Adata Swings For the Fences With Several New 3D SSDs

We always look forward to our annual meeting with Adata during Computex. Not only does the company bring several diverse models to play show-and-tell with us, but we also sit down to discuss upcoming market trends that will shape the rest of the year.

XGP Gets Cool(er)

The XPG line will get a makeover in the coming weeks with a new model called Gammix S10. This drive carries a five-year warranty, uses 3D TLC NAND, and scales up to 1TB. Adata tells us the new drive will reach up to 1,800 MBps sequential read and 850 MBps sequential write speeds. Setting this product apart from others in the Adata SSD lineup is an aluminum heatsink that spans nearly the entire length of the M.2 2280 PCB.

We're excited to get our hands on a pair of Gammix S10 drives to load in our new Asus Maximus IX Apex motherboard with DIMM.2 to increase cooling. The combination will look great with all of the components matching and working in RAID 0 to shoot the performance even higher.

SX Has A Solid Lineup: Now With 4 Digits

The Adata SX series now spans four products from SX6000 to SX9000 with two stops in the middle. The higher the number, the better performance users can expect but with some exception. This series goes from three digits to four, a change from the 2016 line up that will be end of life by the end of the year. 

The Adata XPG SX9000 sits at the top of the SX pyramid in both features and performance. The drive sports a Marvell Eldora 8-channel controller paired with Toshiba 15nm MLC flash and an electric red printed circuit board. The drive will exist as long as Toshiba can supply the planar NAND that we expect to be end of life, or priced out of consumer products, by the end of the year. It's too bad because the 2,800 MBps sequential read and 1,500 MBps sequential write speeds are phenomenal. The drive features low-density parity check to ensure long life for drives that range from 256Gb to 1TB. You may want to buy a few before the TLC apocalypse hits.

Moving down a tier, the Adata SX8000 continues to use MLC NAND but shifts to a Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2260 controller. The controller is best known for powering the Intel 600p but that drive uses 384Gbit TLC. Adata's version uses 3D MLC NAND that we presume comes from Micron. The drive will ship in five capacity sizes that range from 128GB to 2TB. If released today, the SX8000 would only be the second 2TB consumer NVMe M.2 SSD. At full speed this series should reach up to 2,500 MBps sequential read and 1,100 MBps sequential write speeds. We never saw a 2TB version with this configuration to ship, but we tested the 512GB drive last month.

TLC enters the picture with the SX7000. This drive uses the same Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2260 controller as the SX8000 but pairs it with 3D TLC. We essentially know this configuration as the Intel 600p. Adata’s version comes to market later and with different firmware / programming. The performance is similar though, 1,800 MB/s sequential read and 850 MB/s sequential write speeds.

The Adata SX6000 utilizes the Realtek RTS5760 controller with a PCI Express 3.0 x 2 connections back to the host. This controller has shipped over the last year but Colorful, a Chinese component manufacturer, was the only company to award it with a design win. Adata tells us this drive is ready to enter the global market with up to 1,150 MBps sequential read and 900 MBps sequential write speeds. Expect to see the SX600 in four capacity sizes that range between 128GB to 1TB.

Silicon Motion, Inc SM2262

Adata was one of only three companies to display the upcoming SM2262 NVMe controller. The only drive on display comes from the enterprise side of the market and under the name of IM2P33E8. We all had a good laugh with the unremarkable name and turned it into a game of who could actually remember it after just a few minutes passed. What was that name again? Yeah, we had better go look again to get it right.

What we didn’t forget is the remarkable performance this controller is able to achieve with Micron’s new 64-layer 3D NAND. We assume the 3,263MBps sequential performance in CrystalDisk Mark came from 256Gbit die. The reference design drive with early firmware also scored a solid 1,868MBps sequential write speed. So much for SMI only producing entry-level controllers.

Adata plans to utilize the controller to achieve a new SX8000 series product that we may see in January at CES. That’s also when we expect NAND prices to begin dropping before hitting a free fall starting in Q2 2017.

We expect this controller to make a major splash at Flash Memory Summit in August and possibly be the talk about the industry.

RGB – Sadly Yes

We almost left this one out because we're not a fan of RGB Everything. Then we remembered it’s not our job to pass judgment. We also have to admit that RGB motherboards make it much easier to swap components inside the PC.

Come one, come all. Step right up to see the latest in color changing technology. Adata has a prototype RGB-enabled internal SSD in a rather odd form factor. The drive resembles a 2.5" SSD, but we didn’t spot any mounting screws on the side. The SATA power and data cables are on one side of the drive but the RGB control cable plugs into the other side. It’s not for everyone but it might be right for you.

Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.