Update: If you have a Runcore SF-2281 based SSD, and you are having issues contact them to get the Firmware 3.3.2 update. This fixes a known issue in previous SF-2281 firmware. Previous Drives with firmware 3.3.2 or lower can’t run the SF-2281 3.3.4 firmware.
I’ve had some time to play with and review the second revision of the Runcore V 2.5IN SATA III 120GB drive which runs firmware 3.3.4, and it is nothing like the previous drive revision one drives that ran 3.1.7 or slower 3.3.2 firmware. The only difference between the first and second revisions of the drives is they changed out of a capacitor for a higher quality capacitor. I would suspect the old capacitor was a reference design fault by Sandforce that affected all manufacturers on certain systems.
The higher quality capacitor allows the drive to put more power through a part of the drive which caused previous issues, or shall we say BSODs. When Sandforce released firmware 3.3.2 which fixed the BSOD issues we saw a drop in the performance of all SF-2281 drives, which limited the juice on certain pins. Well, I’m glad to say that firmware 3.3.4 adds nearly all the previous write performance of the drive, and considerably higher read speeds!
RunCore Pro V 2.5IN SATAIII 120GB Benchmarks
Test System: Asus M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Phenom X6 1090T, 16GB GeIL Corsa 1600Ghz 9-9-9-24 DDR3.
Note: Because this is an AMD based system some of these benchmarks will be lower than on an Intel Sandy Bridge system (ATTO is higher on a Sandy Bridge, but AS SSD is higher on an AMD 890GX).
RunCore Pro V 2.5IN SATAIII 120GB Atto Benchmark
Amazing a read speed of 544MB/s, and a write speed of 471MB/s. The first-generation drive boasted 534MB/s, and write speed of 449MB/s. 2% Increased Read, 5% Increased Write speed.
RunCore Pro V 2.5IN SATAIII 120GB AS SSD Benchmark
These are very impressive benchmarks compared to my previous OCZ Vertex 2 EX 80GB, and even other Sandforce drives running an older firmware. The AS SSD score is nearly 19% higher than the older firmware, and in one run I saw a Sequential Read speed of 511.95MB/s! Sadly most write speeds took a bit of a hit, but I’ll take the increase in reading speeds any day of the week.
Note: Quite the 45,000 claimed on the packaging but it destroys my OCZ drive (it scored 216 vs 524 points).
RunCore Pro V 2.5IN SATAIII 120GB CrystalDiskMark Benchmark
The new Sandforce SF-2281 3.3.4 firmware showed a speed increase of 200% for sequential reads and 512KB Incompressible data blocks, which more than makes up for the decreased write speeds.
RunCore Pro V 2.5IN SATAIII 120GB Conclusion
When Sandforce released the 3.3.2 firmware which fixed BSODs that a large number of SF-2281 users had, including myself I was extremely happy with the minor drop in performance for the sake of stability. With firmware 3.3.4 they’ve restored a lot of the lost speed and then found some they were hiding in reserve.
The top incompressible data sequential speed I saw in AS SSD was 511.95MB/s which is higher than most drives available on the market including Intel’s new Intel 520 Series 120GB drive. Giving the fact we saw a drop in a minor drop in the write speeds I suspect there will be future firmware updates to further increase the performance of the SF-2281 drives with the revised.