As with the non-GTX version, the Neutron GTX is not held together by screws – on the outside at least. Instead, the back plate snaps in and is held with some strategically placed tab-like ridges.
Once open, three screws, arranged in a triangular pattern, are all that stands in the way of setting the PCB free. A thermal pad is also there to make our life miserable when trying to disassemble the drive. Actually, it’s there to transfer heat away from the controller and protect it from physical shock.
The first side of the PCB we’ll look at is empty save for some miscellaneous bits and part of the cache.
As with the Neutron drive, the GTX has Samsung DDR2 cache chips, part number
K4T1G08QF with a total of
256MB total onboard.
Switching to the other side, we find the other half of the cache, the NAND modules, and the controller.
Unlike the junior Neutron drive which had Micron ONFI 25nm MLC chips, the GTX sports Toshiba Toggle NAND which are also MLC and 25nm in architecture carrying part number TH58TEG8D2HBA8C. All eight total up to be 256GB (1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes) capacity for the drive.
Finally, we make our way to the Link_A_Media Devices (LAMD) LM87800 controller that leverages a 6Gbps SATA interface that barely offers enough bandwidth to contain it. Unlike SandForce controllers, they rely on a cache to buffer the data and do rely on compression to boost performance which will be evident in some of the benchmarks. Instead it uses what they term eBoost technology to improve drive
endurance through proprietary “adaptive signal estimation techniques”. Add to that more mundane things like idle garbage collection, TRIM, error correction and wear leveling duties. OK, not so mundane but things we generally take for granted that happen behind the scenes.