Mach Xtreme Technology MX DS Turbo 120 GB SSD Review
By Henry Butt on September 20, 2011


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Silver Award

Presently, the fastest performance solid state drives on the market are based on the Sandforce SF-2281 controller. So they are one of the best options for those looking to upgrade their computer with an ultra fast SSD. We believe that 120 GB SSDs hit the sweet spot between price and capacity as 240 GB drives are a little expensive and 64 GB units are likely to get filled up too quickly. While many users may choose to combine a 120 GB drive with a mechanical hard drive for storing media files, it is just about large enough to use on its own in a laptop. Today we are going to look at the Mach Xtreme Technology MX DS Turbo 120 GB SSD.


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Figure 1: Mach Xtreme Technology MX DS Turbo

Before proceeding, we highly suggest that you read our Anatomy of SSD Units tutorial which provides all the background information you need to know about SSDs. All the SSDs featured in this review use MLC memory chips.

The Patriot Wildfire 120 GB SSD comes with a 3.5”-to-2.5” adapter, so you can install it even if your case doesn’t have a 2.5” bay.


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Figure 2: Mach Xtreme Technology MX DS Turbo 3.5” Adapter

In the table below, we are comparing the Mach Xtreme Technology MX DS Turbo with the three comparison drives we will be using, the Patriot Wildfire, Corsair Force 3 and Corsair Force GT. All four units use a SATA-600 interface and occupy the standard 2.5” form factor. The MX DS Turbo is supplied with an adapter that lets you use it with 3.5” drive mountings.

Manufacturer Model Model # Capacity Price
Mach Xtreme TechnologyMX DS TurboMXSSD3MDST-120G120 GBUSD 230
PatriotWildfirePW120GS25SSDR120 GBUSD 270
CorsairForce 3CSSD-F120GB3120 GBUSD 195
CorsairForce GTCSSD-F120GBGT120 GBUSD 225

We researched the prices at Newegg.com on the day that we published this review. In the table below, we provide a more in-depth technical comparison between the two drives. Most chip manufacturers don’t detail the specifics of their chips on their websites, so we are only linking to those we found.

Model Controller Buffer Memory
MX DS Turbo Sandforce SF-2281NA Intel 29F64G08ACME2 (16 x 8 GB)
Patriot Wildfire Sandforce SF-2281NAToshiba TH58TAG6D2FBA49 (16 x 8 GB)
Corsair Force 3 Sandforce SF-2281 NA Micron 29F64G08CBAAA (16 x 8 GB)
Corsair Force GT Sandforce SF-2281 NA Micron 29F64G08CBAAB (16 x 8 GB)

A Closer Look

Mach Xtreme Technology has decided to use a metal enclosure for the MX DS Turbo which gives it a quality look and feel. The metallic grey finish isn’t quite as exciting as the bright red that Corsair uses for the Force GT, but it still looks very attractive.


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Figure 3: Mach Xtreme Technology MX DS Turbo 120 GB

To access the PCB inside the drive we must remove the screws in each corner of the drive. The Sandforce SF-2281 controller takes center stage on the top of the PCB alongside eight of the 16 total Intel 29F64G08ACME2 25 nm memory chips.


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Figure 4: Mach Xtreme Technology MX DS Turbo 120 GB PCB (top)

The eight remaining memory chips are located on the underside of the PCB. Mach Xtreme Technology has chosen to use synchronous memory for the MX DS Turbo, which ensures good performance when dealing with incompressible data. The drive also supports TRIM providing you have a compatible OS installed.


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Figure 5: Mach Xtreme Technology MX DS Turbo 120 GB (bottom)

How We Tested

During our testing procedures, we used the configuration listed below. The only variable component between each benchmarking session was the SSD being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration Benchmarking Software

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin in our tests, meaning performance differences of less than 3% can’t be considered meaningful. Therefore, when the performance difference between two products is less than 3%, we consider them to have similar performance.

AS SSD

As you will have gathered from the previous page, we measured the performance of each drive using four different programs: AS SSD, CrystalDiskMark, HD Tune, and ATTO Disk Benchmark. We will be looking at the test results from each program in the order they appear in the list above.

It is important to note that we connected the SSDs to a SATA-600 port on our motherboard rather than a SATA-300 port, which could cause performance limitations. We used the default configuration in AS SSD for our tests.

In the sequential read test, the MX DS Turbo exhibited a similar level of performance to the Patriot Wildfire and Corsair Force GT while performing 145% better than the Corsair Force 3. In the sequential write test, the Patriot Wildfire performed the best, beating the Corsair Force GT by 35 percent. It also beat the MX DS Turbo and Corsair Force 3 by 63% as they exhibited a similar level of performance.

In the read test, the MX DS Turbo performed the best, beating the Corsair Force GT by 5%, the Patriot Wildfire by 10% and the Corsair Force 3 by 17 percent. In the write test, the four drives all exhibited a similar level of performance.

In the access time read test, the Corsair Force GT, Force 3 and Patriot Wildfire all exhibited a similar level of performance which was 187% faster than the MX DS Turbo. In the write test, the Corsair Force GT performed the best, beating the MX DS Turbo by 9%, the Patriot Wildfire by 15% and the Corsair Force 3 by 21 percent.

CrystalDiskMark

We used CrystalDiskMark’s default configuration for our tests, which benchmarked each SSD using a file size of 1,000 MB with five test runs. Please continue reading to see the results.

In the read test, the MX DS Turbo achieved a similar level of performance to the Patriot Wildfire. On average, this was 5% better than the Corsair Force GT and 134% better than the Corsair Force 3. But, in the write test, the Patriot Wildfire came out on top, beating the Corsair Force GT by 35%, the Corsair Force 3 by 59% and the MX DS Turbo by 68 percent.

Once again, the Patriot Wildfire came out on top in the read test, beating the MX DS Turbo by 8%, the Corsair Force GT by 9% and the Corsair Force 3 by 130 percent. It also performed the best in the write test, beating the Corsair Force GT by 38%, the Corsair Force 3 by 63% and the MX DS Turbo by 67 percent.

In the read test, the Corsair Force GT and MX DS Turbo exhibited a similar level of performance which was about 9% better than the Patriot Wildfire and 17% better than the Corsair Force 3. But, in the write test, the Patriot Wildfire came out on top. The other three drives exhibited a similar level of performance, which was about 14% worse than that of the Patriot Wildfire.

HD Tune

Now we will look at the results recorded using HD Tune.

In the burst transfer rate test, the Patriot Wildfire, Corsair Force 3 and Corsair Force GT all exhibited a similar level of performance, which was 9% better than the MX DS Turbo on average. In the average transfer rate test, the Patriot Wildfire and Corsair Force GT exhibited a similar level of performance, which was about 4% better than the Corsair Force 3 and 22% better than the MX DS Turbo.

In the minimum transfer rate test, the Patriot Wildfire won the performance crown again, beating the Corsair Force GT by 12%, the MX DS Turbo by 15% and the Corsair Force 3 by 38 percent. In the maximum transfer rate test, however, all four drives exhibited a similar level of performance.

ATTO Disk Benchmark

Now we will look at the results recorded using ATTO Disk Benchmark using a 1,024 KB transfer size.

In the read test, all four drives exhibited a similar level of performance, but in the write test, the Patriot Wildfire and MX DS Turbo exhibited a similar level of performance, which was 5% better than the Corsair Force GT and 7% better than the Corsair Force 3.

Conclusions

While the Mach Xtreme Technology MX DS Turbo didn’t exhibit the best level of performance in our tests, it did come out on top in a few of them. On average, we would say it is slightly behind the Corsair Force GT in terms of performance.

As we mentioned earlier in the review, the MX DS Turbo features synchronous memory like the Corsair Force GT and Patriot Wildfire. This is able to handle compressible data much better than the asynchronous memory used in the Corsair Force 3. CrystalDiskMark and AS SSD use incompressible data to benchmark the drives, which explains the large performance difference between the Corsair Force 3 and the other drives.

If we consider the three drives that use synchronous memory, the Patriot Wildfire is the clear winner when it comes to performance. The Corsair Force GT and MX DS Turbo still offer a good level of performance, especially the Force GT which was more consistent throughout our tests.

For most people, the price of the drives will be a key factor in the buying decision. Those who are looking for a great level of performance without spending too much money should consider the Corsair Force GT or MX DS Turbo as they offer a similar level of performance at the USD 225-230 price point. But those who are willing to pay USD 40 extra for the ultimate performance for their system should opt for the Patriot Wildfire.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Mach-Xtreme-Technology-MX-DS-Turbo-120-GB-SSD-Review/1380


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