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Adata XPG SX950 SSD Review

Conclusion

We haven't had a lot of luck with Micron's new 3D NAND. Micron hasn't even released a consumer SSD with its 3D MLC, and the MX300 with 3D TLC was a disappointment. We've tested several products with Micron's 3D NAND in both MLC and TLC forms, but if you already own an SSD large enough to satisfy your needs, none have been noteworthy enough to merit an upgrade.

3D NAND has yet to deliver increased capacities because strong flash demand coupled with the shortage has made high-density NAND packages incredibly expensive. That's prevented significant price reductions. Micron's 3D NAND trades performance compared to older planar NAND, but users don't receive capacity and pricing benefits.

Adata's XPG SX950 is the best example of what's possible with 3D NAND, but the SX950's increased performance has less to do with the flash than it does with Silicon Motion's commitment to squeeze out extra performance. We've tested Micron's flash with several controllers, and the SM2258H's firmware is by far the best to date. The controller and new programming features make the SX950 the best of this new class, but it still doesn't dethrone the 850 EVO. We do finally have higher performance, which is the one area many of us are willing to trade off slightly for increased capacity.

With new technology, the adage of one step forward, two steps back often applies. The transition to 3D NAND has been like stepping two years back, though. The Adata XPG SX950 is the first SSD to take those first two steps forward, but we're just now getting back to where we were before 16nm planar NAND. The Adata XPG SX950 is the first consumer SSD to use Micron's 3D NAND to regain equal footing with popular older SSDs. It's obvious progress, but Micron's first-generation 3D NAND still isn't comparable to Samsung's V-NAND technology.

At the time of writing, the Adata XPG SX950 480GB is $249.99 at Newegg. The Samsung 850 EVO 500GB retails for $199.99 at Newegg, but B&H has the drive for $169.00. That's the best price we've seen, and it includes free shipping. We like the Adata XPG SX950 480GB, and it's a viable alternative to the 850 EVO 500GB. We just don't see a reason to purchase the SX950 over the 850 EVO, even if they carry the same price tag.

Adata's done quite a bit to make up the performance delta between the industry go-to and the SX950. The new drive features a full six-year warranty and covers up to 800TB of endurance (for the 960GB model). The drive also includes an ample accessory package that includes a desktop adapter bracket, disk cloning software, and a software toolbox to monitor and manage the drive.

We like the Adata XPG SX950 and feel the company made the best product it could with the tools and hardware available. The problem we have, and the problem everyone else has had for the last several years, is the Samsung 850 EVO. Companies are still building products to match or come close to the EVO and have to tack on extras to fill in gaps. The goal shouldn't be to match the 850 EVO but to surpass it.

The influx of quality NVMe SSDs also cost nearly the same as SATA-based devices but deliver a better user experience. The NVMe XPG SX8000 512GB ($211.99) actually retails for slightly less than the XPG SX950 480GB. The XPG SX950 is a good product, but it has some gaps that need to be filled. The first one is pricing.


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  • takeshi7
    I tried using the contact form at the bottom of the Toms Hardware page, but it takes me to purch.com and the contact form doesn't work. It gets an internal error whenever I try to submit it. Also the pr@purch.com email address doesn't work either.

    Would you like to review the Seagate Nytro 141 256GB? I got it after learning about it from your article. It's still in the bubble wrap.
    Reply
  • kalmquist
    One SSD that probably should have been included in the comparisons is the Samsung 850 Pro. That's the closest thing to the SX950 on the market. Both are expensive, 3D MLC drives that need a fairly demanding workload to show their stuff.
    Reply
  • chalabam
    This is why Tomshardware is becoming more and more useless each day.

    Now, with no graphics!, it goes back to 1988

    http://i.imgur.com/KfAY22R.jpg
    Reply
  • nyannyan
    @Chalabam, are you sure your connection isn't the issue? The images work fine where I am.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    19993736 said:
    One SSD that probably should have been included in the comparisons is the Samsung 850 Pro. That's the closest thing to the SX950 on the market. Both are expensive, 3D MLC drives that need a fairly demanding workload to show their stuff.
    Maybe. For consumer workloads they definitely fail to dethrone the 850 Evo.

    19993969 said:
    This is why Tomshardware is becoming more and more useless each day.

    Now, with no graphics!, it goes back to 1988
    Works fine here. Could have been a momentary hiccup on their host, or it could be a problem on your end. Either way, instead of "your site is useless because *I* am having an issue herp derp" maybe start with "hey the images in the article won't load for me, is anyone else having this problem?".

    Reply
  • Martell1977
    Have to hand it to Samsung, they are still riding high in the segment with the 850 EVO that released in 2014...Pretty far ahead in the game.
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    I can tell you that we have something just as fast but is cheaper. The review will be ready shortly.
    Reply
  • Lone Star State
    480GB SATA III SSD for $250? Samsung 960 Pro 512GB M2 NVme SSD is just $279 now.
    Reply
  • DerekA_C
    another silly pricing and product that doesn't really compete with Samsung yet costs more hmmmm. wtf is going on with corporations these days as more are bought more are produced the price should get cheaper not more expensive over time. Also the warranty and the TBW sure says it's high but has it been proven like Samsung to be underestimating their TBW by a long shot just to make sure their warranties stand up. http://www.anandtech.com/show/8239/update-on-samsung-850-pro-endurance-vnand-die-size
    Reply