TeamGroup has introduced its new family of SSDs that wed a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface with low pricing. In addition, the T-Force Cardea Z44L lineup is equipped with a thin graphene heat spreader so that it can fit both into desktops and laptops. Still, while it uses the latest interface for SSDs, its performance is actually lower than what we've come to expect from modern SSDs.
TeamGroup's T-Force Cardea Z44L drives will be available in 500GB and 1TB configurations and will come in an M.2-2280 form factor. The 1TB version is rated for up to 3,500 MBps of sequential read speed and up to 3,000 MBps of sequential write speed. It can also deliver up to 263,000 random read IOPS as well as up to 282,000 random write IOPS. The 500GB SKU is slower than its more capacious brother and offers up to 3,300/2,400 MB/s sequential read/write speeds.
TeamGroup traditionally does not disclose the type of components it uses in its drives. That is so the company can be more flexible with its choice in the future if the bill-of-materials (BOM) gets too high, meaning it's natural to expect the components could vary over time. The company only says that the T-Force Cardea Z44L uses an NVMe 1.4-compatible controller with a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface to the host and 3D TLC NAND memory.
TeamGroup's T-Force Cardea Z44L is slower than most SSDs featuring a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface that we've encountered. Perhaps, to cut down BOM, the company either uses outdated and slow 3D TLC flash (which is too slow to saturate a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface fully), or it equips the drives with only a few high-capacity latest-gen 3D TLC NAND devices (and there are not enough of them to take advantage of the PCIe 4.0 x4 interface).
Yet, there is a bright side to this: The T-Force Cardea Z44L is faster than most PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs, so it could shine in previous-gen systems. Furthermore, the Cardea Z44L's performance is more than enough for average users with typical light workloads. So, while the T-Force Cardea Z44L is not the fastest drive around, it may still end up among the best budget SSDs.
TeamGroup rates its T-Force Cardea Z44L 500GB model for up to 200 terabytes written (TBW), meaning you can write up to 200TB of data to the drive before voiding the warranty, whereas the 1TB SKU is rated for up to 400TBW over a five-year warranty period. This translates to 0.2 drive writes per day (DWPD), which means 100GB per day for the 500GB model. Of course, an average user without write-intensive workloads will hardly ever record 100GB of data on a 500GB drive per day, but those who create content or mine Chia would prefer something more durable.
Being a family of inexpensive SSDs, TeamGroup's T-Force Cardea Z44L lineup only includes two models: the 500GB version is priced at $74.99, and the 1TB SKU costs $169.99. Both drives will hit the market in late September.