Imation Pro 7000 64GB review

£775
Price when reviewed

The word on the street is that solid state drives (SSDs) will be the next big thing for 2009. The technology certainly isn’t new as SSDs have been available for a number of years but even the move from RAM to flash memory hasn’t pushed prices down enough to make them mainstream products.

Imation now moves into this market with its Pro 7000 Series family which comprises two 2.5in SATA models with 16GB and 32GB capacities and three 3.5in versions offering 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities with the latter on review. Performance is a key selling point with Imation claiming sustained read and write speeds of 120MB/sec and 90MB/sec.

For testing we connected the SSD to a dedicated 3Gbps Silicon Image SATA PCI-e controller in a Boston Supermicro dual 3GHz Xeon 5160 server equipped with 4GB of memory and running Windows Server 2003 R2. Using the Iometer utility to test raw performance we configured it with four disk workers, 1MB transfer request sizes and ten outstanding I/Os.

For 100 per cent sequential read and write operations the SSD returned good speeds of 106MB/sec and 80MB/sec. For 100 per cent random operations read and write speeds only dropped marginally to 105MB/sec and 74MB/sec. Access times are also claimed to be 0.1ms and the HDTach disk test tool confirmed this was right on the money.

To compare these results we swapped the SSD out for a 500GB Western Digital Caviar RE2 enterprise SATA drive. Iometer reported sequential read and write speeds of 106MB/sec and 112MB/sec whilst random operations returned only 75MB/sec and 30MB/sec respectively. HDTach also reported a much slower access time of 13.4ms.

Another selling point of SSDs is their reduced power consumption. With the server hooked up to an inline power meter we saw it registering 242W with the Western Digital Caviar drive in residence and 232W with the SSD in its place.

The sustained speeds and extremely low access times make the Pro 7000 a good choice for server applications requiring fast storage. Low power consumption and heat output also makes them strong candidates for the data centre but price is still an issue and until it comes down significantly SSDs will remain a luxury the majority of businesses can’t afford.

Specifications

Capacity 64GB
Hard disk type SSD
Spindle speed N/A
Seek time (ms) 0.1ms
Cost per gigabyte 1,053.0p

Noise and power

Idle/eco noise level 0.0dB(A)

Performance tests

Write speed large files 80.0MB/sec

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