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Silicon Power P34A80 PCIe Gen3x4 M.2 NVMe SSD Review: TLC Performance at QLC Prices

Editor's Choice

Our Verdict

Silicon Power’s P34A80 is a top-end performer at entry-level prices. At just $0.11 per GB, the 1TB model we tested screams value. While rated endurance isn't great, it's backed by a long 5-year warranty.

For

  • Speedy performance
  • Competitive prices

Against

  • No software toolbox support at the time of writing
  • Lower endurance than the competition

Power Up Your Storage

Silicon Power has saddled its latest SSD with the fairly generic moniker of PCIe Gen3x4, so we'll be referring to it by part number, P34A80, instead. Today we’re testing the 1TB capacity and at this size, performance is quite impressive. With rated 3.4/3 GBps sequential read/write speeds, this snappy little guy will speed up your system without a doubt, and it's cheaper than most of its competition.

Silicon Power P34A80 SSD (
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware))

Silicon Power’s P34A80 features Phison’s E12 NVMe controller, paired with Toshiba’s BiCS3 64L TLC NAND flash. Just as with many of the SSDs we have seen with this combination of components before it, like the the MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro, the P34A80 is quite the capable device. Aside from the impressive rated sequential speeds, it also sports up to 390K and 450K IOPS read and write on our 1TB sample.

The P34A80 is available in capacities from 256GB to 1TB at this time. The company has a 2TB SKU, which Silicon Power says will be available sson. At 109.99 for our 1TB sample, or just $0.11 per GB, this drive is quite affordable. The 512GB and 256GB models aren't that much pricier, at $0.12 and $0.15 per GB respectfully. At these prices, the Silicon Power P34A80 simply screams value, and should be a top consideration if you're concerned about balancing speed and price.

The Silicon Power drive comes with all the performance you could ask for from a high-end TLC based SSD, and  at a similar cost to those QLC based SSDs like the Intel SSD 660p and Crucial P1. What’s not to love?

Well, in order to bring such low prices to the market, there were some corners that Silicon Power cut. Luckily for consumers, there are no deal-breakers. While not officially stated on their website at this time, the P34A80 does come with endurance ratings. Typically, we would expect endurance ratings of ~380TBW, 800TBW, and 1700 TBW for the 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB Phison E12 powered devices. But Silicon Power seems to be more conservative in their ratings.

Specifications

ProductP34A80 256GBP34A80 512GBP34A80 1TBP34A80 2TB
Pricing$37.99$59.99$109.99N/A
Capacity (User / Raw)256GB / 256GB512GB / 512GB1024GB / 1024GB2000GB / 2048GB
Form FactorM.2 2280M.2 2280M.2 2280M.2 2280
Interface / ProtocolPCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3
ControllerPhison E12Phison E12Phison E12Phison E12
DRAMDDR4DDR4DDR4DDR4
NAND FlashToshiba BiCS3 64L TLCToshiba BiCS3 64L TLCToshiba BiCS3 64L TLCToshiba BiCS3 64L TLC
Sequential Read3,400 MB/s3,400 MB/s3,400 MB/s3,400 MB/s
Sequential Write3,000 MB/s3,000 MB/s3,000 MB/s3,000 MB/s
Random Read170,000 IOPS290,000 IOPS390,000 IOPSN/A
Random Write240,000 IOPS510,000 IOPS450,000 IOPSN/A
EncryptionAES-256 / PyriteAES-256 / PyriteAES-256 / PyriteAES-256 / Pyrite
Endurance125 TBW250 TBW500 TBWN/A
Part NumberSP256GBP34A80M28SP512GBP34A80M28SP001TBP34A80M28SP002TBP34A80M28
Warranty5-Years5-Years5-Years5-Years

The 256GB model is rated for up to 125TBW, and this figure doubles as capacity doubles, meaning 250 TBW on the 512GB model and 500 TBW of endurance on our 1TB model. This is low for a TLC drive, but most don’t write more than 20GB-30GB of data a day to their devices, so running out of endurance isn’t as likely as you running out of warranty time first. Speaking of which, the Silicon Power P34A80 comes backed by a 5-year warranty, rather than a 3-year warranty like some of the other Phison E12 based SSDs we have reviewed recently.

As well, the P34A80 boasts standard features like S.M.A.R.T. data reporting, TRIM, and support for Format NVM /secure erase commands. The P34A80 also supports AES-256 and Pyrite encryption features, but does not come with OPAL or Windows BitLocker support.

Software and Accessories

Silicon Power has an SSD toolbox available for download on their website. You can use it to monitor your device's health, performance, and even secure erase. But at the time of writing, V3.0.1.0 doesn’t seem to support the P34A80.

A Closer Look

Silicon Power’s P34A80 comes in an M.2 2280 form factor. Our 1TB sample is double-sided, meaning components are on both sides of the PCB. Unlike most M.2 SSDs out now, the PCB isn’t black, instead, it is blue. The company threw a dark sticker over top of the drive, but with a scan code and other distracting elements on it, it is well…rather distracting. Something labeling the opposite side would easily remedy.

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As mentioned earlier, the Phison E12 NVMe controller is powering this SSD and there are four Toshiba BiCS3 NAND packages in all. Also, there are two 512MB DDR4 DRAM package for the controller to use for caching the File Translation Layer (FTL). Once formatted in Windows, the end user has 953GB of free space to use.

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  • zaphod_
    It seems Silicon Power is grossly conservative with the endurance rating. Similar drives have dramatically higher published endurance ratings. I would assume the same nand and same controller would have the same, or very similar, endurance. This is indeed the case with other E12/bics3 nand drives. The BPX Pro and MP510 are identical hardware with over-provisioning have ~1700TBW/960GB. Inland Premium (Microcenter house brand) is same hardware without any over-provisioning has a 1600TBW endurance for a 1TB drive.

    Its hard to believe the Silicon Power P34A80 has less than a third of the endurance of other drives featuring the exact same hardware.

    Where does the meager 125TBW/256GB endurance rating come from? It doesn't appear that Silicon Power published an endurance number on their website.
    Reply
  • zaphod_
    Sabrent Rocket is another budget E12/bics3 drive with a rating of 1665 TBW/1TB.
    TEAM GROUP MP34 is also rated at 1665 TBW/1TB.

    Five other drives with the E12/bics3 all have 1600+ TBW for a 1TB class drive.
    Hard to believe that the Silicon Power only has 500TBW/1TB
    Reply
  • seanwebster
    zaphod_ said:
    It seems Silicon Power is grossly conservative with the endurance rating. Similar drives have dramatically higher published endurance ratings. I would assume the same nand and same controller would have the same, or very similar, endurance. This is indeed the case with other E12/bics3 nand drives. The BPX Pro and MP510 are identical hardware with over-provisioning have ~1700TBW/960GB. Inland Premium (Microcenter house brand) is same hardware without any over-provisioning has a 1600TBW endurance for a 1TB drive.

    Its hard to believe the Silicon Power P34A80 has less than a third of the endurance of other drives featuring the exact same hardware.

    Where does the meager 125TBW/256GB endurance rating come from? It doesn't appear that Silicon Power published an endurance number on their website.
    I would guess that it has to do with limiting their liability. The endurance ratings come directly from the company after my inquiry.
    Reply
  • zaphod_
    It seems quite likely the Silicon Power endurance information is erroneous. How could one explain that of the six drives mentioned, all with Phison E12 controller and BICS3 NAND, five have 1600+TBW ratings and one has a 500TBW rating. Logic would suggest the 500TBW rating is simply wrong.
    Reply
  • veegee24
    zaphod_ said:
    It seems quite likely the Silicon Power endurance information is erroneous. How could one explain that of the six drives mentioned, all with Phison E12 controller and BICS3 NAND, five have 1600+TBW ratings and one has a 500TBW rating. Logic would suggest the 500TBW rating is simply wrong.

    I contacted their tech support, they said the 2TB model has an endurance of 3115TB.
    Reply