Adata SX8000 NVMe SSD Review

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Final Analysis

Adata managed to push the SMI SM2260 controller further than any other company to date. The fact is, though, the SM2260 lacks the processing power required to compete in the mainstream NVMe market. The controller gets a nice performance bump with MLC, but it isn't enough to make it a 960 EVO killer. Adata worked hard to bring it all together and deliver a competitive product, but the company fell short of its target.

If you are looking for the best mix of performance, capacity, and cost, you have to be worried about the current trend in NVMe products. Other than the MyDigitalSSD BPX, all of the reasonably-priced products use TLC NAND. The TLC products are faster than the best SATA SSDs during normal desktop workloads, but they fail to deliver on the NVMe promise of extreme performance and near-instant load times. I wouldn't go as far as to say it's like comparing a Corvette to a Chevette with the low-cost products--they are more like a Prius.

You can put lightweight wheels and race slicks on a Prius, but that still doesn't make it a performance car. The SX8000 uses advanced technology like SLC cache, LDPC, and optimized tuning for burst performance to deliver a usable product, but the controller and the flash are still the engines that drive SSDs. At the end of the day, if one of the two components is weak, the product suffers, and performance falls back to the level of the weakest link. An SLC buffer can mask some of that, but you can still tell the difference.

There are rumors that Toshiba is actively courting Apple to buy into the profitable NAND division, so we should be worried about the future. If Apple takes all of the Toshiba's NAND, like it already does with BiCS, that leaves us without access to a viable alternative to Samsung for high-performance MLC. There isn't anything wrong with Samsung SSDs, but the company isn't known for keeping prices low just to benefit consumers. We need companies like Adata to balance the market, but we've lost that balance over the last eighteen months (when IMFT pushed 3D).

The Adata XPG SX8000 is a better option than the Intel 600p in almost every measurable way. The SX8000 has a problem with pricing, though, and that's going to keep you from taking this drive seriously. The MyDigitalSSD BPX is still a better option, but we're not sure how much longer the company can keep the 480GB model at $199.99. The drive will experience price creep in the coming weeks because planar MLC prices keep rising due to the NAND shortage. With aggressive pricing, Adata has a chance to move into the coming gap between the 600p and BPX, but it will require a price drop. Adata has a long history of delivering very good SSDs at competitive prices, but with the NAND shortage, all bets are off. We'll have to see where the pieces fit in the coming weeks.


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Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.
  • dstarr3
    This is not a valid form
  • adgjlsfhk
    85,000 (128GB) and 45,000 IOPS (256 GB)
  • adgjlsfhk
    "85,000 (128GB) and 45,000 IOPS (256 GB)" Is this right?
  • geoffw_1
    Thanks for all the behind-the-scenes development issues and insights. Why no mention of the TLC competition emerging though?
  • logainofhades
    NVME may be faster, but with their horrible price/GB ratio, there is no way I would consider one for myself.
  • Brian_227
    So it costs the same as a 960 EVO but performs a lot worse. THANKS A BUNCH, ADATA!!
  • bit_user
    19702804 said:
    So it costs the same as a 960 EVO but performs a lot worse. THANKS A BUNCH, ADATA!!
    At least it (mostly) out-performs Intel's lousy 600p. That should be the minimum standard for all NVMe SSDs.
  • hannibal
    Soon 960 evo cost much more ;)
    Hi Chris,
    Can be a crummy job at times-struggling to find something nice/positive to say.
    Adata should be getting them wafers at a reasonable price-No one else wants it.
    Do you know what nm IMFT are using here?????????????
    Sure I read somewhere 20nm.
    Know Sammy went back to 30/40nm.
    Could that be part of the problem?? Trying to be too greedy???
  • gdmaclew
    Why are your links showing Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 Ram as $269.99 at Amazon when Amazon has it listed (if you click on the link) as $54.99?