The ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 (512GB) SSD Review: Entry-Level NVMe With Styleby Billy Tallis on October 25, 2017 8:30 AM EST
The ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 is a M.2 NVMe SSD with very enthusiast-oriented branding and packaging, but it isn't even close to being ADATA's top NVMe SSD. Instead, it's a derivative of their entry-level XPG SX7000 M.2 NVMe SSD, adding only a heatspreader. Underneath, the SX7000 and the GAMMIX S10 both use Micron 32-layer 3D TLC NAND with the Silicon Motion SM2260 controller. This combination is also used in the Intel SSD 600p, which has been one of the cheapest NVMe SSDs on the market.
The Silicon Motion SM2260 controller is their first NVMe SSD controller. SMI's initial aspirations for the controller were high, but it has instead found its niche as the cheap but slower option. The SM2260 was the first NVMe controller to offer a turnkey firmware solution for use with Intel/Micron 3D NAND. That allowed Silicon Motion to win back some market share from from Phison, whose controllers including the PS5007-E7 NVMe controller are largely tied to Toshiba NAND. This is an important distinction as Toshiba's 3D NAND has yet to make an appearance in any third-party SSDs. For SSD vendors that source both NAND and controllers on the open market, Silicon Motion and Micron have been the only 3D NAND option for the past year.
The Intel/Micron 32-layer 3D NAND flash memory was the second 3D NAND to ship in volume (after Samsung's V-NAND), and the first to be widely available on the open market, as Samsung uses most of their flash for their own SSDs. Micron's 3D NAND has proven to be slower than Samsung's, but reasonably power efficient when paired with the right controller. It is also fairly cost-effective, and SSDs with Intel/Micron 3D NAND have been dominating the value SSD market for more than a year.
A new generation of Silicon Motion NVMe controllers has been announced but is still months away from being ready to hit the shelves. The 64-layer Intel/Micron 3D NAND has seen a very limited release in the Intel 545s, but the flash used by the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 can't be replaced yet. Meanwhile, ADATA is now able to buy Micron's 32-layer 3D NAND by the wafer and do their own binning and packaging. As their top TLC SSD, the GAMMIX S10 is likely equipped with the highest grade of 3D NAND that goes into ADATA's consumer drives.
|ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 Specifications|
|Capacity||128 GB||256 GB||512 GB||1 TB|
|Controller||Silicon Motion SM2260|
|NAND Flash||Micron 384Gb 32L 3D TLC NAND|
|Form-Factor, Interface||M.2-2280, PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.2|
|Sequential Read||660 MB/s||1370 MB/s||1750 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||450 MB/s||820 MB/s||860 MB/s||850 MB/s|
|Random Read IOPS||35K IOPS||70K IOPS||130K IOPS|
|Random Write IOPS||95K IOPS||130K IOPS||140K IOPS|
The specifications for the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 are typical for an entry-level NVMe SSD. The 128GB model has severely reduced performance potential due to not being able to populate every channel of the controller with NAND flash chips, while the 512GB and 1TB models offer about the same performance. Despite having a PCIe 3.0 x4 link that is capable of almost 4GB/s, the GAMMIX S10 won't even hit 2GB/s. ADATA doesn't officially list write endurance, but the five-year warranty is a step up from what most entry-level SSDs offer, even in the NVMe market segment.
The heatspreader on the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 keeps to a fairly low profile, but isn't just a single sheet of metal. The main body of the heatspreader is red, and there's a recessed section down the middle that holds a black insert. On the underside of the heatspreader, this leads to thermal compound only being used on the outer edges of the heatspreader, and it makes very little contact with the controller itself. This heatspreader isn't purely cosmetic, but it will cool the drive much less than a first glance suggests it should.
The GAMMIX S10 is a double-sided M.2 card, with some DRAM, NAND flash, and smaller components on the back. Smaller capacities than our 512GB sample may omit the DRAM package on the back.
This review will compare the 512GB ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 against a variety of NVMe and SATA SSDs. The closest competitors are mostly other NVMe SSDs using TLC NAND, so those drives have been highlighted in the bar charts.
|AnandTech 2017 SSD Testbed|
|CPU||Intel Xeon E3 1240 v5|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty E3V5 Performance Gaming/OC|
|Memory||4x 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR4-2400 CL15|
|Graphics||AMD Radeon HD 5450, 1920x1200@60Hz|
|Software||Windows 10 x64, version 1703|
|Linux kernel version 4.12, fio version 2.21|
- Thanks to Intel for the Xeon E3 1240 v5 CPU
- Thanks to ASRock for the E3V5 Performance Gaming/OC
- Thanks to G.SKILL for the Ripjaws DDR4-2400 RAM
- Thanks to Corsair for the RM750 power supply, Carbide 200R case, and Hydro H60 CPU cooler
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futrtrubl - Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - linkDisappointing.
jabber - Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - linkWhy? You wouldn't notice if it could do 3500MBps either.
futrtrubl - Thursday, October 26, 2017 - linkBecause it does less but costs more. What isn't disappointing about that?
jabber - Thursday, October 26, 2017 - linkYeah but it looks much fancier so to the average Joe that's worth another $30! It's a strategy that Apple has used and been praised for for decades. Performance means nothing to the computing masses. It's just those of us on IT forums that care.
FullmetalTitan - Thursday, October 26, 2017 - linkNo "average Joe" is even looking at NVMe SSDs.
This costs double the price of a GOOD SATA SSD, and frequently fails to even meet that performance level.
jabber - Thursday, October 26, 2017 - linkYou'd be amazed at what I see 'Average Joe's buy. Shocking at times.
"Why did you buy...that?"
ddriver - Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - linkThat's some pristine engineering idiocy right there, having the heatsink make contact with only a small part of the chip area deliberately.
ddriver - Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - link"GAMMIX" - more like "gimmix" LOL
rrinker - Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - linkI saw that skipped right to the conclusion for the (predicted) disappointing results. If they screw up the engineering for the sake of appearance like that, I was sure the rest of it would be disappointing as well.
ddriver - Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - linkThe thing is that the heatsink is protruding between the adhesive pads, so it presumably makes contact with the chip, however without any thermal interface material it is likely that the heatsink severs to insulate and worsen thermal performance than to improve it.
Probably it is a mix of both, yielding somewhere between barely improving to barely "detrimenting" thermal performance, making it mostly a pointless gimmick.
Like everyone else, ADATA is well aware how low average consumer IQ is, thus attempting to make this fly.
On the bright side of things, adding some thermal paste would easily make the cooling solution functional. Although I doubt the product performance will get any less pathetic because of that. They didn't put that heatsink there because it is throttling as a side-effect of being very fast. They put it as a cosmetic feature, that much is evident from the clumsy implementation.