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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

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.