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Must Have MyDigitalSSD SBX Series NVMe M.2 SSDs Earn Best Value Award

Must Have MyDigitalSSD SBX Series NVMe M.2 SSDs Earn Best Value Award
Category: MY Computing News
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Synopsis: TweakTown's Jon Coulter benchmarks the full MyDigitalSSD SBX M.2 NVMe SSD lineup to see how each capacity compares to the Intel 600P and more.

TweakTown Storage Editor Jon Coulter takes his turn at reviewing and benchmarking MyDigitalSSD's Super Boot eXpress (SBX) PCIe 3.0 x2 NVMe M.2 solid state drive series (128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB), comparing their performance to other entry-level drives, namely the Intel 600P (128GB/256GB/512GB), ADATA XPG SX8000 (512GB), and Plextor M8SeGN (256GB).

Highlighting speeds of 1.6GB/s max read and 1.3GB/s max write, Coulter explains the value the SBX offers as an alternative to similarly priced SATA drives:

"MyDigitalDiscount's SBX series M.2 NVMe SSDs are much faster than any SATA SSD. To this point, the one thing SATA had in its favor was lower cost per gigabyte of storage than NVMe could offer. Now MDD's SBX is challenging SATA on the price front as well."

"MDD's SBX is following in the BPX' footsteps. Like the BPX was at the time, MDD's SBX is currently the lowest cost NVMe SSD on the market. The SBX represents the first time we've seen NVMe SSDs priced similarly to SATA."

Coulter also points out that while the SBX is only a 2-lane PCIe SSD, the Phison E8 (PS5008-E8) controller helps deliver better performance and power efficiency than a some 4-lane competitors.

"Phison designed their E8 controlled SSDs to primarily compete with the likes of Intel's 600p Series. The SBX is designed to not only be cheaper than Intel's 600p, but at the same time deliver better performance despite being only a 2-lane device. "

"MDD's SBX is a Gen3 x2 NVMe SSD. Having 2-lanes instead of four like we typically see, means that the SBX is more power efficient than most 4-lane SSDs. It is also cheaper. The other side of the coin is that with only 2-lanes, the SBX doesn't deliver sequential performance that is as high as we are used to seeing from most 4-lane NVMe SSDs."

"However . . . MDD's SBX is no slouch on the performance front. In-fact, the SBX actually outperforms many 4-lane SSDs currently on the market."

Bench Testing

Diving into performance testing, Coulter notes the majority of testing is performed with the test drive as the boot volume at 75% full for all OS Disk "C" drive testing to replicate a typical consumer OS volume implementation to, essentially, determine how each drive stands up to everyday use.

Using Anvil Storage Utilities to measure storage performance, the MyDigitalSSD SBX series stands tall.

"The SBX performs as intended, easily beating Intel's 600p at all capacity points despite a 2-lane disadvantage." Coulter adds, "At higher queue depths, the SBX comes on strong even beating out the SX8000 and M8SeGN."

Moving on to CrystalDiskMark to accurately benchmark 4k and 4k queue depths, Coulter sees some fight from SBX competitors.

"Focusing in on QD1 and QD4, we find the SBX outperforming all of our contenders with the exception of the M8Se." He continues, "This time, Intel's 600p gets the better of the SBX at QD1 and QD4. However, if we shift our focus to sequential, the SBX leaves the 600p in the dust."

Turning to AS SSD to determine sequential and random read and write performance, the SBX continues to impress Coulter:

"AS SSD is a demanding test, and somewhat surprisingly, the SBX handles it with ease. Both the 512GB and 256GB SBX give us our 2K minimum and then some. The 128GB SBX does almost as well as the 512GB 600p. Excellent performance here."

Looking at raw performance, PCMark Vantage shows the difference in scoring a drive has between empty, filled, and steady states.

"Focusing in on steady-state performance, we see that at every capacity point, the SBX outperforms Intel's 600p. It even manages to do better than ADATA's SX8000."

Coulter notices similar results for PCMark 7 geared towards system storage.

"Exactly what we observed with Vantage. At every capacity point, the SBX outperforms Intel's 600p. and, this is with a 2-lane handicap. Again, the 512GB SBX outperforms the 512GB SX8000."

Considered the best indicator of a drive's performance, PCMark 8's moderate workload simulation leaves little doubt to the SBX's abilities.

"This is an outright win for the SBX. The 512GB model performs significantly better than the contenders in our test pool. Absolutely top-notch performance from a 2-lane SSD. This is where it matters, and this is where the SBX is delivering the goods."

Measuring disk response times, Coulter uses Iometer and notices a familiar theme play out.

"The 512GB 600p manages to eek out a win in write response, but that's it. Other than that, the SBX dominates the 600p. Take a look at read response, which is more important than write response. Both the 512GB and 128GB SBX are delivering the goods better than the M8Se and the SX8000. We consider this a win for the SBX."

Finally, Coulter looks at SBX transfer rates by moving a 28.6GB block (9,882 files in 1,247 folders) composed primarily of incompressible sequential and random data from his Toshiba RD400 to each test drive. In doing so, Jon notices the biggest gap in MyDigitalSSD SBX and Intel 600p performance yet.

"This test reveals our biggest beef with Intel's 600p front and center. Look at the write transfer rate. It's slower than some mechanical HDDs. This means that if you are transferring a large block of data like a game, the 600p is slower than some mechanical HDDs. Now look at how much better the SBX does. It's even better than our 4-lane Plextor contenders."

In Conclusion

Does the SBX M.2 accomplish what MyDigitalSSD and Phison hoped it would in creating affordable, high-performance NVMe upgrades that could challenge SATA pricing? Coulter thinks so, stating:

TweakTown Must Have: Best Value Award

"The SBX isn't the only E8 powered SSD on the market. Kingston's A1000 is another. Both the SBX and the A1000 perform identically, but the A1000 is priced much higher than the SBX. And with the SBX you get full drive capacity. This means not only is the SBX much cheaper than the A1000, you get between 8 and 64GB more capacity from MDD's SBX."

"Looking back at our results, it's clear that Phison did deliver a 600p killer as they hoped to accomplish - despite a 2-lane disadvantage. Cheaper and faster wins every time. Not only is the SBX faster than the 600p it is also faster than WD's first generation Black PCIe SSD. Additionally, if we use our PCMark 8 results as a marker, the SBX is faster than ADATA's SX8000 and Plextor's M8Se at the same capacity points."

"So, what do we have in MyDigitalDiscount's SBX? An NVMe SSD that is priced like SATA but delivers up to 3x the performance of SATA. Win. The SBX is faster, cheaper and more enduring than Intel's popular 600p. Win. The SBX is faster than many 4-lane NVMe SSDs. Win. The SBX comes in the most popular form-factor - a single-sided M.2 x2280. Win."

All that said, Coulter recognizes that user experience is ultimately what matters most to consumers and the MyDigitalSSD SBX delivers in that department as well.

"It is noticeably more responsive than anything SATA has to offer. That's important because SSDs like the 600p actually do not deliver a user experience that is better than the best SATA has to offer. We are happy with our user experience while running the MDD SBX as our system disk, which is why MyDigitalDiscount's SBX is TweakTown Recommended. "

Dubbed a must-have, the MyDigitalSSD SBX NVMe M.2 SSD series takes home TweakTown's Best Value Award with a 99% score for value, as Coulter summarizes:

"The only NVMe SSD on the market that is priced like SATA. And it's fast."

Read the Full Review

Click here to read the full review on TweakTown.com (Link opens in a new window)

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