If you are the kind of person that wants to buy the best and not look back, the Drevo Ares 256GB isn't for you. The Ares has the look of a performance leader and considering its low price, that might be good enough for some enthusiasts. The Ares will certainly draw some attention if you use it in a windowed computer case.
Micron's first-generation 3D MLC flash was never widely used in consumer SSDs. The controller companies that validated the media didn't spend as much time optimizing the firmware as they did for the first-generation TLC NAND. We can see that in our performance results. The Intel 600p with IMFT 3D TLC delivers nearly the same performance as the 3D MLC. The Intel 600p and Drevo Ares deliver roughly the same performance under typical consumer workloads. Neither drive should be used in a workstation environment, but both also outperform most SATA SSDs.
The Ares has a big endurance advantage over the 600p. Intel rates the 600p 256GB at 144 TBW, which is less than half of the Ares' 350 TBW rating. Endurance may not seem like a significant issue, but many shoppers looking at SSDs in this price range want to keep using the drive for several years rather than upgrade frequently.
Before we get to the overall price equation, there are other value-add features. The Drevo Ares has a strip of blue LEDs on the circuit board and tucked away behind diffusers. That produces an even light along the dominant edge of the drive. There is also a three-way switch that unlocks the different power modes, but that's largely a gimmick feature. We just don't see anyone intentionally slowing the drive down to SATA SSD levels. Drevo offers users a free baseball cap if you jump through a couple of hoops. You also get a coupon to use at an online store.
The Drevo Ares won't break the bank at $179. It costs roughly $20 more than the Intel 600p 256GB on Amazon. We would spend the extra $20 to gain the extra endurance and good looks of the Ares, but I'm not sure this is where we would stop. For another $20 the MyDigitalSSD BPX 480GB looks like an even better value. Some may choose to leap over the $179 price point to gain twice the capacity and mainstream NVMe performance.
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