Adata is well-established and leading storage-solution provider in the world. Offering memory units and storage devices, Adata set a new standard of design and beauty of PC component in addition to quality consumer-grade products. The prominent product line from Adata comprises SSD, RAM and portable HDD. However, since 2002, Adata has been releasing the gaming product incorporates NVMe SSDs, DRAMs under the umbrella of XPG, a sub-brand of Adata that has been doing exceptionally well. Not to mention the high-performance NVMe Gammix S10, S11 Pro and the latest Spectrix D80 RAM kit, which genuinely built for devoted gamers and overclockers, are the best portfolio of the company right now. The Gammix series NVMe M.2 drives are quite a fame, but frankly the budgeted SX series SSDs making its impact in the consumer market perfectly well. Adata XPG has recently launched one of the fastest SX8200 Pro PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD.
Today, we are taking a look at the Adata XPG SX8200 PRO 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD. The drive equipped with 3D NAND TLC Flash memory and support NVMe 1.3 ensuring speedy performance and greater reliability out of the box. Having to interface protocol of M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3x4, the SSD not only fulfilling the modern standards but leverages the rapid PCIe Gen3x4 Interface by offering read/write up to 3500/3000 MB/s. The intelligent SLC caching and DRAM cache buffer allows reducing the response time, which essentially makes an SSD suitable for gamers and professional editing workloads.
The SX 8200 Pro series comes in four different capacities: 256GB, 512GB, 1GB and 2TB. We do not see the latest one in the market yet, but the first three models are readily available on stores.
- Ultra-fast PCIe Gen3x4 interface: R/W speed up to 3500/3000MB/s
- NVMe 1.3 support 512GB 3D NAND Flash for higher capacity and durability
- Advanced LDPC ECC Technology
- SLC Caching and DRAM cache buffer
- E2E Data Protection and RAID Engine
- Compact M.2 2280 form factor – ideal for gaming and high-end desktops
The Package and the Content:
The SSD comes in a black, cardboard box having content across the sides. The front area has a brief overview of the product. The SSD is pictured in the middle of the box. A new thing that we can witness here is the newly added brand symbol declares “extreme gaming performance” product. The symbol especially denotes the extreme performance of the product is just a new induction to the XPG products. The website also now displays the same logo on the front page at the top. So with this trend, we’ll expect this logo to be appeared on future gaming products, too.
The backside is populated with multilingual content on left, while on the right is the barcode sticker, a look-through rectangular window for SSD. A tiny icon showing 5 years’ warranty takes our attention is located right next. Finally, the safety and product certification can be seen bottom of the box.
The SX8200 PRO 256GB SSD
Inside the box, we found an SSD itself firmly bed on a plastic tray, a typical packaging standard for SSDs and DRAMs. Alongside, a DIY heatsink to be used as a heatsink or heatspreader on SSD. Honestly, we never thought of anything except a naked M.2 SSD, but this DIY heatsink is a bonus for us. The overall package is extremely lightweight with 08-gram weight. The part number is ASX8200PNP-256GT-C, SX8200PNP 256GB COLOR BOX.
A close look:
The NVMe SSD appears as a gum stick style drive with fully black PCB. The black one is trendy and portrays the standard of gaming-outlook these days. The top of the PCB carries small heatsinks; two big and one smaller next to it, are in black. The extreme right has a heatsink appears in a silver colour scheme. One side of the SSD provides an NVMe M.2 interface that bridges the M.2 interface protocol located on the motherboard. The divider separates 5 gold pins confirms the NVMe M.2 is an M-Key type. Well, there are different cut designs that distinguish one from another.
The mSATA can be identified with a small form factor and a cut on the right specifically designed to be used with 3.0 link speed of 6Gb/s. The M.2 SATA SSD with 2-cut design comes in three different sizes 2240, 2260 and 2280. The engineers have given the SSD special Keyed character, in this way, M.2 SATA SSD has three sets of key i.e. B, M and B+M, which can be installed on both B-keyed and M-Keyed interface.
On one of the side, the M.2 NVMe SSD has a single cut M-Key design, allows to use interface of M-Key only. While there is endless information regarding M.2 based SSD’s physical design, we are only focusing on the one we have in question.
The other end of the stick has a half-cut design in the middle assists screw lock on the motherboard, a standard design for any NVMe M.2 SSD. We don’t see any screw inside the box, but that’s not an issue here, as you will probably get one pre-installed on the motherboard. So we will be using the one we have on the motherboard.
Even without heatsink, the drives offer a decent showcase. The combination of black and silver heatsinks gives a good touch to the aesthetics. Our drive has two NAND flash packages and in the middle with one smaller DRAM cache block for standard contribution to the drive performance. Examining the silver-plated heatsink/heat spreader, which underneath a standard SM2262EN controller packs with performance, which utilizes Nanya DRAM cache to maintain the performance consistency. This SMI controller is the latest to Silicon Motion, was being first used in HP EX950 NVME M.2 SSD. The SM2262EN is a PCIe NVMe Gen 3.1 x4 lane, 8-channel SSD controller, while the first one was SM2262 being used in Intel 760P NVMe SSD. The XPG SX8200 Pro leveraging the SM2262EN controller for faster and improved performance. This new version of the SM controller is being used for the first time in Adata’s retail product. Before that, there was SM2262 controller that happened to operate in a retail SX8200 series. For the reference SM2262EN controller is also found in Intel 660P.
The backside of the stick shows a huge XPG sticker contains information being printed on it along with the barcode, and underneath are a couple of Micron 64-Layer 3D TLC NAND placed. Our 256GB sample has a 256GB DRAM cache spread across the faces. The drive has a usable capacity of 238GB after formatting. Alongside, the NANYA based DDR3 DRAM Cache with 64-layer Micron’s TLC memory, which might not be available on all the SSDs. We know that TLC is triple-level-cell, which technically stores 3bits/cell a 50% increase from MLC (2bits/layer).
In the box, we also discovered the XPG heatspreader. A black heatspreader with pre-applied thermal pads underneath that will be utilized on SX8200 Pro to help to bring down the operating temperatures a bit, not sure though, how much it will be effective, especially when it comes to heavy operations like large file extractions, heavy stress benchmarks. We’ll test the drive and see if this could effectively work for SSD.
The drive looks splendid even without having a shield on it. The black PCB and silver plated SMI controller enhance the look on the drive.
On the other hand, the DIY heatsink absolutely perfect, not to mention the XPG and extreme-performance logos on black heatsink added some good notch to the overall aesthetics.
Adata SSD Toolbox:
Just like Samsung Magician tool, Adata is also supervising with their personalized built SSD Toolbox. It offers drive info on the main page. Initially, it supports all the storage drives installed in your system, but important notes like TBW is only available for Adata SSD models. The software displays Drive health and Estimated life remaining bars on the main interface. Not to mention the diagnostic and drive optimization for the SSDs having accuracy unclear. So it’s a good package for PC users. Having said that, the software is a bit slow and that is the most annoying part of our experience.
TLC NAND – Life Expectancy
The NVMe M.2 SSD when connects to PCIe x2 lane manufactures 15.1 GB/s, while going on PCIe x4 delivers 31 GB/s in general. The aforementioned are taken from some good M.2 2280 standard NVMe SSDs. Having said that, with today’s improvement in technology, PCIe Gen 3.1 x4 NVMe 1.3 drives are capable to boasts even 3500 MB/s read and 3000 MB/s write, which turns out quite impressive for PCIe NVMe drive. The latest 3D NAND with flash memory type distinguishing an SSD’s performance from another in terms of long lasting life and write endurance. Back in the days, companies focus more on engineer NVMe SSD having SLC flash memory (single-level cell) writes 1bit/cell, has more lifespan than any other NAND type to date. However, today, we mostly come across TLC based NAND flash memory built inside the SSD, houses even bigger capacity of even 2TB, with a tradeoff of lifespan compares to MLC and SLC. This shift has been made some years back and now almost all the companies are focusing more on NAND type TLC for their major lineup SSDs, whether it is 3D NAND or V-NAND. Moreover, whichever is the manufacturer, the durability and reliability have now been influencing the purchase decision even more than ever.
Technically, P/E (program/erased or write/delete) cycles worked out for an SSD that allows experts to form an equation on its life. For consumers, who are not aware of technicality of SSD life, the factors like P/E cycle, TBW/DWPD and capacity uniforms an estimation, it generally called life expectancy. Preliminary, a TLC NAND flash can be distinguished with its Program/Erased cycle number, which reveals that it can afford to deliver between 1000 to 5000 P/E cycle per cell. The P/E cycle tells about the data being written and deleted every day.
A general perspective about TLC; a 1000 P/E cycle and 10GB writes per day the drives last for something about 23 years (strictly conditioned to 10GB writes per day), most probably the rare cases where you write the same amount of data each day. Using DWPD one can estimate of data writes. So, if the size of an SSD is 256GB with 5 years warranty and DWPD is 0.34, that means your Drive writes per day is 0.34 or 34% drive capacity per day (that is 87GB). Consequently, about 160TB cumulative write before you may need to replace it. The TBW can be monitored via supported software. Furthermore, cost reduction and capacity expansion are the key factors companies shifts from SLC/MLC to TLC in consumer grade SSD, turns out a premium product with Sky-High pricing becomes readily available to the consumer at a much affordable price range.
The XPG SX8200 Pro is a 256GB model TLC NAND type SSD offers a good endurance level. The Total-bytes/Terabytes written is 160TB, which is already a high TBW for any SSD to be achieved in 5 years. In fact, it is barely possible for general users and/or gaming enthusiasts to accomplish 160TBW. Alternative, a 160TBW is just the warranty number. Actual endurance tests have shown regular consumer grade drives to last to 750TBW and beyond, before actually starting to die from too many writes. This is not all SX8200 Pro has to offer, the above table shows the TBW increase with the capacity changes or increases; 512GB TBW at 320TB and 1TB is doubled with 640TB. Therefore, the bigger drive you get, the better the TBW you’ll expect.
Data Protection and Reliability:
The performance numbers aside, durability and reliability have been relatively influenced factors and there are no doubt consumers are now even more interested in housing their PCs with something that they could rely on for data storage/transfer for the long run. Having NVMe/PCIe 1.3 Gen3x4 support and fastest 3500/3000 MB/s, the SX8200 PRO series also packaged end-to-end Data Protection and ECC (Error-correcting code) latest technology, LDPC (Low-density parity code), which ensure error-free and accurate data to be stored in a storage unit. The errors are temporary inaccuracy sometimes occur during P/E cycle. Subsequently, that leads to improving PCIe NVMe drive to accurately transfer the data and further positively affects the SSD endurance and reliability. Having great confidence in SX8200 Pro, Adata comfortably grants its users a hefty 5 years’ official warranty backup to the consumers.
Road to QLC
The improvement in technology never stops, in the past, the new technology takes many years to arrive in the consumer market. However, today, the climax has significantly changed; the advancement now usually appears within a year or two. Here, we are bringing your attention to the newly introduced 64-layer QLC (4bits/cell), a 96-layer TLC has already been standardized in 2018, the feat of Intel and Micron. On the basis of that, Crucial has used 64-layer Micron’s QLC in their P1 PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD. The Samsung 970 comes with 96-Layer TLC, while QLC based NVMe SSD from Samsung’s mass production is underway and expected to be out in Q2 2019. What we expect from Adata XPG is no less than other high profile brands, and to the lineup, their new PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe M.2 SSD with 96-layer TLC and soon be upgraded to 64-layer QLC in new releases. Adata has already proved its excellence in SSDs by offering blazing fast speeds and effective TBW in S11 Pro series available at a very competitive price point.
- Gigabyte Z370X Gaming 5
- Intel Core i5 8600K 3.6 GHz (OC 4.5GHz)
- Gskill Trident Z White 16GB DDR4 3200 MHz CL16
- Sapphire RX 580 8GB GPU
- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
- SilverStone ST 650W Platinum PSU
- Deepcool GamerStorm Captain 240 PRO All-in-One Liquid Cooler (Reviewing Sample)
- Noctua NF-F12 3000 RPM (front intake)
- Corsair Obsidian 750D Full-Tower Case
- AS SSD 2.0v Benchmark
- Crystal DiskMark 6.0v Benchmark
- ATTO Disk Benchmark 4.0v
- Anvil Pro 1.0v Storage Utility
- File-Copy test (using Fast Copy)
- Decompression test (Winrar 5.50v 64bit)
We start off with checking out the SSD condition by error scanning the drive to ensure the drive is 100% in health before any test is conducted. The AS SSD and Crystal DiskMark benchmarks at the very first. Both the software are designed to output quick but effective results. The CDM and AS SSD benchmarks results are also advertised on Adata’s website where they claim a particular speed in SX8200 pro 256GB. In addition, the popular HD tune pro is taken into consideration for multiple tests. In the file-copy test, we used Fast-Copy program to analyze the average transfer speed and time. We set source location in SATA SSD and destination to sample NVMe M.2 SSD. In the final test, we decompress the files in the drive which reveals the time in seconds a drive takes to fully decompress or extract a .rar file. Lastly, we will also summarize the thermal observation on this drive.
We started off with the AS SSD 2.0v benchmark and we observed that the sequential read/write almost stand on the same line as being advertised on the company’s website. Practically, it managed to boast a 2924 MB/s Sequential read, while 1066 MB/s sequential write. We see the results are not very far behind, in fact, marginally close to the claimed figures.
In Crystal DiskMark 6.0.2v benchmark, the SX8200 Pro boasts 3502 MB/s sequential read achieving the advertised speed, whereas the other spectrum of the tests suggests that the sequential write slightly short a bit to the claimed one, but nevertheless, the manufactured results were nearly perfect. Therefore, it is safe to say that the SX8200 Pro is one of the fastest PCIe NVMe SSD in town.
The ATTO benchmark offers read and write speed in MB/s of different file size transfer. We took the default I/O size i.e. 512B to 64MB, and the file size is 256MB. In this benchmark, the SSD was maxed out with 3.15 GB/s, which is quite close to the advertised speed (3.30 GB/s). The SSD produced the max write speed 1.09 GB/s.
Moving to our observation, the SX8200 Pro has scored sequential read 2913 MB/s and scoring at 1110 MB/s sequential write. It looks like the drive has been leveraging the SM2262EN controller ensuring the performance level at fairly closest to the claimed ones. Nevertheless, it’s always satisfying to see a PCIe NVMe SSD to touches 3000 MB/s speed level.
PC Mark 8, a benchmark that follows the best of PC Mark 7. The benchmark deals with I/O segments of some 10 different activities. The importance of this benchmark is that the tests involve are the most demanding ones incorporates productivity, gaming and photo/video editing. In the end, the program brings the result in three segments: The sub-tests, the bandwidth and the final score. The Sub-tests produce the result in seconds, and the final score based on sub-tests.
For real-world demanding workloads, we set up a .rar file to ascertain the load time it takes to decompress a .rar format file. This is to help understands the speed variance as well as the ability of an SSD in performing in real-world workloads. Using WinRAR 5.50v, we decompressed a 12.4GB .rar file in sample drive. It showed that a drive can manage to decompress a 12.4GB Game setup in 43 seconds, precisely. It is quite interesting, especially when that compares to Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD, which unveiled the process compilation in 103 seconds or 1 minute and 43 seconds. subsequently, we took the various form of data contains word file, JPEG pictures, Music audio/videos which brings the total size of 1.70GB. subsequently, we put back the same 1.70GB files in a compressed form resulted in 90 seconds for sample SSD, while 97 seconds for Samsung 850 EVO.
In addition to the above decompression/compression test, we also manufactured results from a real-world application that incorporates File Copy to SX8200 and compared it with the personally owned Samsung 850 EVO 2.5” SSD. We took a game setup of Wolfenstein: The New order contains decompressing files of 31GB. Using Fast Copy program, we set the source Samsung 850 EVO and destination is SX8200 Pro SSD. The Fast Copy program showed the SX8200 PRO takes 61 seconds (1.01 minutes) to transfer a 31GB game setup at an average speed of 527 MB/s. Later, we reversed the direction by setting up SX8200 Pro as the source and Samsung 850 EVO destination, which took about 99 seconds (1.49 minutes) at an average transfer speed of 291 MB/s. The results are more than satisfying and completely favouring the sX8200 Pro.
Thoughts on Thermal Results:
We monitored the SX8200 Pro 256GB drive during the operations displayed above, especially during benchmark stress testing. In addition, our testing procedure comprises with and without heatsink. It was observed that the temperature during benchmarks under heavy application reached 71⁰C max. It is pertinent to mention that the drive was at its default condition i.e. Without heatsink and the workload is given to it was fairly adequate to stress out the M.2 drive. The optional DIYU heatsink is a bonus for consumers. We promised to show you the variation of the result with the included DIY heatsink, so we did. After installing the heatsink, we burned up the process again, which maximized the temperatures at 65⁰C, turned out the heatsink allowed to mitigate the temperature by 6⁰C. We were actually not expecting this big difference, however, what we monitored through HWiNFO 6.0v is plentiful. Note that, these temperatures are for 256 GB capacity only, the other models, 512GB and 1TB would produce variable thermal output. Under our testing procedure, the DIY heatsink proved as a solid Induction and we will definitely recommend every desktop user to install the included heatsink before using SX8200 Pro SSD.
Price: $57 US Dollar
- Superior read/write speed
- Newer and Faster SM Controller
- Highly affordable price
- Gaming heatsink
- 5-years warranty
- Software support
- Software is annoying; a bit slow
The XPG SX8200 Pro is the company’s latest addition and following the best of SX8200 and S11 Pro SSDs. The S11 Pro has almost a similar specification as the current SX8200 Pro. The Sx8200 Pro is a gum stick style drive packed with performance and wonderful outlook. SX8200 Pro turned out one of the best PCIe NVMe SSD in the market. With 3D NAND enabled flash technology, the SSD brings one of the latest standards of NAND flash, 64-layer TLC. Supports SLC caching and DRAM memory, the SX 8200 PRO offers faster and responsive boot times and much better loading times. Comes in various capacity models, ranges from 256GB, 512GB, 1GB and 2TB. Due to the vast variety of capacities, Adata has fulfilled most of the demands floating around the market. For data integrity, the drive is equipped with Advanced LDPC ECC Technology, which offers great security to the data saved as well as the accuracy standards by using LDPC Error Correction that incurs during P/E cycle.
The SX8200 Pro never let down with the numbers. As a matter of fact, the SX8200 Pro breaks the wall of 3000/3200 MB/s read, setting up a great example of high-performance PCIe NVMe SSD. The Crystal DiskMark 6.0v boasts a good 3502 MB/s on sequential read, while 1185 MB/s sequential write that pretty much what the 256GB model has claimed to be offered. The good thing is that the same has been advertised on the website (except the write speed, 1200 MB/s), which favours the company’s stance effectively. On the other end, the AS SSD benchmark manufactured a 2924 MB/s sequential read with a few MB/s behind to validate the company claim 100%. Nevertheless, the SX 8200 Pro is a strong contender for the PCIe NVMe SSD to occupy your Gaming PC.
Besides synthetics testing, we also worked out the real-world workload; we set the files for transfer from one drive to another using Fast Copy program. It gave us the transfer speed averaging 522 MB/s, while Samsung 250GB EVO 2.5” SSD in comparison only managed 219 MB/s. Evidently, the usage of WinRAR for extracting and compressing files is frequently, no matter what is the user category. So we wanted to show you about the real world outcome in that particular application. We took a compressed game setup of 12.4GB file for decompression, which sample drive decompressed in 43 seconds, while the same process took 93 seconds in Samsung 250GB 2.5” SATA SSD. Clearly, the PCIe M.2 making difference here plus, proving the excellence and significance of the technology.
The thermal performance of the drive is absolutely worth mentioning. First, we analyzed the thermals of SSD without heatspreader, which is its default appearance out of the box. The drive maxed out 71⁰C under the workload of Synthetics stress tests. That is quite standard for a naked NVMe M.2 SSD, no matter which manufacturer is representing it. Heatsink works as a bonus for the consumer as well as adds up a good selling point for the company. Surprisingly, during the stress test, the temperature of SSD maxed at 65⁰C, which is precisely a 6⁰C below. This is not everything this heatspreader or heatsink has to offer, the designing and gaming look on the heatsink is peculiar and absolutely perfect. The similar with even more stylish heatsink look has been seen on S10 and S11/S11 pro PCIe NVMe SSDs too. We must admit, Adata XPG makes/designs heatsink that firmly represents Gamers philosophy and for that, they have my big thumbs up.
Selling at $57 US Dollar on Amazon coupled with 5-years official warranty is a pretty damn good deal if you ask me, especially with such noteworthy performance out of the box. The SX8200 Pro 256GB model almost truthfully backing up the company’s claim and not to mention the DIY heatsink with its pure gaming outlook, has delivered effectively all-around performance. Also, the 1GB model is available in the market and according to the other reviewer, this SX8200 Pro 1GB model maxes out 3000 MB/s or very close to that on write spectrum that can be had in $164 US Dollar, is surprising yet presenting the best bang for buck product. Therefore, if you’re looking for SSD with faster read/write numbers, hefty warranty back up, aesthetics with no competitor, feature rich and all that in a seriously reasonable price range then look no further to it because SX8200 Pro purely matches or even exceeding your demands.
Thanks to Adata for providing SSD sample for this review