T-Force Vulcan SSD
TeamGroup’s Vulcan gaming solid-state drive line is geared toward the gamer who must have the fastest read times possible from a SATA SSD. The goal is to achieve faster game loading times, and faster game level or asset loading while inside the game. TeamGroup has focused on providing an SSD that can theoretically achieve a read speed of up to 560 MB/s. It does this with the Silicon Motion SM2258 controller and its 64-Layer 3D NAND TLC flash memory. The write speed isn’t too shabby either, rated at a theoretical maximum of 510 MB/s.
What’s more, it does this all in a nice and good looking form factor and case. This is a 2.5-inch drive with 7mm in height SSD. There are no RGBs here, just a clean, classy industrial look. The case feels solid in the hand, and it has a textured surface with sleek eloquent silver lines and branding. It is the kind of SSD you want to show off in the front of your case on the windowed side. Putting this SSD on the backside of the case with the back panel covering it up would be a shame.
The speed is also determined by the size of the drive. The Tforce VULCAN Gaming series SSD comes in either 250 GB, 500 GB or 1 TB sizes. For the 250GB SSD, the actual write speed is reduced to 500 MB/s, instead of 510 MB/s on the 500GB and 1TB models. However, across all three sizes, 560 MB/s theoretical maximum is quoted.
The driver we have to review today is the 500GB model which is Team P/N T253TV500G3C301. As we all know transmission speeds do vary according to hardware and software, so we will see how close we can come to these results in all of our benchmarks.
The 250GB drive can support up to 60TB written, the 500GB can support up to 120TB written and the 1TB up to 240TB written. These TB written numbers are based on the JEDEC standard definition. They all three have a MTBF of 1,000,000 hours.
Under the Hood
Under the hood is Silicon Motion’s SM2258 controller (Link to PDF). This controller has been out for a while, but over the years it has gained a lot of optimizations that make it a great performer with 3D TLC NAND today. It also has a good reputation for reliability and providing low-cost designs. It is based on a 32-bit RISC CPU and a high-efficiency 64-bit system bus. The controller supports a 4-CH flash interface and DDR3 and DDR3L DRAM. It supports direct-to-TLC and SLC caching.
The memory onboard is branded TeamGroup and is a 64-layer TLC 3D NAND technology flash. There is a DRAM cache using 4GB of DDR3 and a pseudo-SLC write cache. The DDR3 is SK Hynix H5TQ4G63EFR DDR3 SDRAM which is 4GB in capacity. The part number on ours seems to indicated “RD” which according to the SK Hynix webpage means its running at 1866MHz at a timing of 13-13-13. That’s next to the fastest SKU available with this RAM.
Other specifications include operation voltage of +5V and operation up to 70c. They all three support SATA III 6Gb/s protocol for high speed transfer. The physical dimensions of the drive are 3.9 inches in length, 2.7 inches in width, and only 0.27 inches (7mm) in thickness. TeamGroup makes it a point to point out the only 7mm in height size of the SSD, it is very thin and light. The case is made out of aluminum alloy.
The drives support S.M.A.R.T. technology for monitoring hard drive status, and the TRIM function to keep it operating well over time. It also supports NCQ and a built-in smart algorithm management mechanism with wear-leveling technology and ECC. TeamGroup also provides its SSD ToolBox software to monitor the SSD and provide firmware updates. However, at the time of review, this software was unavailable for us to test. TeamGroup also offers a 3-year warranty on this SSD.
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