Tom's Hardware Verdict
Team Group’s T-Create Expert is a responsive, high-endurance NVMe SSD that offers up near unparalleled reliability for content creators, but its enterprise-grade TLC makes for a costly purchase.
Large SLC cache
Heat spreader included
Lacks AES 256-bit encryption
Limited capacity range
May throttle under heavy load without airflow
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With a high-speed PCIe 3.0 x4 controller, enterprise-grade TLC flash, and a 12-year warranty, Team Group’s T-Create Expert delivers respectable performance and boasts incredibly high endurance figures that put some of the Best SSDs on the market to shame. Due to its impressive endurance, the company positions this SSD as the best consumer NVMe SSD for Chia Coin mining. Enterprise-grade TLC isn’t cheap, though, so it'll cost you a pretty penny if you want one of these ultra-endurant SSDs.
Chia Coin farming has exploded in just a few short months, and with that, so has the demand for high-performance and high endurance NVMe SSDs for plotting. Chia plotting is taxing due to its heavy write and mixed workloads, so we typically recommend enterprise-grade SSDs for the task. However, Team Group is singing a different tune. Instead of dissuading Chia farmers from purchasing their SSDs, Team Group has begun marketing its drives to them.
Unfortunately, many Chia farmers still use standard consumer-grade hardware, and some vendors are going as far as to void the warranty of SSDs used for Chia plotting, while others are having mixed thoughts. In contrast, even though Team Group initially designed the T-Create Expert for content creators with heavy multi-media file manipulation workloads, the company now claims it is the best NVMe SSD for Chia plotting.
|Product||T-Create Expert 1TB||T-Create Expert 2TB|
|Capacity (User / Raw)||1024GB / 1024GB||2048GB / 2048GB|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280||M.2 2280|
|Interface / Protocol||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3|
|Memory||Micron 64L eTLC||Micron 64L eTLC|
|Sequential Read||3,400 MBps||3,400 MBps|
|Sequential Write||3,000 MBps||3,000 MBps|
|Random Read||180,000 IOPS||180,000 IOPS|
|Random Write||140,000 IOPS||140,000 IOPS|
|Endurance (TBW)||6,000 TB||12,000 TB|
Team Group’s T-Create Expert is available in two capacities of 1TB and 2TB at $430 and $830, respectively, meaning the SSDs are twice as expensive as standard M.2 NVMe drives. The company rates the Expert to deliver 3.4/3 GBps of read/write throughput and sustain up to 180,000/140,000 random read/write IOPS through the use of SLC caching.
The high endurance ratings and warranty duration certainly stand out from the crowd. Team Group rates the 1TB model to endure up to 6,000TB of writes while the 2TB model is rated for up to 12,000 TB of writes within a staggeringly long twelve-year warranty period. Surprisingly, the T-Create Expert ships with very little factory over-provisioning at just 7.4%. Still, thanks to Silicon Motion’s special mix of LDPC ECC and high-grade flash, these SSDs can handle tons of wear and keep going.
A Closer Look
The Team Group T-Create Expert comes in an M.2 2280 double-sided form factor, restricting it in some mobile applications that call for a single-sided design. It should fit in most desktops, though. It also features a grey heat spreader over the controller to help keep it cool, and the black PCB is a plus. Two small activity LEDs on the PCB blink during use, one blue and one red.
Team Group’s T-Create Expert leverages Silicon Motion’s SM2262EN PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD controller. This NVMe 1.3-compliant SSD is an older design at this point, but it should still deliver responsive performance under most consumer workloads. It leverages dual ARM Cortex R5 CPU cores, along with an eight-channel architecture for enhanced interleaving. It interfaces with DRAM to accelerate FTL layer access, too.
The controller is clocked at 625 MHz, while the two 8Gb Micron DDR3L ICs operate at 800 MHz. The controller features ASPM, ASPT, and L1.2 support for low power consumption at idle. It will also thermal throttle to prioritize data protection at high temperatures exceeding 75 degrees Celsius. The drive supports Trim and comes with S.M.A.R.T data reporting capability, but lacks AES 256-bit encryption.
The company has opted to use Micron’s FortisMax high-endurance enterprise-grade 64L TLC flash, which is rated to handle 10,000 P/E cycles or roughly 3-6x more endurance than your standard consumer-binned flash. This is part of why this SSD is so expensive. Sixteen 512Gb quad-plane dies are spread across four NAND packages, each operating at 650 MTps.
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Sean is a Contributing Editor at Tom’s Hardware US, covering storage hardware.
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If someone gave you 100TB of storage for free already filled with chia plots, it would still take over 3 months to break even on the 1TB SSD in the review. Unless it's just disposable income to entertain you, there is no reason to invest any money in Chia farming.Reply
Wait a week or two and it might even become true for 200TB of storage already filled up with plots :)Reply
Complete waste of time for virtually everyone except those who got in within first month and sold everything immediately.