In the past, ADATA has been known for its budget series of solid state drives, but never really for any killer products. That place has recently been taken by the likes of Intel, Samsung and Crucial amongst a few others. Now it seems that ADATA has seen enough mediocrity and is reaching for the top of the line. Based on a Marvell 88SS9189 – just like the Crucial M550 1TB drive – the new ADATA Premier Pro SP920 boasts the same 1TB capacity, some 20nm Micron NAND, a SATA/6Gbps interface and a somewhat more rich kit than Crucial does, for roughly the same price.
While the disk is available in smaller capacities of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB too, only the largest ones with 512GB and 1TB will make use of the full potential of NAND flash parallelism, reaching 4k random read IOPS close to 100k and write IOPS close to 90k with read and write transfer rates beyond the 500MB/s wall. The good thing about this drive – just as with the Crucial m550 – is that we finally get some large SSDs for a relatively affordable price. But that alone wouldn’t really interest me that much, now would it?
The thing that really piqued my interest was the fact that ADATA decided to develop their own SSD toolbox, which comes in the form of a tiny, single “SSDTool.exe” file. The rather slim tool features most important features, the ATA TRIM command above all. So ADATA is now joining the ranks of the manufacturers backporting TRIM to Windows XP and Windows XP Pro x64 Edition as the fourth member, limited to Intel, Samsung and Corsair before that. I had to give that a try immediately of course, again on XP x64, see here:
Please note that since I did not really have any supported ADATA drive available, some functionality of the ADATA SSD toolbox naturally wasn’t available to me. But as we can see, all the important stuff is there, just like on other well-developed SSD toolboxes such as the one made by Intel. There are the OS tweaks, TRIM of course, host writes information, firmware update functionality, S.M.A.R.T. and secure erase. And it works just fine on XP / XP x64 as far as I can see.
If you want to check out which ADATA SSDs are currently supported by SSDTool.exe, please check out the [compatibility list] on ADATAs download page (just scroll down a bit)! Also, if you want to learn more about the functionality before installing, a [manual] is available.
Please note that Windows XP and Windows XP Pro x64 Edition are however not officially supported, so this is subject to change any time. This is also the reason why I decided to offer a download of the current version 1.2 of the toolbox right here:
- [ADATA SSD Toolbox version 1.2] (use the checksums below to compare with the version provided by ADATA)
- md5 checksum: 942b8920a1d3e97a4c33d817220eb1ff
- SHA1 checksum: a996ccc8edae8916f7f7f2cf372d8527bd912015
- SHA512 checksum: 0fe1e18c184c19dab83060351238043f18a47e570d8cab3139566490fe3c03f66a \
So there you go! While this may not stay compatible to XP forever regarding future SSD releases, it should work just fine with the current ones, like the massive 1TB Premier Pro SP920! So besides Intel, Samsung and Corsair, this opens up a fourth option for steadfast XP users who wish to use a large and fast SSD!
Update, 2014-04-07: Just to make sure whether my assumptions were correct and to probe ADATA support, I actually sent them a request a few days ago, asking whether their SSD toolbox started up on Windows XP unintentionally, or whether support is official. Also, I asked if the thing actually really works with an ADATA SSD, since I didn’t have any around to test it. Now guess what…
ADATA support actually informed me, that they would need to ask the tech guys or whatever to test it out, as they were not aware of this. So somebody at ADATA actually fired up a Windows XP machine with an ADATA SSD, installed their SSD toolbox and tested its functionality. Just now, one day before the end of official Microsoft support for Windows XP ADATA let me know, that their tests were successful, and that they will update their manual on the website accordingly. Holy shit! Now that level of support I’d call awesome! Who else goes that extra mile these days? Makes the Premier Pro SP920 all the more attractive, at least for me.