GSKill Phoenix Pro: Little Drive, Lotta Performance

Meet the Competition, Cost Analysis

Today, we're comparing GSkill's Phoenix Pro against a brace of three other drives, each of which use a different controller. Corsair's F100 (an over-provisioned version of the F120) shares the GSkill's SF-1200, while the Crucial C300 and Intel X25-M G2 utilize the Marvell 88SS9174 and Intel's own proprietary controller respectively.

The Marvell controller has only shown up in the C300 to date, and details on its design are hard to come by—Marvell doesn't list the controller or mention it on their website at all. Of the three, Intel is similarly mum about the specifics of its own technology. The X25-M's controller is the oldest of the three, but it was also one of the first to support TRIM and NCQ. While it should have no impact on performance, our tests were conducted using the second-generation 34nm 80GB drive.

Pondering the Phoenix Pro's Pricing

The chart below shows the cost-per-gigabyte based on current retail prices at NewEgg (unless otherwise stated).

When we checked on the C300's price and availability a few weeks ago, it was out of stock virtually everywhere and selling for $2.41/GB in the few places we found it. Now that the drive is back in stock, the price has come down slightly—at $2.29/GB it's the cheapest of our tested drives from a dollar per GB perspective. The Corsair F120 hasn't moved, but the Phoenix Pro is actually 25 cents more expensive than it was just a short time ago. The older Intel 80GB drive is the second-most expensive SSD despite its relative age; we'll keep an eye on how its performance scales against younger, feistier newcomers.

We tossed in two hard drives to give you an idea of the relative costs. Given the dirt-low price of 1TB drives, we expect an increasing number of enthusiasts will switch to relatively small SSDs augmented by large storage arrays. At the same time, however, WD's 600GB VelociRaptor—unquestionably the fastest hard drive on the market—is less than a fifth as expensive as the cheapest SSD on our list. This suggests that WD can continue to eke out profitable sales on its high-performance HDDs--there's still a substantial gap in price per GB.

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