Since our first article on SSDs in September 2008, prices have continued to fall and the number of products on the market has continued to expand. Unfortunately, we have to say that in carrying out our research and testing we’ve been pretty disappointed to see that all the new affordable models based on MLC Flash chips have been equipped with JMicron JMF602 controllers. Are there any SSDs that combine price and performance? This is what we try and find out here in our look at the Mtron MOBI 3500.
Mtron, 100% commitment to the SSD project
Since it was created in October 2005, Mtron has thrown itself 100% into SSD development and launched its first products at the end of 2006 based on a proprietary controller. Since then, Mtron has tried to push its products forward and now has two headline ranges: the Mtron MOBI 3500s, for the general public and the Mtron PRO 7500s for business use. Here we examine the range designed for general public use, the pro SSDs coming in at a much higher price.
The MOBI 3500
The MOBI 3500 is available in a total of 8 versions, with various formats at 1.8, 2.5 and 3.5", and capacities, the 3.5" coming in models from 16 to 64 GB (32 GB maximum at 1.8"). The architecture is the same in all the models.
The SSD core is based on an FPGA chip with an ARM7 processor and SRAM, programmed to serve as the controller. With a 32 MB cache of Samsung SDRAM, it addresses the flash memory on 4 channels using two Texas Instruments ALVC16244A buffers. There is also a Marvell 88SA8052-NNC2 chip on the PCB, which is in fact a PATA bridge to SATA, there being no native SATA support yet.
On our 64 GB SSD, there were 32 x 2 GB Toshiba Flash NAND chips.