When AMD’s name is mentioned, it’s usually associated with graphics cards and processors. However, the company does tinker around with memory and storage in the form of its AMD Radeon R9 Gamer Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 bundle, which is clocked at 2,400MHz, and its Radeon R7 Series of solid state drives. That said, the company has quietly launched a new product in the latter market with the release of its Radeon R3 SSDs aimed at the consumer looking to retire the hard drive.
According to the product page, the new lineup provides up to 10 times the speed of a traditional hard drive, making the operating system zippier and the program load faster. The 2.5-inch drives work in both Intel- and AMD-based desktops and laptops, breathing new life into older setups that may have grown clunky over time.
Measuring just 7 millimeters thin, the new SSDs are offered in four capacities: 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB. They consist of Tri-Level Cell (TLC) NAND flash memory, meaning there’s no moving parts like a mechanical hard drive, which makes accessing and storing data super cool and quiet. They also perform at their peak when connected to a PC’s SATA 3 interface, but the drives are presumably compatible with older connections like SATA 2.
On the performance front, the 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB models have maximum read speeds of 520MB per second while the 960GB model has a maximum read speed of 510MB per second. On a maximum write speed level, the 120GB model is at 360MB per second, the 240GB and 480GB drives are at 470MB per second, and the 960GB drive is at 450MB per second.
The new lineup is based on the Silicon Motion SM2256KX controller that’s geared for SSDs to be used tablets, Ultrabooks, and as a hard-drive replacement. It’s the controller that enables the high read and write speeds, and provides real-time full drive encryption with AES. Although the Silicon Motion website does not list this specific controller, the SM2256 is also used in Samsung’s popular 840 Evo series of SSDs.
AMD’s new drives are actually manufactured by Galt Inc., a company based out of Taiwan. AMD made a similar move with its older Radeon R7 SSD series, which were manufactured by OCZ Storage Solutions (now owned by Toshiba). AMD jumped into the SSD market in August 2014, and the new Radeon R3 series serves as the company’s second-generation storage product.
Consumers wanting one of these new Radeon R3 SSDs can head over to Amazon now. The 120GB model costs a mere $41 and is available now, whereas the 240GB model ($70) and the 480GB model ($137) will ship in 9 to 11 weeks. Currently, the 960GB model is not listed on Amazon.
As previously indicated, the new Radeon R3 series of SSDs from AMD isn’t meant to be a high-performance solution, but rather a balance between speed and price for those wanting to ditch the hard drive. Consumers should see a noticeable difference, and the read and writes provided by these drives are great for the price. That said, customers should keep AMD in mind when shopping around for a new value-based storage solution for their desktop or notebook.
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