Uber-fast NVMe storage for 20 cents per gigabyte? That’s what Adata’s XPG SX8200 Pro delivers. Of course, NAND prices have dropped recently, but until now that’s only been reflected in performance-challenged (on long writes) budget drives. The SX8200 Pro is an NVMe drive that rivals top-rated Samsung’s 970 Pro in performance but is significantly cheaper.
- Design and specs
- Extraordinary value
Design and specs
The Adata SX8200 Pro is a 2280 (22 mm wide, 80 mm long) form factor M.2 drive using 3D (layered) TLC (Triple-Level Cell/3-bit) NAND marshalled by a Silicon Motion SM-2262EN controller. It’s a full four-lane PCIe 3.0 implementation, not two lanes like many other bargain-priced NVMe SSDs such as Kingston’s A1000.
There’s a DRAM cache on board (an unspecified amount, likely 512MB), secondary cache to the tune of approximately 1.2 percent of capacity, and a tertiary cache that can expand up to approximately 15 percent of capacity. That has a lot to do with the drive’s performance, though it’s no slouch when it runs out of cache either.
About the only outstanding physical characteristic is the logo’s heat spreader, which the company includes in the package. It’s unattached, but thermal adhesive is already applied so it’s an easy mod to make. It’s not necessary to the long-term health of the drive, but a nice touch.
The SX8220 Pro is available in three capacities: 256GB (currently about $75 on Amazon), 512GB (currently about $120 on Amazon), and the 1TB we tested, currently about $215 on Amazon. Wow. Note that I tested only the 1TB version, the less capacious models will have less cache and garner lower numbers. Speaking of which…
I took Adata’s claim that the SX8200 Pro would perform on a ,par with, or better than the top-rated Samsung 970 Pro with several very large grains of salt. Well, dye my hair red and call me Harpo—Adata wasn’t kidding. It competes extremely well with the 970 Pro until you write a very large amount of data. Even when it runs out of secondary or tertiary cache, it writes at a crisp 1GBps. I’ve seen NVMe SSDs drop as low as 450MBps off of cache.
You’ll see the 1TB SX8200 Pro in the light blue bars compared to the aforementioned 1TB 970 Pro and Intel’s 960GB 905P, a fantastically long-lived and fast, but extremely expensive competitor. CrystalDiskMark 6 ranked the SX8200 Pro as performing roughly on a par overall with both those drives.