Tom's Hardware Verdict
The Inland QN446 is another 2TB alternative for your Steam Deck or ASUS ROG Ally, allowing for an easy internal storage upgrade. It performs well enough for gaming and is efficient and cool, but it still has the drawbacks of QLC.
2TB in the M.2 2230 form factor
Performance is sufficient, especially for PCIe 3.0
Micro Center and Amazon availability
Poor sustained performance
Peak 4.0 performance can’t match TLC
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Waiting around for the right SSD to upgrade your Steam Deck or ASUS ROG Ally? Live near a Micro Center? Now you can get a whopping 2TB without a lot of hassle. The Inland QN446 is an affordable and available alternative to existing drives. Its extra-long warranty and the convenience of brick-and-mortar locations help emulate the retail experience with an OEM-like selection. MC’s house brand is great for offering inexpensive alternatives, and it’s branched out to Amazon in a big way, too. Historically it has been challenging to get special SSDs - those in M.2 2230, a form factor common and convenient for portable computers - without looking to OEM alternatives, and 2TB in particular has been a tricky capacity. Thankfully, it is no longer difficult to find a known brand name drive at a compelling price.
The QN446 is not all roses, though, as it has the same weaknesses as the Sabrent Rocket Q4 2230, the Addlink S91, the Silicon Power UD90 2230, and the Teamgroup MP44S. These drives rely on QLC to hit the 2TB mark, which has some caveats. All-around performance can be slightly lower, sustained performance can be much lower, and overfilling the drive can be more problematic than TLC alternatives. However, that’s the price you must pay for this capacity in a single-sided, 2230 drive, a form factor required for many portable gaming devices. The only exception is the WD Black SN770M - a shortened SN770 with TLC flash - which has drawbacks of its own. However, we think the QN446 is worth a look.
|Form Factor||M.2 2230|
|Interface / Protocol||PCIe 4.0 x4|
|Flash Memory||176-Layer Micron QLC|
|Sequential Read||5,000 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||3,200 MB/s|
|Endurance (TBW)||450 TB|
|Part Number||589168, ASIN: B0C9F65B21|
The Inland QN446 only comes in the 2TB flavor, which is fine as Inland covers the 512GB and 1TB capacities with its TLC-based TN446. We can assume the “T” is for TLC while the QN446’s “Q” is for QLC, a useful designation in identifying Inland’s M.2 2230 SSDs like the TN436. 2TB happens to be the best place for QLC in that form factor, so the QN446 SKU makes sense for the lineup.
This drive reaches up to 5,000 / 3,200 MB/s with sequential reads and writes and 480K / 750K random read and write IOPS. This drive stands out with its warranty, offering an extra year over the typical five-year - but with only 450TB of writes. The TBW rating might put you off, but it should not be an issue in most cases; if it isn't for you, look at one of the competing drives.
At the time of review, the drive was priced at $169.99, which is about where it should fall, but be aware of price swings. The market has the potential to become volatile in the next couple of months, and if you can wait for the right sale, then patience may be wise.
Software and Accessories
Inland does not embellish its SSDs with any sort of software. The QN446 also does not require a heatsink for its intended purpose.
A Closer Look
Looking at the back of the packaging, we see that this is an International Products Sourcing Group (IPSG) product. This electronics company produces components for PowerSpec, Inland, and Micro Center.
The QN446 is single-sided in the M.2 2230 form factor. This makes it perfect for devices like the Steam Deck and ASUS ROG Ally, among others. Fitting 2TB into such a small form factor is quite the feat, even if Inland uses QLC flash here.
On top, we see the SSD controller, the Phison E21T, a Phison PMIC, and a single NAND package of 176-Layer Micron QLC. This controller is DRAM-less but generally performs quite well and is also relatively efficient. The flash is stacked with sixteen 1Tb dies in a single package (HDP) to achieve 2TB.
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Shane Downing is a Freelance Reviewer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering consumer storage hardware.
Too much! I agree with your conclusion.Reply
While this is a niche ssd, there are cheaper alternatives, $159-165 and the Seagate Firecuda is only $10 more. As stated in your review they are all about the same in performance. Me myself, if I needed a 2230 I would use the Micron, as it is cheaper. I do like the warranty length on Inlands, that is if you can actually get it replaced. Inland has a bad rep for warranties and MC only wants to refund purchase price, so if it goes up in price your out more for a replacement at MC.
inlands version needs to be below $159 to make this worth it.
The SN740 has been available for months now through Aliexpress for $120-135. Would hope you here at Tom's could acquire as you are missing the king of the hill for value and performance.Reply
For the steamdeck and those caliber of portable devices, any NVME drive in this form factor is good enough, cheapest 2230 at the capacity you need would be my recommendation.
But for platforms with legs, the sn740 runs cool and is the best 2230 gen 4 ssd on the market, for gen 3 I preferred sn530 was my favorite, and the sn520 drives could be trimmed (I cut up a 2280 to work with an angle grinder stand:)).The 2230 market is getting lots more competition this day but unfortunately they all are from 3rd party sellers(Not from NAND manufacturers), outside of the solidigm entry WD has cornered this market
For Inland, I have a QN 2tb I picked up for $70 last black friday(2280), its what you expect from a commodity nand 3rd party player, commodity performance. Now this entry is too expensive at launch, but I am sure it will be discounted and become a worthwhile proposition. Until then, it will serve well as an impulse purchase at microcenter or other retail locations when a 2230 drive is required.