Early last month we reviewed Adata’s newest SATA 6Gb/s contender in the enthusiast market segment, the XPG SX930. Utilizing a JMicron controller and premium MLC NAND, it delivered good performance at a decent price point. Today we are going to shift gears and take a look at their latest entry level SATA 6Gb/s SSD, the Premier SP550. The Premier SP550 is the first retail product we have come across with the Silicon Motion SM2256 controller since our initial preview back in February. Furthermore, it boasts SK Hynix TLC NAND, which is also a first for us. We are hoping to see an improvement in the SM2256’s performance now that the firmware has been finalized, so today’s results may be quite interesting to see. Can the Premier SP550, utilizing this new controller and TLC combo, deliver? Let’s find out.
SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING, AND AVAILABILITY
The Premier SP550 is a SATA 6Gb/s 2.5″ 7mm form factor SSD. It is currently available in capacities of 120GB ($60), 240GB ($80), and 480GB ($170). A 960GB model will be coming however. Its performance is rated for up to 560MB/s read and 510MB/s write for both the 240GB and 480GB models, however, the 120GB model is only rated for up to 410MB/s write. In terms of IOPS the 240GB and 480GB models are rated for up to 75K IOPS read and write while the 120GB is rated for up to 60K read/70K write.
It features LDPC ECC Technology as well as a RAID Engine & Data Shaping to help extend the flash endurance. The 120GB and 240GB models are rated for up to 90TBW while the 480GB is rated for up to 180TBW and the 960GB model doubles that for a rating up to 360TBW. It has SLC caching to help with performance and supports DevSleep. Besides that, it comes with a 2.5mm disk bay spacer you can use if needed.
Overall warranty length is 3 years, which is standard of their drives.
Also, just as for their other SSDs, you can download Adata’s SSD toolbox to quickly and conveniently configure, optimize, and monitor your drive. Also, you can download Acronis True image HD off their website as well to aid in migrating your OS to your new SSD.
PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS
As this is an entry level product, the packaging is pretty bland compared to its higher-end brother, however, there is still a see through window that allows you to see the drive on the front.
Once disassembled we can see that they did not included a thermal pad to help distribute heat into the shell off the controller. During our testing runs the controller reached up to 63C, which isn’t too bad considering the drive is fully stressed.
Overall, there are 8 NAND packages on our 240GB model with room for another 8. The NAND is supplied by SK Hynix. Each package is 32GiB in capacity for a total RAW NAND capacity of 256GiB. Since the usable capacity is 240GB, we can see that it is over provisioned by ~7%. The total usable capacity once formatted in our system is 223GiB.
There is also a single DRAM chip and controller. The DRAM chip is a Samsung made 256 DDR3 chip. The controller is the new SM2256 controller as we mentioned before. Specifics on this controller can be read in our controller preview analysis here.