot: 919/37.3
    4k-r: 3915/15.0
    4k-w: 671/2.6
    seq: 87/69
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Tested platform: XP SP3, HP 2510P U7600-1.2 2GB ICH8M UDMA5/ATA100 I/O.
    ^1 - measured using powertop in Linux/Recovery console. Toshiba ZIF HDD's 1.1W rated Active was used as a reference point.
    ^2 - industry standard used to measure performance.
    ^3 - link shows drive hparm output and partition alignment details
    ^4 - 4kb-64thrd a good reflection of overall os/app responsiveness


    The above benchmarks compare the HP supplied 4200rpm 1.8" ZIF HDD against the Gmonster V4 ZIF SSD. An identical XP partition image was used to give back-to-back comparison of bootup time. The image and partitioning was optimized for best performance on both the SSD and the HDD by setting it to be (i) defragmented using Perfect Disk (ii) it was aligned to a 512MB boundary for best SSD performance. WinBootInfo gives the precise bootup time data. The actual 26GB of total data occupied the top third portion of the 1.8" ZIF HDD so the benchmarks are better than average and will worsen as the drive fills and seek times increase.

    The G-Monster V4 SSD is a very noticable improvement in performance over the 1.8" ZIF HDD. Going from a coffee break inducing 80.2 seconds to 21.8 seconds XP boot time, or taking 142 seconds versus 350 seconds to read and write a 2GB file. That's an average of 3 times faster performance, the sort of disk I/O activity that can be said to extend to all disk activity. There's no ticking noise, Firefox doesn't have momentary seek delays when scrolling windows or reading/writing cache. Applications just popup instantly. Once experiencing this sort of speed it's hard to go back to using the ZIF HDD.

    Power Consumption

    Low power consumption is one area where this SSD shines. For the first time I see my idle power consumption as low as 5.6W. When using the ZIF HDD I'd only ever seen it go as low as 5.9W. This means battery life improvements.

    Garbage Collection (GC)

    One of the innovations of the G-Monster V4 is automatic dynamic garbage collection done simultaneously when a 'write' is issued to maintain fast write performance. Some Intel/Indilinx based products SSDs send TRIM commands following deletion of files. Works well with Windows 7, but XP without a GC firmware requires further user intervention by manually running commands such as Indilinx's wiper.exe. The G-Monster V4 requires no user management.

    GC is great as it meant the SSD consistently delivered > 50MB/s sequential write performance. Though at one point it did drop down to 30MB/s after excessive amounts of performance testing and drive reimaging, so was quite dirty. A manual Tony Trim was performed quickly improving write performance back up to as new levels.

    Pros

    • an average of 3 times faster bootup and sequential read/write performance improvement over a 1.8" ZIF HDD
    • novel automatic hardware garbage collection
    • firmware is software upgradable by the user
    • advertising blurb says it is a native PATA device meaning great compatibility
    • up to 256GB in capacity - the first in the 1.8" ZIF SSD format

    Cons

    • <strike>new product, no product history. Requires early adopters to confirm operation</strike>


    Related links/articles


     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2015
  2. tilleroftheearth

    tilleroftheearth Wisdom listens quietly...

    Reputations:
    4,432
    Messages:
    11,933
    Likes Received:
    1,964
    Trophy Points:
    631
    Nando4,

    Although I'm not in the market for this type of product, I have to say this is a great review.

    What I'm curious about is if the new Intel Rapid Storage Technology drivers would install on this machine and if it would improve the benchmarks for this drive (as well).

    I also want to guess that this is an Indilinx controller - is there a prize for who guesses right? :D

    Again, Good job!
     
  3. davepermen

    davepermen Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    2,972
    Messages:
    7,791
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    205
    hm a friend of mine could use that.. :)
     
  4. sean473

    sean473 Notebook Prophet

    Reputations:
    613
    Messages:
    6,711
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Good review but i got a question.. What is ZIF?
     
  5. davepermen

    davepermen Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    2,972
    Messages:
    7,791
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    205
    an ata connector for 1.8" mini-harddisks.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. rmjanzen

    rmjanzen Newbie

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    5
    Hi Nando4,

    First of all thanks for the review and all the effort you're putting in. Can you tell me when the photofast will hit the stores and maybe something about the expected street prices for the 128 and 256gb version ? Also..... I know you have tried (or are running) the runcore pro IV. How do these compare (speed, compatibility, expected stability etc etc.)

    regards,

    René
     
  7. CharlesS

    CharlesS Notebook Guru

    Reputations:
    29
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    15
    From what I can tell... the 128 Gb ZIF will be around $600 and the 128 Gb 50 pin IDE will be around $700. That could change when it gets released.
    No information on the 256 Gb.
     
  8. Rachel

    Rachel Busy Bee

    Reputations:
    1,369
    Messages:
    4,245
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    106
    I posted some benchmarks for the V2 drive here.
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showpost.php?p=5311184&postcount=8278
    It is clear that real improvements have been made as you would expect.

    These newer drives are very expensive though but do provide increased performance for those that need it.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this review and the others that you've written recently.
     
  9. User Retired 2

    User Retired 2 Notebook Nobel Laureate NBR Reviewer

    Reputations:
    4,127
    Messages:
    7,892
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Glad to help ZIF-equipped storage owners being one myself. Together with the Mtron Mobi (limited to 32GB), the Runcore ProIV and Photofast V4 are the top three performance ZIF SSDs on the market at the moment. If could find where an Intel X18-M G2 and a ready made sata-to-pata adapter are hiding then that would make the fantastic four :)

    I figured someone will want a direct comparison of both. Best way to do that is to evaluate the Runcore ProIV ZIF SSD User Review and this Photofast G-Monster V4 ZIF SSD User Review side-by-side. Both tested using the same disk image on the same HP 2510P machine evaluating the same criteria of performance, power consumption, garbage collection plus others. Neither has shown any compatibility or stability issues, both bringing an average of 3-times-faster performance. Both companies commended for bringing performance ZIF SSD storage choices to our ZIF systems.

    The only component missing to complete this comparison, as you point out, is pricing and availability of the Photofast G-Monster V4. Runcore's ProIV has set a new low price and high performance standard so I too am curious to see how Photofast will meet this challenge. An ETA of by the end-of-this week has been given for Photofast V4 pricing/availability details and will update the first post of this thread accordingly.

    @tilleroftheearth, netbooknews' Photofast GMonster V4 ZIF/IDE video tells us this new PATA controller originates from Korea. The same place where the Mobi Mtron came from. This means the controller can't be the sata-based Indilinx Barefoot.
     
  10. davepermen

    davepermen Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    2,972
    Messages:
    7,791
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    205
    guess the intel is then susan..




    (.. mrs. invisible)
     
Loading...
Similar Threads - Photofast Monster User
  1. DNOYA
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    442
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page