ADATA has memory products for all sections of the market, from consumer to industrial. As of late they have released a new consumer SSD, the XPG SX930. It is marketed towards the gamer and overclocker crowd at a pretty competitive price point. With a revamped package and aesthetic design the SX930 should stand out much better than with their typical styling. The XPG SX930 features a new controller by JMicron and what they state is enterprise-grade MLC+ NAND. So, today’s review is going to be quite interesting as we get to see what this new combination has in store.
SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING, AND AVAILABILITY
The ADATA XPG SX930 is a SATA 6Gb/s 2.5″ 7mm form factor SSD. It is available in capacities of 120GB ($64.99), 240GB ($109.99), and 480GB ($199.99), however, there isn’t a 960GB variant. This leaves something to be desired because most other companies have a 1TB class SSD in their enthusiast level product lines. The lack there of a 1TB class model isn’t their fault entirely, it is really due to the new controller’s limitations.
The XPG SX930 is the first SSD in the market with the JMicron JMF670H controller, which is a 32-bit single core ARM9 based design and supports 4 channels. If you recall, another value oriented controller, the Silicon Motion SM2246EN, is a 4 channel controller as well and it supports up to 1TB capacity. So why doesn’t this one? The issue lies with the amount of DRAM it can address. Current NAND mapping tables require about 1MB of DRAM per 1GB of NAND. This controller can only support up to 512MB of DRAM, therefore it can only support up to 512GB of NAND. It won’t be until their next generation controller that we will see support for up to 2GB of DRAM or 2TB.
On the bright side, however, similar to many other SSDs nowadays, this new controller and NAND combo enables ADATA the ability to implement a pseudo SLC cache for better performance. The SLC cache sizes are as follows: 4GB (120GB model), 8GB (240GB model), and 16GB (480GB model). Overall, performance figures are relatively mainstream with the 120GB and 240GB models offer sequential speeds of up to 550MB/s read and 460MB/s write while the 480GB model offers up to 540MB/s read and 420MB/s write. In terms of IOPS the XPG SX930 is capable of up to 75K IOPS read and 72K IOPS write.
All the standard features such as TRIM, SMART and NCQ support, and garbage collection are here. This SSDs deploys BCH ECC of 72 bits per 1KB in case you were wondering as well. The MTBF rating is 1.5 million hours and it weighs in at just 68g, which is a bit lighter than a lot of other drives. ADATA also has a toolbox you can use to monitor the drive, diagnose it and even run system optimizations with. You can even go to their website and download Acronis True Image HD to migrate over your old drive to this new SSD for free!
PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS
Before we begin our testing we shall take a quick look at what this product has to offer. Looking at the packing it is obvious that they are orienting this SSD around the gamer crowd with its black packaging and fire orange decal.
Included with the SSD is a 2.5″ to 3.5″ desktop adapter and a 2.5mm spacer to use in laptops if required. Besides that, there is also a set of screws and a quick start guide.
The overall design is quite pleasing to the eye. It has a black lacquer brushed metal finish that could win any enthusiast over.
Once disassembled we can see that the SX930 doesn’t have thermal pad on the controller to help dissipate heat as many other SSDs do, so we will monitor the temps as we test to ensure that it doesn’t get too hot. We can see that it features a single controller and DRAM combo along with four packages of NAND across a half sized PCB per all capacities.
Speaking of NAND, ADATA bins and packages their NAND in house. This means they can set aside the best NAND for these SSDs to provide better quality and reliability to the end user. The “enterprise-grade” MLC+ NAND in this drive is actually 16nm 128Gbit MLC from Micron. This results in a longer 5-yr warranty vs 3-year warranty. While endurance numbers aren’t provided, the NAND is stated to be good for up to 3,000P/E cycles.
The total usable capacity once formatted is 111GB for the 120GB model, 223GB for the 240GB model, and 447GB for the 480GB model. Finally, we get to the DRAM module, which is a Nanya DDR3 package. The smaller 120GB and 240GB models have a 128MB and 256MB chips, respectively, while the 480GB model has a 512MB chip.