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Almost since their inception portable Flash based solid state storage devices have fallen into roughly one of two camps: cheap yet ultra-portable drives that are known to be slowpokes, and those that may be larger and cost noticeably more per GB but are USB bus saturating speedsters. Recently we took a long hard look at the Crucial X8 series and walked away very impressed with what it had to offer. That model did indeed blur the lines between the two camps and made it a lot easier to have 1TB worth of portable performance in your pocket. Seagate however begs to differ on what it takes to bridge the divide and has released a new One Touch SSD series which promises to do what no ‘high performance’ model has done to date: be nearly as portable as a thumb drive, nearly as fast as high performance drives and do both while not costing a fortune. Full Review Please Retweet, comment and Like Please Like, Comment and Share
As time marches on, more and more mainstream buyers are starting to opt for multiple Solid-State Drive based storage solutions instead of the more ‘classic’ SSD+HDD configuration. This in turn has created a demand for SSD’s that are fast enough, large enough, and above all else inexpensive enough to serve as secondary storage devices. For those with a need for speed these secondary storage orientated devices are NVMe and not SATA based. NVMe options may typically cost noticeably more, but the performance benefits are tangible to say the least. We say ‘typically’ as recently Silicon Power became aware of this emerging market and created a newer, more value oriented, addition to their M.2 NVMe line – the P34A60 series. Today we will be reviewing the $55 512GB capacity option. As the name suggests this new A60 series is not intended to replace the slightly more expensive A80 series. Instead it is meant to compliment that series and create a more cohesive line up for Silicon Power. One where they have you covered regardless of your specific needs – be they price, small file performance, large file performance, or even just capacity. This complimentary philosophy is why the A60 series does not make use of PHISON controller, nor Toshiba BiCS 3 NAND… nor even onboard RAM cache. Instead these higher performance components have been swapped out for more budget friendly options. Make no mistake the A60 series still offers performance well in excess of what SATA based drives can do. These components are still very good… they just do not cost as much to use as their P34A80 series counterparts. This is why this new series is within grasping distance of the mythical 10 cents per Gigabyte milestone. To be a bit more precise the NAND is still TLC 3D NAND, it just is IMFT 3D TLC NAND not BiCS3 TLC NAND. This NAND is a touch older and thus a touch less expensive, but it is not lower performance QLC (4-bit) NAND like its main competition the Crucial P1 series makes used of. On the NVMe controller side of the equation, the Phison E12 has been substituted for a Silicon Motion SM2263XT controller. As we will go over in this review, this choice of a DRAM-less controller has many side-effects. Some of them good, some of them… not so good. The end result though is certainly interesting, and certainly ‘outside the box thinking’ for late 2019. Read Full Review
Gigabyte may not be as well known for their Solid-State Drives as their video card or motherboard models, they indeed been offering entry and mainstream SSDs for quite some time now. In the past they were SATA based only storage solutions, but their offerings now run the gamut from entry level SATA based models (the UD series) to mainstream NVME (Aorus RGB NVME) to even cutting edge PCIe 4.0 based models (Aorus NVME 4.0) models. Today we will be paying careful attention to their middle option. To be precise we will be putting the Aorus RGB 256GB capacity model under the microscope. Before we start, and to be crystal clear this is not a review sample sourced via Gigabyte, rather is a bought and paid for drive by a close personal friend… and why it is the smallest capacity 256GB option not the 512GB model. Regardless of how it was sourced, this is this particular model was chosen as it is offers a rather enticing list of features without really any price premium over the competition’s version. For example, it is a PHISON E12 NVME controller-based model that makes use of Toshiba’s tried and true BiCS3 TLC NAND. If this combination sounds familiar… that is because it is. This is a combination that has proven itself time and time again to be both powerful and yet reasonable in its build cost. What is however unusual is Gigabyte has not only included an integrated heat spreader but also bestowed upon it RGB lighting abilities which are fully customizable and controllable via the M.2 port itself. This actually marks one of the first times the marketplace has seen fully controllable RGB LEDs integrated into a M.2 form-factor. Yes, there have been numerous examples of single color (the most obvious example being Intel’s Optane 905P series) and even multi-colored RGB LEDS in a pre-set/pre-defines pattern (which Plextor became… infamous for). So, this is indeed a big deal. However, going hand in hand with these value-added features is the fact that the price premium is almost non-existent. Right now the 256GB capacity Aorus RGB M.2 NVME SSD routinely sells for $60. This within $5 dollars of what Silicon Power’s E12 based models demand (which do not come with a heat spreader, nor LEDS), and is about $3 less than Western Digital’s Black SN750 500GB drive – which comes with a heatsink but no LEDS. Needless to say, on paper the Gigabyte Aorus RGB NVMe SSD series does have a lot going for it. Let’s see what Gigabyte has done (and not done) in order to offer such a seemingly great bargain. Full Review Twitter Facebook