Packaging & Appearance
The Falcon arrived on my desk in a glossy box, not too disimilar to the boxes graphics cards and motherboards re packaged in these days only this was much smaller. The tribal design Falcon is quite attractive as is the red/black fade printwork on the box. Interestingly, GSkill use the slogan 'Where speed is!!' - something we will endevaour to confirm or denounce later in the review. Flipping the box over we see the specifications of the solid state drive along with the product code and a brief run down of the features.
Removing the SSD from the outer packaging we find the familiar black box most solid state drives appear to be packed in. This box is reinforced with a luxurious foam inner which inturn holds the sealed drive in place. A small instruction leaflet is also included which gives a very basic guide on how to instal the drive. Interestingly, GSkill have also included a jumper which is used for the purposes of flashing the driver to later firmware but for the purposes of this review we will be testing the drive as it arrived. It is however good to know GSkill have provided this feature with the forsight for possible upgrades in the future.
The Falcon drive is the standard SSD size being 2.5" across. Sadly, as with most SSD's on the market today, no 3.5"-2.5" adaptor is included in the package which is a dissappointment as most cases are not yet fit to house an SSD as standard. Rather than the plastic shell that other manufacturers have adopted, GSkill have used a metal one which is slightly heavier than other models. Personally I prefer this as other SSD's feel flimsy in comparison. As you can see from the pics below, the drive takes standard SATA data and power cables with the jumper header to the edge of the data port.
Voiding the warranty by unscrewing four screws to get to the guts of the SSD you will see from the pictures below that the metal backplate holding the drive together has some discoloration. While this is not visable on the exterior it is slightly worring that moisture may have intruded at some point and caused this slight discoloration of the metal. Needless to say though that the drive was perfectly dry when opened so this was probably the result of the steel being 'unfinished' as it would not normally be visible to the end user.
The drives internals are laid out pretty much the same as the Falcons biggest competitor, the OCZ Vertex. Perhaps more to the point is the fact this drive uses exactly the same Memory controller by Indilinx, the same 64MB of Cache by Elpida and the same Samsung PCB0 NAND flash chips. It is interesting then that the GSkill is advertised at a slower read speed but higher write than the Vertex. This is again, something we will shortly be putting to the test.
The version we have for review today features 16x8GB NAND chips (MLC) by Samsung giving the end user 128GB of storage space to play with (reduced when partitioned). The Falcon is also available in 64GB and 256GB versions too with the 64GB version being slightly slower than the 128GB.
All in all a very nice looking product. I would have liked to have seen a matching red PCB rather than the contrasting blue but this is a null point really as nobody will be mad enough to take their SSD apart to see this colour (except us here at OC3D). Like the other drives we have tested thus far though, GSkill too have missed the opportunity of providng some simple bracket convertors to ease installation worries. Hopefully this is somthing that will be rectified in future revisions but for now I am thus far pleased with the GSkill Falcon.