Adata S510 120GB SSD User Review & SSD Tips n Trick

Apr 11, 2012
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In this ( hopefully ) short thread I'll try to show you what the Adata S510 120GB SATA3 SSD that I received recently is capable of, how it can affect your interaction with your computer in everyday tasks, how it compares with the competition, see if there's any noticeable ( from barely to pretty obvious ) performance difference between the S510 and another top tier SSD in real-life usage & tasks.
I'm also planning to provide you with some tips on how to configure your Windows 7 installation in order to get the most out of your SSD ( any SSD, doesn't have to be an Adata or a specific brand whatsoever ) and keep it as healthy as possible at the very same time.
Shall we begin ?
Alright, the Adata S510 SSD is a SandForce SF-2281V81 controller-based solid state drive ( the OCZ Vertex 3 & Agility 3, Corsair's Force GT, Kingston's HyperX SSDs also use the very same controller ) and it's equipped with Asynchronous NAND flash chips ( the Asynchronous NAND chips are slower than the Synchronous NAND chips when it comes to mainly writing incompressible data ) [ already compressed files such as MP3s, JPEG photos, RAR archives, etc ].
It's the cheaper alternative to its bigger brother, the S511 which is the very same SSD with the only difference being the use of Synchronous NAND flash chips on the S511.
Do not even start to make any thoughts in the likes of "he said slower than those chips", this will more than likely be an inferior product to its bigger brother and the flagship SSDs of the competition ( it may or may not be the case, but does it really matter ? )
We sure can get ahold of a dozen SSDs using the very same controller and chips, or any kind of controller and chips and put them to the test, see small & big differences in the performance figures given by the various storage benchmarks ( benchmark = an application that performs some tests on a device and reports its performance in these specific tests and/or gives us a benchmark score to compare with other hardware running the same benchmarking application ), but is there any performance difference, do they feel any different in real-life usage ? I'm not going to tell you right now, I want you to read the "review" and to learn or verify what you should or already know :)
Let's take a look at the Adata S510 120GB SSD's exterior and interior:






The black matt finish along with the dark blue label makes this SSD suitable for any black & blue case mod ( in case you're into case modding ), like most SSDs it comes in a 2.5" form factor ( like the basic laptop HDDs ).
As you can guess it is pretty lightweight, it only weights 76g ( 0.16lbs ), you can fill your case with dozens of SSDs like this one, and it'll still be as lightweight as it was before.
The body's made of aluminum ( at least that's how it feels to me, don't think I'm wrong here anyway :p ) and it feels pretty solid, you can toss it around without worrying about its health ( apart from its finish ), just kidding, while it won't be harmful to the drive & your data ( SSDs have no movable parts, they're not afraid of falling down or being shaked while working like the normal HDDs do ) there's absolutely no reason to do that, right ?
Speaking about its physical attributes, I remember you said it comes in a 2.5" form factor, that makes it suitable for most laptops ( a few laptops and netbooks use the 1.8" form factor for the disk/SSD drives ), but how am I going to mount it to my desktop computer case that doesn't have any 2.5" mounting positions ? Worry not, you can use the included 2.5" to 3.5" bracket to mount your brand new Adata S510 SSD to any 3.5" mounting position in your case like you'd install a normal desktop hard disk drive.
Let's take a look at the drive's specifications now:
As with most SSD drives, the higher the capacity the better the drive's performance gets, that's due to the higher controller channels being utilized because of the higher NAND flash chip count ( the 60GB has half the chips the 120GB drive has, thus the SandForce controller on its little 60GB brother operates at half the channels the 120GB unit runs ).
Running ATTO Disk Benchmark and AS SSD Benchmark verified the speeds claimed by the manufacturer despite the fact that our drive was a bit more than half-full with data ( 53% storage space used by the Windows 7 installation and our programs & games ).
Shall we now take a look at our test system's specifications and start testing the SSD ?
Let's go!
-- Motherboard: Asus Maximus IV Gene-Z --
-- CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K @ 4.2GHz --
-- RAM: Avexir 32GB DDR3-1600 Dual Channel Memory Kit --
-- VGA: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 2GB --
-- SSD1: Adata S510 120GB SATA3 SSD --
-- SSD2: OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SATA3 SSD --
-- HDD: Samsung F3 1TB 7200RPM SATA2 HDD --
For this test I decided to use my favorite motherboard, Asus's Maximus IV Gene-Z ( it looks small, but it scores BIG, BIG TIME ) along with a lovely Intel Core i7-2600K processor clocked at 4.2GHz ( easily reachable with any 2600 or 2600K CPU ).
I connected the Adata S510 120GB SATA3 SSD to the first SATA3 port on the motherboard ( the top red SATA port ) which is controlled by the Intel southbridge, possibly the best SATA3 controller available on-board in today's desktop & workstation motherboards.
I performed a clean Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Service Pack 1 installation on the SSD and installed my favorite applications and benchmarks to perform the various performance measurements on the Adata SSD.
Like in every single review of mine, the operating system & programs were set up like everybody's normal configuration for a 24/7 system is.
I installed the latest drivers for the Intel chipset & storage controller ( Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver ), nVIDIA's GeForce driver v301.10 for the GeForce GTX 680, and the latest driver for the Realtek on-board SPU ( Sound Processing Unit ) along with Creative's "X-Fi Mb2" 'driver & applications'.
Crysis 2 was my personal weapon of choice regarding game loading times since the game's engine reports the time it took our system to load the level/map accurately in the console.
To provide you with some numbers ( performance figures ) to theoretically compare the results with the Adata S510 120GB's numbers I tested the following drives via the very same methodology:
A modern high performance Hard Disk Drive, the Samsung F3 1TB ( part number: HD103SJ ) 7200RPM drive
And the commonly mentioned Vertex 3 120GB SATA3 SSD by OCZ Technology inc. It uses the same SandForce controller, has the same capacity, with the only difference being the use of Synchronous NAND flash chips instead of Asynchronous NAND flash and a bit higher price than the Adata S510 drive we have in our test bench today for review.
Are you ready to take a look at the results and talk about them ?

The Adata S510 120GB SSD is marginally faster than the OCZ Vertex 3 in loading ( booting ) Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1, and both blow away one of the fastest HDDs, the Samsung F3 1TB takes ~15 seconds more to boot into Windows 7 than our SSDs.
While we ( at least myself ) don't reboot Windows multiple times a day like it's our "job", booting fast to Windows can be helpful sometimes ( I certainly want my computer to start fast in case I'd like to take a quick look at google maps before I leave the house to drive to an unknown destination for example, time is a valuable thing, and when I'm in a rush, I need my PC to be as fast as possible :p )
A very good start for the Adata S510 120GB SSD, topping the Windows 7 boot time against the more expensive and higher performance class Vertex 3 is nothing short of a wee bit of awesome-sauce

While most of the people out there do not launch that many applications ( if at all ) altogether, it is a very good test to compare our SSDs against a HDD to show you how much of a difference a SSD makes when it comes to application launching, and mostly in launching "heavy-weight" apps like Adobe's PhotoShop, Premiere, etc.
To launch all these applications simultaneously we create a batch file ( .bat ) using the START command ( google "start command" for details ), with one click on the batch file you can launch as many applications as you wish simultaneously.
With a very fast peek at the chart you can see that both SSDs leave the Samsung F3 1TB HDD miles behind, it takes more than 2 minutes to load the very same applications our SSDs launch in just 4.5 seconds!
Locating ( seeking ) and reading small chunks of data is the Achilles' heel of the traditional computer storage, the HDDs.
The SSDs on the other side have a very low and constant seek time, they're able to locate the data in fractions of a millisecond, and read them at blazingly fast speeds.
Once again, the Adata S510 SSD appears to be marginally ( pretty close to the standard deviation ) faster in multiple application launching
than OCZ's Vertex 3 120GB SSD.

In our Crysis 2 map loading tests the OCZ Vertex 3 is a little bit faster than the Adata S510 SSD in every map, the difference is approximately 1s on each map, nothing to write home about, and waiting an additional second to load a level isn't going to hurt you or your ego, is it ?
You can always compare your gaming rig with a modern SSD against another system without a SSD and feel pretty good about what you have ( which is very fast regardless of which brand and model of SSD you've got ), the SSDs took 5 to 10 seconds less than our Samsung F3 1TB HDD to load the maps.

In PC Mark05's HDD Test Suite the OCZ Vertex 3 is a bit faster or significantly faster depending on the test.
Both SSDs rock the socks off the Samsung F3 1TB HDD in every single test.
I don't know how valuable the results of PC Mark05 ( and the following PC Mark7 ) when it comes to real-life usage, as I really can't feel and notice any kind of difference between the Adata S510 SSD and the Vertex 3 when using my PCs instead of running performance tests. To be honest, I can't really see any difference between these modern SSDs and my old OCZ Vertex 2 and Intel X25-E SSD RAID-0 Array when it comes to anything but benchmarking applications like FutureMark's PC Mark series, ATTO, CrystalDiskMark, AS SSD Benchmark, etc...
To notice a small real-life performance increase I have to compare these modern SSDs with an old Mtron Mobi series SSD or a single Intel X25-M 80GB SSD.
I currently own a few OCZ Vertex 3 SSDs, a Corsair Force GT 120GB, some Intel 510 Series 120GB SSDs and I've been using them in single and RAID-0 configurations and still can't notice any difference while performing real-life daily tasks such as application launching & usage, audio/video encoding, gaming, and benchmarking various games & applications that do not focus on the storage subsystem.
I bet nobody can figure out which SSD is being used in a computer system through a blind test.

In most of the PC Mark7 tests the Adata S510 and the Vertex 3 SSD go neck to neck, and in a few tests ( mainly in the gaming test ) the Vertex 3 enjoys a relatively big lead ( which was kind of reflected in our real-life game level loading tests with Crysis 2 above ) against the Adata S510.
Once again, both our SSDs blow away the Samsung F3 1TB HDD.


This is the one & only server "benchmark" test in this review, and it goes without saying that a modern SSD is the king when it comes to high-load ( lots of simultaneous clients ) SQL Server.
The difference between our SSDs and our Samsung F3 1TB HDD is mindblowing.
Our "desktop" high performance HDD can't really stand on its feet against the SSDs in this database Input/Output operations test, neither the multiple SAS 15000RPM server grade HDDs can cope with any SSD in these kind of tests.
Just one SSD is enough to blow away any SATA/SAS HDD RAID out of the water.
Apart from being much faster, they also consume significantly less power ( that's one of the big factors in the server market ) than the traditional high performance Hard Disk Drives.
Just take a look at the numbers!
AS SSD Benchmark:
Adata S510:

OCZ Vertex 3:

AS SSD Benchmark uses a mix of compressible and incompressible data, thus revealing the "weaknesses" and the good qualities of the Adata S510 SSD with the Asynchronous NAND Flash chips.
The S510 keeps up with the Vertex 3 nicely in most tests except the Sequential Read test ( i.e. reading a single big file )
It even managed to surpass the Vertex 3 in the 4k Random Write test by a few MB/s ( ~8MB/s ).
AS SSD Compression test
Adata S510:

OCZ Vertex 3:

As you can see in the screenshots above, the OCZ Vertex 3 is a bit better when it comes to writing compressible data ( thanks to the Synchronous NAND Flash chips ).
Reading compressible data is where the Synchronous NAND Flash chips on the Vertex 3 make a huge difference compared to the Asynchronous chips found on the Adata S510 SSD's PCB.
AS SSD Copy test
Adata S510:

OCZ Vertex 3:

The data files AS SSD uses for the copy tests are incompressible, that's why the Vertex 3 appears to be significantly faster than the Adata S510 SSD in this test.
Don't know why and how many times ( if at all ) you're going to copy an ISO or a program/game folder from your SSD to the same SSD, seems pointless, but if you do that kind of things, a SandForce SSD with Synchronous NAND MLC Flash chips will be about 50% faster than any Asynchronous SSD ( e.g. the Adata S510, the OCZ Agility 3, etc etc ).
Adata S510:

OCZ Vertex 3:

In CrystalDiskMark the Adata S510 follows the OCZ Vertex 3 closely in most tests except the Sequential & 512K read tests where the OCZ drive shines thanks to its Synchronous MLC NAND Flash chips.
Once again, the Adata S510 is a tad faster in the 4K write test and keeps up with the Vertex 3 in the 4K read and 4K Queue Depth 32 read & write tests.
In my humble opinion the 4K read & write ( mainly the QD0 ) are the most significant tests in CrystalDiskMark that have something to do with our daily usage of our computer.
If you compare one of these modern SSDs with an older SSD that feels noticeably slower in normal computer usage, you'll see that the biggest difference in their performance figures will be in the 4K Random Read/Writes.
HD Tune
Adata S510:

OCZ Vertex 3:

Adata S510:

OCZ Vertex 3:

In HD Tune the OCZ Vertex 3 enjoys a small to big advantage ( depending on the test ), while the Adata S510 follows up closely or a bit behind in most tests, but it also manages to surpass the Vertex 3 in a few tests as well.
Just like the previous tests, this is another synthetic benchmark and even if the difference between the two SSDs was mindblowing ( let's imagine that the Vertex 3 was 200% faster in every single test ), it'll still make no difference in real-life usage as long as the performance figures of the Adata S510 are well above the "minimum" threshold under which you can notice a small or relatively big difference in the system's performance in real-life tasks.
There are even faster SSDs around, but you won't notice any difference in real-life between those and the 2 SSDs we're testing today.
After seeing the performance figures of the Adata S510 120GB SSD in the benchmark tests shown above, and using the drive as my OS ( Operating System ), applications & games drive in my daily system for ~2 weeks, I can't tell any difference between the rig with the S510 SSD and the other rig with the Vertex 3 SSD ( and they're very similar, same motherboard, same CPU & clocks, same amount of RAM, same graphics card, operating system & games... )
Sure I can run some benchmarks like PC Mark05, AS SSD Benchmark, etc to show that the Vertex 3 is at least "theoretically" and technically faster than the S510, but in real-life usage, be it gaming, be it light or heavy office usage, web browsing, photoshopping high resolution images, video editing, etc, both systems perform identically, and I honestly can't guess which one I'm using in a blind test.
If money isn't an issue, sure you can go ahead and buy a bigger and perhaps faster SSD, you can get anything you want, even a industrial grade PCI-Express high capacity & performance SSD if you feel like it.
If you're a regular person, saving 20-30$ by getting an Asynchronous MLC flash based SSD like the Adata S510 and the OCZ Agility 3 instead of an Adata S511 or OCZ Vertex 3 with Synchronous MLC flash chips isn't a bad idea at all.
Surely you can find another way or thing to spend your left-overs on ( perhaps more RAM, a better graphics card, or take your girlfriend to dinner or the movies for example :p ).
As a member of the tech press I have a decent "relationship" with all the companies mentioned in this review, as a journalist/analyst & as a normal consumer I have no brand preferences, I'm always doing my best, pushing myself to keep any kind of personal relationship based bias or any bias in general out of my opinion & reviews/articles, if you've been around and read some of my reviews & articles you'll see pretty clearly that I'm not biased to or against any manufacturer that I have "co-operated" with or not.
Even if I wanted to, I couldn't, for example OCZ & Adata have been great to me, both companies have been supporting me by providing info & product samples, even cherry-picked samples purely for my extreme overclocking adventures with Liquid Nitrogen cooling.
It is now time to give you a few hints on how to get the most out of a SSD drive hosting your Windows 7 installation, your favorite applications & games, and how to keep your SSD healthy and maintain its performance.
1. Partition Alignment:
Having a properly aligned partition maximizes the performance of our SSD.
If you performed a clean installation of Windows 7 or Windows Vista on your SSD then your partition should be perfectly aligned, and you don't have to take any action.
If you transferred your Windows installation from another HDD or SSD to a new drive, your partition will more than likely be mis-aligned.
You can check the partition's alignment using AS SSD Benchmark.
In the drive information field in the main windows of AS SSD Benchmark you should see something like:
msahci - OK or iaStor = OK
and a number followed by = OK or = BAD underneath it
Here's a screenshot of my Vertex 3 installation:

If it says = BAD next to the number in the fourth line then you need to align your partition.
To do that you can perform a clean Windows 7 or Vista installation, or purchase a software solution that allows you to re-align your partition without losing your data, such as Paragon's Alignment Tool.
A mis-aligned partition can drag your SSD's 4K Random Read & Writes down to the low 30-20-10s MB/s from the 40++ range when it's aligned properly.
2. Disable Indexing on the SSD drive
By default Windows choose to index the files located on our disks, while file & content Indexing is useful for traditional HDDs, it is absolutely useless when it comes to SSDs.
Right click on your SSD drive/s in My Computer, select Properties, untick the last option on the bottom of the Properties window called "Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties" and click ok.
You might have to change the effective owner & permissions of some system folders like the ProgramData folder and Program Files folder to exclude them from the Indexing function ( right click on the folders in question, select "Properties", go to the "Security" tab, click on the "Advanced" button, go to the "Owner" tab, click "Edit..." tick the option "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects", click on your Windows Account Username and press "ok".
When done, go to the "Permissions" tab and click on the "Change Permissions..." radio button, then press "Add...", then "Advanced", then "Find Now", doubleclick on your username bellow in the search results field, press "ok", click on ( tick ) "Allow" field on the top ( Full Control ) and press "ok", tick "Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object" and press "ok" and then click on "yes".
Press "ok" to close the Advanced Security Settings window, and click on "ok" again to apply your actions & close the drive Properties Window.
Now you should be set to disable indexing on every single folder of your system's SSD drive.
You may also disable the "Windows Search" service from the Services management console ( Start -> Run ( empty search text field on the left ) -> services.msc ->hit the enter key or select the "Services" option on the top of the Start Menu ).
To disable the "Windows Search" service, locate the service from the list, double-click on it and in the "Startup type" field select "Disabled", click OK, and restart your computer.
3. Disable Prefetch & Superfetch
Once again, these two valuable for HDD features are totally worthless for a SSD based system, and you should disable them.
To disable Superfetch just go to the Services management console like in #2 and find the Superfetch service from the list, double-click it, select "Disabled" in the "startup type" field, and click ok.
To disable Prefetch you need to go to the Registry Editor ( Start -> regedit ) go to the following path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\Prefetch Parameters
double-click on the EnablePrefetcher DWORD and type 0 in the value data field, press OK, and exit the registry editor and restart your computer.
4. Disable or set a constant Pagefile size
If you have enough RAM ( 4GBs or more ) you can disable the Pagefile ( Virtual Memory ) if you don't run any applications or games that explicitly need the presence of a PageFile, or preferably set the Pagefile to a constant size, 2048MB or 4096MB.
Right click on the "Computer" icon on your desktop or the start menu, select "Properties" and click on "Advanced system settings" in the menu in the blue section of the left portion of the System properties window.
Click on the "Settings..." button of the "Performance" area, go to the "Advanced" tab, click on the "Change..." button, untick the "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives" option, and then select your system drive ( C: ) from the list then click on "Custom size" and enter 2048 or 4096 in both fields ( "Initial Size" & "Maximum Size" ), click on the "Set" button, and then press "OK", "OK", "OK", "OK" and restart your computer as prompted.
I do not recommend moving the pagefile to a mechanical drive ( HDD ) as it will slow down your computer in some cases.
5. Disable the "Hibernation" function and its data file:
Since booting to Windows with a SSD drive is very fast, there's no need to use the "Hibernation" feature, and of course you could make much better use of the space the hibernation file consumes on your SSD drive ( it can be very big if you have a lot of RAM, on my system for this review for example the hibernation file was 32GB long! )
To do this simply go to:
Start Menu -> cmd ( hold Ctrl + Shift ) and press the enter key to open a Command Prompt ( CMD ) window with Administrative privileges ( or simply go to Start Menu -> All programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt ( Right Click and select "Run as Administrator" ).
In the Command Prompt window type: ( without the quotes ) "powercfg -h off" and press Enter.
Close the Command Prompt window and you're set :)
6. Disable the System Restore function
You're better off using a system image tool like Acronis TrueImage or Symantec's "Norton Ghost" to make a backup of your Windows installation once you've set everything up like you want it ( so you can restore your computer to that state if something goes wrong in the future ).
Turning off System Restore will free more space on your SSD drive, and also reduce the drive "wearing" effect from the unnecessary writes caused by System Restore after every application or driver installation, etc.
To disable the System Restore function go to:
Start -> Control Panel -> System and Security -> System
go to the "System Protection" tab, select the SSD system drive from the list and click on "Configure...", select the "Turn off system protection" option, press the "Delete" button, then click "ok" and "ok" again and close the System Properties window, restart your PC if requested and you're ready.
7. Disable the scheduled Defragmentation for the SSD drive/s
Defragmentation is another feature that becomes useless with the SSD drives.
You don't need to defrag your SSD drive ( it doesn't have anything to offer, and all it does is "wear" your drive with unnecessary reads & writes with absolutely no performance increase ).
Windows 7 are smart and most of the times disable the Defragmentation feature on your SSD drives, but checking just to make sure isn't a bad idea ( sometimes they fail to detect the SSD/s and still include them in the scheduled defragmentation function ).
To disable the automatic defragmentation feature on your SSDs you have to do the following:
Go to:
Start Menu -> All programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter
In the new window click on the "Configure schedule..." button, then click on the "Select disks..." button, and finally "deselect" ( untick ) all your SSD drives leaving only the HDDs ticked.
Press OK and close the window. You're done!
Apr 11, 2012
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Price went down to 77.4gbp @ ebuyer in case some of you are looking for a cheap yet decent SSD ;)

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