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ADATA XPG S50 Lite 1TB PCIe Gen4 X4 M.2 NVMe SSD Review

Every now and then we keep hearing about new technological breakthroughs in the PC industry. Sometimes it’s CPUs, sometimes motherboards, RAM, sometimes Graphics Cards, Chassis, Coolers, and so on. Honestly speaking, storage is one component where there hasn’t been fast-paced innovation. At least not until the recent few years. Even today conventional Hard Drives are still relevant. All isn’t gloomy though. In the past decade, Solid State Storage has revolutionized Storage dramatically.

Nowadays we cannot imagine building PCs without SSD. It has slowly yet steadily become an integral part of modern computers and day by day they have started becoming a necessity rather than being a novelty. This has happened because storage bottleneck had started becoming evident with compute performance be it with CPU or GPU improving by leaps and bounds. To keep these monsters well fed to keep crunching data, there is a necessity for very fast storage.

The revolution started with SATA SSD but has slowly started moving away from it and towards NVMe storage which offers even better performance.

As many of you might be aware, the latest buzz in the market is that PCI Express Generation 4 SSD drives offer almost twice the performance as compared to their predecessors.

What we have today with us is ADATA XPG S50 Lite 1TB PCIe Gen4 X4 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD. This is a new cost-effective SSD launched recently by ADATA. Although the faster Gen4 drives are quite expensive, these new slower but cheaper Gen4 drives hope to offer a perfect balance in terms of performance and cost.

Let’s get on with testing and analyzing the performance of this drive.

Unboxing:
Bare basic packaging. You get the SSD firmly secured in a molded plastic tray packaged in a cardboard box.
Closer Look :
The SSD sports a thin aluminium heatsink which has the XPG logo and few slashes here and there etched into the heatsink for aesthetic appeal branding.

The SSD is based on Silicon Motion’s latest SM2267 PCIe Gen4 4 Channel controller. This Drive has DRAM caching which should ensure decent performance.

Key Points-
  • ADATA's official spec sheet on the product page claims Max 3900 MB/s Sequential Read and 3200 MB/2 Sequential Write performance.

  • The operating temperature is rated 0-70c.

  • MTBF = 2,000,000 Hours

  • 1480 TBW Max

  • 5 Years Limited Warranty

  • M.2 2280 form factor

  • DRAM Cache

Test Methodology:
Test setup:
  • AMD Ryzen 9 5900X (12Core/24Threads)

  • Asrock B550 Taichi Motherboard

  • Gskill TridentZ 3600MHz CL16 8GBx2 DDR4 RAM

  • Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 4GB Graphics Card

  • Windows 10 X64 Pro

  • Latest Drivers, BIOS, firmware, etc.

AS SSD, Anvil’s Storage Utilities, Crystal Disk Mark Benchmarks used. Passive and Active Cooling for SSD used while benchmarking. SSD Temperatures were monitored in real-time with K-Type Probe throughout the testing.

It is a well-known fact that NVMe Drives can get toasty under heavy load and that can eventually affect the drive’s performance. To find out how much impact heat has on overall performance, we performed all benchmarks with and without active cooling for the SSD. The performance analysis graphs include both the figures for easier comparison.

Max temperatures with active cooling.
Benchmarks :
In Anvil Storage Benchmark, it is seen that up to 4GB Test data size, the performance delta between active and passive cooling isn’t very big but from 8GB onwards, things change drastically. Heat starts taking a toll on the drive’s performance.
A similar observation is made during AS SSD Benchmark. As the Data size increases, heat causes a big dent in the drive performance.

The pattern continues with Crystal Disk Mark. With Active cooling, the drive performs very well and almost achieves manufacturer claimed performance figures.


Observations & Conclusion :
  • This is the first PCIe Gen4 SSD which is comparatively cheaper than prevailing options for Gen4 Drives.

  • The objective is clear, bring Gen4 technology to the masses but there are caveats.

  • The geeks will notice that the claimed performance of this drive is almost slightly better or almost equivalent to Gen3 top performing drives. So this might make one wonder as to what is the benefit of buying this over a tried and tested Gen3 drive?

  • The ultra-thin Heatsink (Or is it just a sticker?) does not do even a half-decent job of cooling when there isn’t much active cooling. The problem is the majority of the motherboards have M.2 Slots in such a position that getting almost perpendicular airflow over the drive is next to impossible.

  • The temperature-specific observations bring us to another aspect to be kept in mind while building PCs, pay very careful attention to overall airflow through the chassis. Overall airflow in a particular system is going to determine how VRM, SSD Heatsinks are going to be cooled to ensure optimal performance without thermal throttling.

  • We believe that if ADATA provides a better heatsink at a marginal cost increment, it will ensure the driver does not thermal throttle and the user achieves good sustained performance at the same time ensuring a longer life for the drive.

  • Since the drive is so new, it would not be wise to jump to conclusions whether it is a smart decision to buy these over top-end Gen3 drives or vice versa. We believe future firmware updates should polish performance even more. We would like to wait for some time and reserve our opinion till then.

Considering the price of 13,000/- inclusive of GST and the overall performance we have seen in this testing, the drive makes a strong case for itself and earns our Bronze Award.



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