G.Skill 64GB Falcon (FM-25S2S-64GBF1)

May 28th, 2009 | By Simon

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G.Skill 64GB Falcon (FM-25S2S-64GBF1)

: 05/28/09 – 03:58:52 AM


: Storage

Page 1 : Introduction

: G.Skill

Everyone has heard of solid state drives and like many of you I jumped onto the bandwagon with the affordable JMicron MLC SSD. Initially, these drives were lightning fast. Sequential read and write performance was unbelievable. I thought I had a winner and was definitely going to be converting all my primary drives to SSD.


After a bit of use, I found my system started lagging in the middle of MSN conversations or a video from YouTube. It was odd and very annoying. I had checked to see if there were particular tasks taking up a large number of operations but nothing stood up. Then I came across an article from Anandtech that explained everything. The fault was with the JMicron controller, there was no cache needed to buffer the random read and writes an OS works on.

The solution: an SSD based on the Indilinx controller. G.Skill called it their Falcon.


Page 2 : G.Skill Falcon Package & Contents

The G.Skill Falcon arrives in a fairly simple box with a logo looking like a flying Falcon. On the back we highlight the key features and specifications. The side of the box gives a repeat of the name and drive size, 2.5′.

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Inside the white box was a foam box protecting the Falcon SSD.

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In addition to the drive, G.Skill provides a jumper pin that can be used to update the firmware. As of May 5, 2009, there has been a patch offered by G.Skill to provide the TRIM command.


The Falcon SSD is pretty much your standard 2.5′ hard drive. There are three models in the Falcon family and they will all look identical with the exception of the sticker indicating the drive capacity on the front and back.

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It's clearly stated that the drive is capable of 230MB/s Read and 135MB/s write. However, we already know SSDs back in the days of JMicron controllers were fast. The question becomes can they withstand the test of time and continue to provide high speeds after months of use or once the drive has been filled up?

The Falcon uses standard hard drive connections and provides a jumper connection beside your SATA port for firmware updates.


Page 3 : Specifications & Features

Navigating through G.Skill's website, we're able to find the Falcon product page complete with specifications.


The Indilinx controller used is under the Barefoot project and Indilinx claims it supports up to 256GB with performance in the range of 230MB/s read and 170MB/s write. So why does G.Skill only list the performance speed of 135MB/s? The compromise is to improve the response time.

Page 4 : Installation, Power Consumption & Test Configuration

If you're interested in buying the Falcon SSD or any SSD for that matter, you must already know how to install a 2.5′ hard drive. For laptops, the drive needs to be mounted onto your hard drive cage and pushed into the bay. For desktop PCs, you'll need to purchase a 3.5′ to 2.5′ drive bay converter, screw the drive into place and plug in the SATA data cable and power.

I compared the power consumption of the Falcon to a few other SSDs and a conventional 500GB Seagate hard drive. With no surprise, the SSDs are a few watts below the conventional hard drive. It also appears that the Indilinx controller requires a few more watts than the original JMicron controller.


I will be testing the G.Skill Falcon on my test bed as a primary drive. Here's a rundown of my system:


  • CPU: Intel C2D Q6600 (G0 SLACR L731B434) @ 2.71 GHz

  • MB: Asus P5E3-Dlx Wifi-AP Edition
  • GPU: Sapphire HD 4850 X2 Catalyst
  • RAM: Aeneon 2x2GB XTune DDR3-1600 (AXH860UD20-16H) @ 1800Mhz 10-10-10-30 1T
  • PSU: Cooler Master Real Power Pro 850W
  • CPU Cooling: Thermalright HR-01 w/ 120mm Antec Tri-Cool Fan
  • PWM/NB/SB Cooling: Stock/Stock/Stock
  • OS: Windows Vista x64

Hard Drives

  • G.Skill 64GB Falcon (FM-25S2S-64GBF1)

  • OCZ 30GB Vertex SSD
  • G.Skill FM-25S2S-64GB
  • Seagate Barracuda SATA 500GB 7200.11 (ST3500320AS)

To test out the drive we'll be using DiskBench, Crystal DiskMark, SiSoft Sandra, HD Tune 3.10, ATTO, HDTach, IOMeter and Boot Timer. All benchmarks were executed 5 times and the average result was recorded. The system was reset between each benchmark.


To add a little flavour to the review, I'm going to benchmark the G.Skill Falcon twice – once when the drive has only Windows Vista and the benchmarking software installed, denoted ‘New’ in the benchmarks, and once when the drive is completely full, denoted ‘Full’. I'm doing this to see what the performance impact is once the drive is full of files.


Page 5 : ATTO, Crystal Disk Mark & DiskBench Performance

ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk Benchmark is probably one of the gold standards when it comes to drive performance. The software itself is fairly old but it works, measuring transfer rates at different transfer sizes for a file being 256MB in size.



The G.Skill Falcon comes out on top against the competition when the drive is brand new. Once the drive is completely full, the performance slips and we're back in par with your conventional the Seagate Barracuda.

Crystal Disk Mark

Crystal Disk Mark is another disk benchmark software commonly used, unlike ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Mark is our first look at sequential transfer rates as well as 4KB and 512KB Random transfer rates.



Crystal Disk Mark Sequential Read didn't give a realistic number; it was in the thousands of megabytes per second. We can see that the 4KB random read and write performance has had a dramatic performance increase over the older JMicron SSD.

Nodesoft DiskBench

There's nothing fancy to DiskBench, I commonly use it to see how long it takes to copy a file from one source to another. Seeing as this is a hard drive review, I'm going to use the ‘Create File’ feature and determine the speed at which the hard drive is able to create a 200MB file consisting of 100 2MB blocks.


Page 6 : SiSoft Sandra, HD Tune & HD Tach Performance

Sisoft Sandra – File System

Another common benchmarking program, we have SiSoft Sandra File System Benchmark. The File System Benchmark gives us a quick glance at the overall performance and whether we have a new or full drive, the performance is both consistent and miles ahead of the JMicron SSD or conventional platter hard drives.


SiSoft Sandra – Physical Disk

The Physical Disk Benchmark benchmarks the hard disks and not the file system, meaning the graph below compares the performance of the physical disk to the storage adapter, unlike the SiSoft Sandra File System benchmarks which shows performance between the file system itself and the adapter.


HD Tune

Yet another hard disk utility to determine the performance of your drive. HD Tune runs a few tests to provide a transfer rate (minimum, maximum and average). It also trends the performance through the entire disk and gives you the access time, burst rate and CPU usage.

New Drive


Full Drive


There's a pretty distinct drop in performance between the New drive and the Full drive. The full drive is a little more consistent than the new but both do well.

HD Tach

HD Tach is a low level hardware benchmark for random access read and writes. The performance numbers are quite similar to HD Tune.

New Drive


Full Drive


Page 7 : IOMeter & Boot Time Performance


IOMeter is the latest addition to my hard drive benchmarking suite. The software is highly customizable and what I'm doing only scratches the surface of its capability. I added IOMeter because of flaws in the original solid state drives on the market. After completing all the benchmarks on the last G.Skill SSD, I popped into my laptop and made it my day-to-day drive. I found overtime the performance to become really sluggish. At first, MSN messages would take longer to appear and videos would stutter. After some digging on the net, it turned out to be a problem with the random write performance. More information on the issue at hand can be found at AnandTech.

For IOMeter, I set it up to pepper a 1GB portion of the drive with 4KB files, 100% random file, 50% read and 50% write for 3 minutes. I generated results for average read and write access times and average read and write transfer rates.


It's clear that with an average write response time of 6.114 seconds on the JMicron controller compared to 0.062ms from the Falcon the system will stutter. Even the read and write performances are factors higher with the new G.Skill Falcon Indilinx based drive.

Boot Time

With SSD comes the reduction of start-up times. Basically every application will load up a tiny bit quicker. The difference between the G.Skill Falcon with an Indilinx controller and the original G.Skill with the JMicron is fairly negligible. However, you definitely won't regret making the switch compared to conventional platter drives.


Page 8 : Conclusion

G.Skill has certainly impressed me with their latest offering. I've finished the benchmarking a few weeks ago and switched my laptop from the G.Skill FM-25S2S-64GB to the Falcon and have noticed and incredible boost in performance. Videos no longer stutter and there's no lag between MSN conversations, the JMicron controller made it feel like I was back in the 56k days! Since many of us can't afford an Intel X25-M MLC SSD, the G.Skill Falcon is a great alternative with significantly improved sequential and random performance over their original design.


To sweeten the deal, G.Skill has managed to cut costs and offer their Falcon line up at prices much less than other retailers like OCZ. How they managed to do that is beyond me, but a penny saved is a penny earned in today's tough economy.


  • Eliminates stuttering from original JMicron MLC SSDs

  • Performance increase on random read and write
  • Lower price than competition for same drive
  • TRIM command supported


  • Price per GB still high

  • Little differentiation from competition

I'd like to thank G.Skill for making this review possible.

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