G. Skill Titan 256GB SSD Review

by AkG     |     March 19, 2009

G. Skill Titan 256GB SSD Review

Manufacture Page: SATA
Part Number: FM-25S2S-256GBT1
TechWiki Info: Titan - TechWiki
Price: Click Here to Compare Prices
Warranty: 2 year

As we have said in the past, if there is one constant in the computer industry it is change. While not all change is good, for the most part components are getting smaller, faster more efficient and even in some areas more durable. Take the new i7s for example; they run at temperatures which would have melted top of the line CPUs from just a few years ago. While the i7 is a good example of durability the absolute best example has to be the Solid State Drive revolution. These drives have no moving parts and can withstand g-forces which would literally shatter darn near any platter based hard drive.

While there is no denying SSDs are going to play at the very least a large part in the future of personal computing there have been some valid concerns raised about the earlier models. The two biggest of complaints are their price (both total cost and per GB) and their size. The first issue may still be relevant but hopefully, not for much longer. Just a year ago, a 32GB SSD would cost you an arm and a leg; today they can go for about the same price a normal laptop drive would cost (albeit a MUCH larger capacity 7200rpm laptop drive). Naturally, as the technology matures and more competition is born the demand for a product increases and prices fall like a proverbial rock. This is what is happening in the SSD industry today to the point where many SSDs are getting to the point where they are becoming a viable alternative to platter-based drives.

The second concern -regarding storage size- is also being alleviated. Where 32GB and 64GB were the norm (and priced in the reasonable range), 128GB and even 256GB drives are now starting to go mainstream. For most people 128GB is plenty of storage space for their laptops and even their desktops.

Unfortunately, there are some other concerns and these are deal breakers in our opinion; one of which is regarding durability. While an SSD can withstand huge heat and G-Force stress there has always been the nagging doubt about its performance longevity. This issue has been exacerbated by manufacturers selling SSDs with only a single year of warranty. The root of these concerns does not lie with SLC drives but with the more common MLC based ones. This is mainly a misconception based on a false perception; because SLCs have yet to fall in price as much as MLC and (thus are prohibitively expensive for the masses) they therefore must be "better". As in if it costs twice as much for half the amount of capacity it must be better…which we have shown in the past to be utter tripe and foolishness.

With recent advancements in manufacturing and "wear leveling" technology this concern really has not been valid for a while now. Yes MLC may not be as durable as SLC, but will in most cases last longer than your laptop! The fourth concern has to do with speed. It is only human nature to expect something which can cost a heck of a lot more than a normal drive to perform better as well. This too has been a weakness of MLC vs. SLC, as SLC is simply faster on a write cycle (one vs. two cycles). However, when you combine "big enough", "durable enough" and "cheap enough" with "fast enough" do you end up with a drive which is ready for Prime Time?

This question and those valid concerns are going to be the focus of today’s review, as it just so happens that we have in our possession a 256GB, MLC based, 2.5" Solid State Drive from G.Skill aptly named the Titan. This drive is supposed to be fast to the tune of 200MB/s read and 160MB/s write speed and weighing in at 256 GB, it has enough capacity for most consumers. While all those are great attributes for an enthusiast item, the largest selling point may be its retail price of around $680.

The Titan is starting to become available and you will soon be able to find it in many retailer and e-tailers throughout the country. If this is drive is as good as the hype surrounding it says it is, this will be the one of the few which many an enthusiast will be drooling (and fighting) over this year. So without further ado let’s put this puppy through its paces and see if the hype which surrounds this drive is well founded.


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