ADATA S511 120GB SATA3 2.5" SSD Review

The introduction ... tested a new SSD with SandForce SF-2281 controller, which should provide a very high performance.
The brand-new ADATA S511 SATA3 SSD is available in capacities from 64GB to 480GB, whereby the capacity of 120GB is tested in this review.




Thanks for the support ...

Many thanks to for the support with the ADATA S511 120GB 2.5" SSD.

The ADATA S511 120GB SATA3 2.5" SSD AS511S3-120GM-C has at present a price of approx. 210 Euro (08/2011).

The ADATA RealSSD S511 2.5-inch series contains at present the following types:
60GB AS511S3-60GM-C for approx. 110 Euro (08/2011)
120GB AS511S3-120GM-C for approx. 210 Euro (08/2011)
240GB AS511S3-240GM-C for approx. 450 Euro (08/2011)
480GB AS511S3-480GM-C for approx. 1100 Euro (08/2011)
The performance of this ADATA S511 SSD Series doesn't alter depending on the capacity like the Crucial C300 or Crucial m4.
So the 60GB SSD has already a very high read and write performance.

Here you can buy the ADATA SSD for a low price.



The supply of the ADATA S511 120GB SATA3 SSD ...

The flower bird on their cardboard box intend a high performance of the new S511 SSD from ADATA:



The technical data ...

ADATA delivers the S511 2.5" SSD with a short installation guide and a 2.5" to 3.5" mounting bracket.

Here is a picture of the ADATA S511 SSD with its accessories:


The following picture shows the front of the 2.5" ADATA S511 120GB SSD:


On the flipside one can see the label with the full part number AS511S3-120GM and the SATA3 connectors for data and power.
These connections are identical to conventional SATA2 and SATA3 hard disks, so this SATA3 SSD can also operate with slower speed at an SATA2 interface:


Here you can see a picture of the SandForce 2281 Controller IC, more detailed SF-2281VB1-SDC and eight of altogether sixteen 25nm Intel 25nm Multi Level Cell NAND components of the SATA3 SSD with each 8GB capacity to reach a total capacity of 128GB or 120GB without overprovisioning:


As already mentioned before, not "only" the SSD was contained in the cardboard, but also a bay, in order to be able to install the 2.5" SSD in often only existing 3.5" HDD cage of the PC enclosure:


In our case the assembly was however not possible ... at least not without pipe threader ;-)
Because we had bad luck concerning the drillings and unfortunately got a sample without threads.
Please don't tap a threading on your own, but claim the SSD or install the SSD differently, because by the thread cutting conductive swarf could fall inside of the case on the PCB.
In the following picture one can see the drillings without threads:


That is contained ...

Manufacturer ADATA
Article number AS511S3-120GM-C
Capacity 120GB
Interface SATA3 6GB/s
Cache not necessary
Controller Sandforce 2281
Flash Type MLC - Multi-Level-Cell
Size 2.5" (100 x 69,85 x 9,5mm)
Weight 76 gramm
Speed Read up to 550 MB/s / Write up to 510 MB/s
Seek Time not specified
Power Consumption 0,6 Watt idle / 4,7 Watt in operation
MTBF 1 million hours
Other TRIM Support, NCQ Support, SMART Support, Disk Migration Utility


Here is a Snipping screenshot of the CrystalDiskInfo 3.5.3 SSD and HDD information software:



SSD firmware update ...

Usually we update the firmware of the SSDs before we begin with the tests.
To the point of testing time however no new firmware was found at A-DATA, so that for all tests the original firmware version 319ABBF0 was used.


Benchmark values and test results ...

Let us continue with the benchmark results.
SATA2 drives are currently tested with an ASRock M3A790GXH/128M motherboard and SATA3 drives are currently tested with an ASRock 890GX Extreme3 motherboard.
At present, Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition is used as the operating system.

The SSD drive speed was examined and compared with the following benchmark software:

AS SSD Benchmark 1.4.3704.27281 - Download
ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.46 - Download
CrystalDiskMark 3.00 - Download
HD Tach 3.040 - Download
SiSoftware Sandra 2010c - Download


AS SSD benchmark result ...

The SSD benchmark values offers a very good reference point of the maximal possible reading and writing performance, the speed with smaller files and the respective access time.
The S511 120GB ADATA SSD achieved in AHCI mode the highest sequential read performance.

In IDE mode however in spite of correct SSD alignment the S511 reached like the Crucial C400 only a much slower performance.
Additionally the TRIM procedure of the SandForce 2281 controller is not as easy comprehensible as with previous SSDs.
The administration of the Dirty Cells is controlled in the background by the sandforce controller chip.
With other SSDs one can do a direct TRIM by filling and erasing the SSD data, but with A-DATA S511 SSD there was no recognizable TRIM after filling and erasing the cells procedure for cleaning the so-called "dirty cells".

Also in IDE mode the SSD exceeded with approximately 336 MB/s the maximum transfer rate of the Serial ATA 2.0 interface, so that a SATA3 interface is really the best choice for this SSD.
The write performance in IDE mode was approximately 160 MB/s, which is slower than the SSDs previously tested.
The overall score reached also in IDE mode very good 311 points, because for example the OCZ Agility 120GB SATA2 SSD reached only 138 points, the 256GB m4 SSD reached 291 points and a 256GB C300 SSD reached 290 points.


Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD benchmark results (SATA3 IDE):


In AHCI mode also another result beneath the read performance was much higher than in the IDE mode and that is the important value "4K-64Thrd".
4K means that small 4K blocks are read and/or written and with the 4K 64Thrd this is distributed on 64 Threads at the same time.
Thus the benchmark program simulate for example a typical program start.
Since the weighting of this value is very high in the AS-SSD benchmark tool,the total score in AHCI mode is with 488 points much higher than the previous one in IDE mode.
In AHCI mode the ADATA S511 120GB reached to date the highest read performance of 503,56MB/s and a write performace of 158,78 MB/s which is almost identical to the legacy IDE result.

Who think now about changing its SATA port in the BIOS from native IDE and/or legacy IDE to AHCI, should change first for example (if possible) only one part of the SATA port, where the drive with the operating system is not installed.
Because if one like to save the new Windows installation, one must install the hard disk controller driver before changing SATA mode from IDE to AHCI - alternatively there are also Registry entries for it.
If you like to upgrade from HDD to SSD, you should not copy the content 1:1 only with a tool like Norton Ghost or Acronis Backup.
It is better to install a fresh Windows7 or adjust at least the SSD Alignment.
We help you with questions to this topic or all other PC related questions at any time 24/7 in our PC Forum.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD benchmark results (SATA3 AHCI):


Here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD iops results to measure the input/output speed (SATA3 IDE):


And here is a Snipping screenshot of the AS SSD iops results to measure the input/output speed, with a drastic rise in AHCI (SATA3 in AHCI mode):

The comparison of the AS SSD benchmark results is extended with each new HDD/SSD test.
Here we see several SSDs in comparison to the ADATA S511 120GB 2.5" SSD in IDE and in AHCI mode, whereby the diagram is updated shortly with new SSDs.
Currently, the Crucial m4 256GB SSD is at the to of all result, which offered the highest sequential write performance, directly followed by the ADATA S511 120GB SSD.

Here is a comparison of the AS SSD benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:


ATTO Disk benchmark result ...

The ATTO disk benchmark values gives a very good overview about the write and read rate on different file sizes.
Here we see once again a huge difference between legacy IDE and AHCI, especially with this SSD.
The read and write (red) performace is in legacy IDE mode nearly identically, but in AHCI we see a much higher read performance.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the ATTO Disk benchmark values (SATA3):


Compared to this result, the read performance in AHCI mode is significantly increased starting with a transfer size of 32k.
Here we see can see a very good comparison of the conventional native IDE mode and the modern AHCI mode, which offers beside the higher performance also advantages like e.g. the support of NCQ (Native Command Queuing) or Hot-Plug.
This SSD reached in ATTO also the advertised "up to 550 MB/s" read rate and nearly the "up to 510 MB/s" write rate.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the ATTO Disk benchmark values (on SATA3 AHCI):


The ATTO disk benchmark values are compared with a small transfer size of 32KB and a large transfer size of 8192KB.
The bar chart already shows a first comparison to the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C 1TB hard disk drive, the OCZ Agility 120GB SSD and the ADATA 256GB C300 RealSSD and a few other SSDs, where the best 32K and 8192K result is reached by ADATA's S511.

Here is a comparison of the ATTO disk benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:


CrystalDiskMark result

With CrystalDiskMark one receives a balanced measurement of the performance with different transfer sizes.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the CrystalDiskMark values (SATA3):


As seen in the previous 4K-64Threads results, the read and write 4K QD32 and the sequential read result is much higher when operating in AHCI mode.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the CrystalDiskMark values (SATA3 AHCI):


The following diagram shows the CrystalDiskMark results once again compared with other SSDs and platter drives, which are extended step by step.
In the CrystalDiskMark comparison one can see significant differences between the to-date tested of the Solid State Drives and Hard Disk Drives, where the tested ADATA S511 120GB SSD has the fastest read performance in AHCI.

Here is a comparison of the CrystalDiskMark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:


HD Tach result

With HD Tach one can measure the gradient of the performance.
The ADATA S511 120GB 2.5" SSD has in both AHCI and legacy IDE mode very fluctuating transfer rates.
Extremely low access times of approx. 0.2ms are not a rarity anymore, but the new logical NAND cell access of the SSD controller results in chaotical values with the latest HD Tach Version version.
To compare these results with SATA3 IDE values, you can move the cursor over this ADATA S511 120GB SSD SATA3 IDE link.
Furthermore you can move the mouse over the following drives to see their respective benchmark results:
Crucial m4 256GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3 AHCI, Crucial m4 256GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3 crucial C300 64GB 1,8" SSD at SATA3, Crucial RealSSD 256GB 2,5" SSD at SATA3, crucial RealSSD 256GB 2,5" SSD at SATA2, OCZ Agility 128GB SSD, Hitachi 7K1000.C 1TB disk drive and Toshiba MK8007GAH 1.8" disk drive.

Here is a Snipping screenhot of the HD Tach benchmark values:


The comparison of the HD Tach benchmark results shows the faster reading speed, writing speed and the lower average access time of the Solid State Drive compared to hard disk drives with their much higher access time.

Here is an impressive comparison of the HD Tach benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:


SiSoftware Sandra benchmark result

Of course, SiSoftware Sandra benchmark should not be missing in this test series.
SiSoftware offers with their SiSoft Sandra program a very comprehensive tool, which contains a lot of tools to get very reliable test results of all hardware components.
The average access time of the ADATA S511 120GB SSD was in SiSoftware Sandra with 100us (equal to 0.1ms) low and the drive index was in IDE mode 351,53 MB/s.

Here is a Snipping screenshot of the SiSoftware Sandra benchmark values (SATA3 IDE):


Here is a comparison of the SiSoftware Sandra benchmark values, which are getting updated with soon coming drives:



Result and general impression ...

The ADATA S511 2.5" 120GB SATA3 SSD AS511S3-120GM-C achieved on SATA3 port in AHCI mode the to date highest sequential read performance and usual low access time.

The ADATA AS511S3-120GM-C 120GB MLC Solid State Drive with SandForce Controller and 25nm Intel NAND was tested both in the more current AHCI mode, and in legacy IDE mode, whereby the AHCI mode showed clear advantages.
Most write performance benchmark values were in legacy IDE and AHCI clearly below the enormously high S511 read values and was in this discipline not as fast as the previously tested Crucial m4 256GB SSD.
In AHCI mode on the SATA3 Controller we measured much higher performance than in legacy IDE, not only regarding the 4k-64Thrd values, but additionally also regarding high differences at the seuquential read performance.
So one should thus operate this ADATA S511 2.5" 120GB SATA3 SSD necessarily in AHCI mode and change the SATA controller mode in the BIOS to AHCI before installing the operating system.
The Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate boot procedure from start screen to login screen only 8 seconds and the Windows 7 performance index reached 7.8 from 7.9 possible points.

All in all this ADATA S511 120GB SSD is a good choice for users, who need a very high read performance for e.g. Windows 7 operating system on a current PC system with SATA3 interface in AHCI mode.


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All pictures and article copyright 2011