Adata SX8000 NVMe SSD Is The First With Intel 3D MLC

Adata's XPG gaming division just announced its first PCIe NVMe SSD. The XPG SX8000 features a sleek M.2 double-sided form factor, and Adata designed it to allow gamers to break the SATA performance barrier. The drive also features a couple of firsts for a consumer-facing SSD: This is the first drive to utilize IMFT's new 3D MLC NAND, and it's also the first MLC product with LDPC error correction.

The three smallest capacities will ship first, and later in the year, a large 1TB option will emerge. The XPG SX8000 is similar to the Ballistix (By Micron) TX3 that was canceled after a successful showing at Computex in June. With the TX3 off the table, the SX8000 becomes the first consumer SSD to ship with IMFT's new 256Gbit 3D MLC NAND.

We've yet to test the new 3D MLC in the consumer lab but think Adata's decision to pair the drive with low-density parity check (LDPC) error correction tells us more about the state of IMFT's MLC flash than the company would probably like to admit. LDPC is an old technology that was reworked to gain consumer-level endurance cycles from low-cost, low-endurance flash, namely 3-bit per cell technology. We've questioned IMFT's new 3D flash technology, and the SX8000 just adds to the growing list of concerns. That's not to say the SX8000 is a poor product; we just have some concerns with the long-term success of the flash, because it's the foundation IMFT has to build on for future generations.

We reached out to Adata for pricing and endurance data but have yet to hear back.

Technical Specifications

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ProductSX8000 128GBSX8000 256GBSX8000 512GBSX8000 1TB
InterfacePCIe 3.0 x4PCIe 3.0 x4PCIe 3.0 x4PCIe 3.0 x4
ProtocolNVMe 1.2NVMe 1.2NVMe 1.2NVMe 1.2
ControllerSMI SM2260SMI SM2260SMI SM2260SMI SM2260
Sequential Read1,000 MB/s1,900 MB/s2,000 MB/s2,400 MB/s
Sequential Write300 MB/s600 MB/s1,000 MB/s1,000 MB/s
Random Read45,000 IOPS80,000 IOPS100,000 IOPSUnknown
Random Write75,000 IOPS130,000 IOPS140,000 IOPSUnknown

For many of our readers, the SX8000 128GB is off the table. The drive fails to outperform premium and even some mainstream SATA products in three of the four important corners of performance. The 256GB and larger products surpass the limits of SATA and deliver true NVMe performance. The SX8000 1TB drive is the fastest across the board, at least for the data we managed to find in the datasheet. It will not ship until later this year, when IMFT perfects the manufacturing process enough to allow more 3D die to stack in packages.

The XPG SX8000 joins a growing number of entry-level and mainstream SSDs. This category will grow exponentially in 2017 when NVMe starts to outsell SATA products in the upgrade market.

Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.
  • thundervore
    Right now the race is for speed among the NVMe drives.
    When the speed is about the same along all the drives manufactures will start dressing up the drives with fancy colour heatsinks.
    Then when those get stale they will add RGB LEDs.
  • bit_user
    18664832 said:
    When the speed is about the same along all the drives manufactures will start dressing up the drives with fancy colour heatsinks.
    Then when those get stale they will add RGB LEDs.
    I agree with this, except I think we'll see crazy heatspreaders and LEDs sooner than that. It'll be the drives which can compete on neither price nor speed.
  • John Wittenberg
    Too bad it (still) means jack squat for gamers:
  • Game256
    2000/600 Mb/s and 80k/140k IOps for 256/512 Gb versions, really? When there are 960 EVO and 960 Pro with 3500/1500 Mb/s and 330k/300k IOps?

    This thing should be really cheap. But even in that case there is no point to choose it over 130$-priced 960 EVO.
  • ShadyHamster
    The same drive capacities we've seen for the last couple of years now, how boring.
  • DocBones
    Why no u.2 format? The m.2 setups are a pain to do on a desktop, and 2.5 mounting is much easier. (those m.2 2mm screws are a very very small)
  • steve4king
    I understand that the switch to NVMe was necessary to move forward with the technology.. but it makes no sense when we're discussing performance and NVMe is touted as a class of it's own. This isn't the only article I've seen doing this, but they often seems to read as "NVMe vs low performance". But in practice, NVMe didn't bring a huge performance increase itself.
    "true NVMe performance", and "NVMe starts to outsell SATA". NVMe is an apple and SATA is an an orange.. or more appropriately a stem.

    This should be "SATA vs PCIe 2.0 x4" or "NVMe vs AHCI".
  • CRamseyer
    There are several PCIe AHCI products like the Samsung SM951-AHCI and older All-In-One RAID products.

    In the future we will combine SATA and NVMe in one large group but there are not enough low-cost NVMe products to make the merge just yet. They are coming, the Adata SX8000 may be one of the NVMe SSDs priced at premium SATA levels but at this time we don't have pricing info.

    As far as U.2 in the client space, I think it is dead. It will go down as only mildly more successful than SATA Express. If Intel had a M.2 controller a year ago then I don't think we would have ever had the U.2 spec on consumer motherboards. It was designed for enterprise rackmount systems with dedicated drive sleds. It works great for that purpose but in consumer systems the cable is out of place, and companies have to cool hardware the same hardware with a smaller footprint. That costs more money and requires more cooling from the system.

    That is not to say we will never see a new consumer-facing U.2 SSD. Personally I like the adapters and the ability to utilize enterprise SSDs on consumer boards. SCSI and SAS controllers were always expensive and usually suffered from compatability issues with some motherboards.
  • alidan
    18665644 said:
    Too bad it (still) means jack squat for gamers:

    It actually means a hell of alot... we don't need to have the fastest as the difference just isn't here, and with a good number of games, we just need a properly defragged hard drive. Still considering getting a 512gb ssd for games that i play allot or the odd fallout 4, but my 4tb seems to do the job just fine.
  • kinney
    18665644 said:
    Too bad it (still) means jack squat for gamers:

    That was done with a stopwatch, and he didn't even ensure prefetch was disabled/enabled. It was done so poorly you can dismiss it outright. That said, load times don't matter. The improvements from an NVME SSD are not going to be easily measured but felt and measurable with a proper benchmarking (which is not easy, which is why few to none are doing it). If you're feeding a lot of texture information off the drive and other things are also requesting the drive, you'll see a significant difference in how the game runs.
    There's a lot of bad or imperfect benchmarks out there, but faster is always better. Buy the best you can afford because every bit counts as it ages. Anyone buying a SSD today should at least get an NVME model. There's no reason not to.