Hands-on: Runcore Pro IV 2.5-inch SATA SSD

If you're a fan of netbooks you've undoubtedly heard of Runcore. It's a leading manufacturer of solid-state drives (SSDs) out of Hong Kong with a reputation for super-fast products.

If you're a fan of netbooks you've undoubtedly heard of Runcore. It's a leading manufacturer of solid-state drives (SSDs) out of Hong Kong with a reputation for super-fast products. I purchased a Runcore SSD for my Dell Mini 9 (not once, but twice) because they consistently benchmark as much as 4x faster than the SSD that comes from Dell and have earned high praise from MyDellMini forum members. In fact, the Runcore SSD makes the Dell Mini 9 a very usable computer – it lags with the Dell SSD.

Building on the success of their netbook SSDs, Runcore has released its line of Pro IV 2.5-inch SATA SSDs for notebooks and they're incredibly fast. As in life changing fast. The Pro IV SSD (pictured) comes in an aluminum enclosure the same dimensions as a standard 2.5-inch, 9.5mm SATA drive, allowing you to drop it into any notebook computer – including any of the SATA MacBooks.

The RunCore Pro IV Series features the world's fastest MLC SSD, reaching speeds up to 240MB/sec read and 160MB/sec write. RunCore Pro IV Solid State drives also offer superior random read and random write speeds compared to the other main stream SSD on the market today. With in/outs per second (IOPS) of over 7000 read and 300 write it will process large amounts of data allowing you to simultaneously run a number of applications simultaneously with virtually no lag.

I've been testing the new 128GB Pro IV in my MacBook Pro for about two weeks and the results are amazing. In fact, after using the Pro IV SSD in my MacBook Pro I don't think that I'll ever be able to go back to a standard hard drive again - it's that fast. Apps fly open and large documents save even faster thanks to the Pro IV's 160 MB/second write speed. Boot times are also noticeably faster than my HDD (more benches to follow).

I benchmarked the Runcore Pro IV (128GB) in a 2.4GHz unibody MacBook Pro running Mac OS 10.5.6 with all the latest updates and was blown away by the results:

Standard Test WD 5400 RPM HDD Runcore Pro IV SSD % Improv.
Seq. Read 44.44 85.45 92
Seq. Write 44.91 79.99 78
Ran. Read 10.22 72.51 610
Ran. Write 17.07 72.51 325
Large Test
Read 54.34 134.58 148
Write 54.40 129.06 137
Extended Test
Read 51.91 135.80 162
Write 52.77 129.38 145
MB/sec MB/sec
As you can see from the results table the Runcore Pro IV almost doubled the HDD's performance in sequential reads and writes (reading from the top down). But that's only the beginning. The Pro IV slaughtered the standard SATA HDD in random reads where it's six times faster and in random writes where its over three times faster. When tested moving larger files (2-10MB and 20-100MB) the SSD more than doubles the performance of the HDD.

So there you have it, the Runcore Pro IV delivers up to 6x more performance over a standard HDD. If you're a professional that uses your notebook for 8+ hours a day to earn a living you really can't afford not to have a Runcore SSD. If you bill hourly and find yourself waiting for your computer a lot then it's costing you money not to have a Pro IV SSD in your rig.

Naturally SSDs command a premium over HDDs (currently ~$3.50 per GB compared to ~40 cents per GB) but professionals that need the most performance possible won't be discouraged by the price because they know that they'll recoup it in increase productivity. If you're after raw performance the Pro IV SSD is clearly the way to go.

The Runcore 2.5-inch Pro IV SATA SSDs are available for pre-order from MyDigitalDiscount.com: 32GB ($149), 64GB ($249), 128GB ($449), 256GB ($889) and will start shipping around May 15.

Benchmarks by QuickBench 4.0.1, part of the SpeedTools benchmarking suite.

Update: TweakTown has posted a nine-page review of the new Runcore Pro IV SSD with four pages of Windows benchmarks.

Update 2: Fixed an error in the % improvement column in the table.

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