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Silicon Power P34A60 M.2 NVMe SSD Review: Mid-Range Performance at Rock-Bottom Pricing

"Cheap and good enough" wins again

Silicon Power P34A60
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

If you're searching for an inexpensive NVMe SSD, the P34A60 puts up a solid fight against the Intel 660p and Crucial P1. For the price, it’s hard to pass up.

For

  • Competitive consumer performance
  • Efficient
  • Low-cost
  • Black PCB
  • 5-year warranty

Against

  • Slow direct-to-TLC write speed

Silicon Power’s entry-level P34A60 offers up to 2.2/1.6 GBps of sequential read/write performance and comes at rock-bottom pricing. That makes it a great value and the NVMe interface is much faster than SATA drives for light use, and while it's not the perfect drive for gaming, it’s close. 

The P34A60 is a step down from Silicon Power's P34A80 that we recently reviewed. Unlike that model, the P34A60 doesn’t come with a Phison E12 NVMe SSD controller. Instead, it boasts an entry-level DRAMless Silicon Motion SM2263XT NVMe SSD controller.

While the SM2263XT doesn’t use DRAM, it still serves up multi-GBps transfer speeds and is responsive due to host memory buffer (HMB) technology. This NVMe feature uses some of the host’s memory for caching the drives Flash Translation Layer (FTL) data, ultimately keeping performance competitive at a lower price point. The only drawback to HMB is that these drives exhibit a bit more latency than DRAM-based SSDs, particularly when they are under heavy load. However, the lower-cost design saves the company a few bucks, which it then passes on to the consumer.

Specifications

Silicon Power P34A60 256GBSilicon Power P34A60 512GBSilicon Power P34A60 1TB
Pricing$33.99$56.99$94.99
Capacity (User / Raw)256GB / 256GB512GB / 512GB1024GB / 1024GB
Form FactorM.2 2280M.2 2280M.2 2280
Interface / ProtocolPCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3
ControllerSilicon Motion SM2263XTSilicon Motion SM2263XTSilicon Motion SM2263XT
DRAMDRAMless - HMBDRAMless - HMBDRAMless - HMB
MemoryIntel 64L TLCIntel 64L TLCIntel 64L TLC
Sequential Read2,100 MBps2,200 MBps2,200 MBps
Sequential Write1,200 MBps1,600 MBps1,600 MBps
Random Read190,000 IOPS240,000 IOPS240,000 IOPS
Random Write230,000 IOPS250,000 IOPS250,000 IOPS
EncryptionN/AN/AN/A
Endurance (TBW)150 TB300 TB600 TB
Part NumberSP256GBP34A60M28SP256GBP34A60M28SP256GBP34A60M28
Warranty5-Years5-Years5-Years

Silicon Power’s SP34A60 comes in three capacities of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. The 1TB model is the best bang-for-your-buck at just $95, but the 256GB and 512GB models are priced very aggressively at $33.99 and $56.99, respectively. Silicon Power will release a 2TB model in early 2020.

As a PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3 device, the SP34A60 delivers performance figures of up to 2.1/1.2 GBps of sequential read/write throughput at the 256GB capacity, and up to 2.2 /1.6 GBps at the 512GB and 1TB capacities. All of the capacity points deliver up to 240,000 IOPS of random read performance and 250,000 write IOPS. 

Standard features include secure erase support via the Format NVM command, Trim, and S.M.A.R.T. data reporting. To ensure data integrity, the P34A60 features end-to-end data protection, a RAID engine, and Low-Density Parity-Check (LDPC) ECC. This also ensures competitive endurance ratings. At up to 600TB of write endurance at the 1TB capacity, it matches Samsung’s 970 EVO Plus. It also has a five-year warranty, but that only applies if you haven't exhausted the write endurance.

Software and Accessories

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Silicon Power provides an SSD Toolbox for download on the company’s website. It allows you to monitor your SSD’s S.M.A.R.T. data and view its health and endurance status.

A Closer Look

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The P34A60 comes in an M.2 2280 form factor and our 512GB sample is single-sided, meaning the components are all on one side of the PCB. The SMI SM2263XT NVMe 1.3 SSD controller is accompanied by Intel 64-Layer TLC flash.

MORE: Best SSDs

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  • lackoffaithify
    A $10 price difference from the SP A80, doesn't really seem like it's a good trade off for the person doing the buying. Time to rein in the hyperbole of, "Rock-Bottom" and "low cost."
    Reply