A Closer Look
Even though all the drives on test have the same capacity, the internal configurations are all slightly different. We will now look at each drive in more detail.
Crucial has opted for a very plain grey design for the casing of the M4, which doesn’t infuse us with excitement. But its metal construction feels very solid and should prove durable.
On the top of the PCB, the Marvell 88SS9174-BLD2 controller takes center stage next to eight of the 16 Micron 29F128G08CFAAB 16 GB memory chips. The eight remaining memory chips are located on the underside of the PCB alongside the 256 MB Micron IED22D9LGQ buffer chip.
Intel has chosen to use a silver colored metal casing for the 510 Series drive. The design of the case is very similar to the one used by OWC for the Mercury 6G. Both these drives have an exceptional quality feel, which is much more impressive than any of the other drives on test.
Like Crucial, Intel has also chosen to use a Marvell controller in their SATA-600 drive, albeit a slightly different model (Marvell 88SS9174-BKK2). It has maximum claimed read and write speeds of 500 MB/s and 265 MB/s, respectively. Eight of the Intel 29F16B08JAMDD 16 GB memory chips are located on the top of the PCB next to the controller alongside the Hynix H5TQ1G63BFR 128 MB buffer chip. The remaining eight chips are located on the underside of the PCB.
Mushkin has chosen to use a dark grey metal casing for the Chronos, which is decorated with a large sticker. This is very similar in design to the casings used by Intel and OWC, making it very good quality, indeed.
The Mushkin Chronos is the first of the five drives on test that features the latest SandForce SF-2281 controller. The drive boasts some impressive read and write figures of 560 MB/s and 520 MB/s, respectively. There are 16 Toshiba TH58TAG7D2FBA89 16 GB memory chips in total, which are distributed evenly between both sides of the PCB.