Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB SSD Preview - Size Matters

We've seen glimpses of it and have lusted over it for obvious reasons, now we have a pre-production sample in hand for testing.

@JonCoulterSSD
Published Tue, Dec 28 2021 8:08 AM CST

Introduction & Drive Details

For serious storage enthusiasts, the SSD we have on our test bench today just might be the most eagerly anticipated of all time. The reason this SSD is considered by some of us to be the holy grail of consumer NVMe storage isn't for the usual reason; being the fastest, it's more about capacity than anything else. After all, as Sabrent has single-handedly taught us all, capacity is KING.

Now, this SSD isn't the first consumer-focused 8TB M.2 NVMe SSD offering. That distinction belongs to another SSD in Sabrent's unparalleled storage portfolio. Sabrent's 8TB Rocket Q NVMe hit the scene in June 2020 and as we see it, established Sabrent as a leader in consumer solid-state storage. Unprecedented for a fledgling SSD retailer.

So here we are, the first of the review community to get their hands on this holy grail of consumer NVMe storage right as its impending arrival was being announced by an official Sabrent video a few days ago (seen above). Why all the excitement? After all, it's not the first 8TB M.2 NVMe SSD to hit retail channels. However, it is the first of its kind in aspects that are paramount for storage enthusiasts and prosumers alike. Sabrent's newest is the first consumer 8TB M.2 SSD with a Gen4 interface, and some would argue even more importantly, the first 8TB consumer NVMe SSD arrayed with TLC flash.

Capacity is King, but the same could be said for throughput for various reasons. If it's throughput that you are after, the new King has plenty to offer, as demonstrated by this benchmark run on our AMD test bench:

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In terms of throughput, at 7,456 MB/s, Sabrent's 8TB Gen4 TLC behemoth can deliver all the Gen4 x4 interface has to offer. Along with capacity, throughput like that is exactly what prosumers require for most modern workloads, not to mention this baby is absolutely the ultimate luxury upgrade for PS5 aficionados.

As you might imagine the SSD, we've got on the bench today is a modern engineering marvel. As with Sabrent's first 8TB M.2 SSD, the Rocket 4 Plus 8TB is a collaborative effort with Phison Electronics. Sabrent's know-how and partnership with Phison, has, as we've seen for two years now, brought forth unprecedented consumer storage devices, both in terms of capacity and performance.

Up to now, we've only seen retail Phison E18 based SSDs arrayed with either 96 Layer or 176 Layer Micron TLC flash. The 8TB Rocket 4 Plus, however, is arrayed differently than its older siblings. The 8TB model is arrayed with 1024Gbit BiCS 5 112 Layer flash. Employing 1024Gbit die enables a full 8TB RAW capacity (8,192 GB) with eight 8-die flash packages. Come to think of it, with 8,192GB RAW (unformatted) capacity, the 8TB Rocket 4 Plus offers close to 200GB more usable capacity than its cousin, the 8,000GB QLC based 8TB Rocket Q NVMe. True 8TB capacity, we like that.

Drive Details

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We got ahold of this drive before factory specs or even retail packaging had been finalized. As such, we are estimating throughput and random performance based on our testing. These specs may differ from Sabrent's official stated factory specs when published. As always, when you buy a Sabrent SSD, it comes with valuable complimentary software, including a copy of Acronis for Sabrent and Sabrent's award-winning Rocket Control Panel SSD management software. You can get Sabrent's Rocket Control Panel here.

Use Rocket Control Panel to download Acronis and other Sabrent complimentary SSD management software. Be sure to register your Sabrent SSD via the Rocket Control Panel to activate a limited 5-year warranty, the limitation being TBW (Total Bytes Written). Without registration, Sabrent warrants its SSDs for 1-year, so be sure to register your Sabrent SSD. We estimate the 8TB Rocket 4 Plus will carry a TBW rating of between 5 and 7 petabytes.

Jon's Test System Specifications

Buy at Amazon

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 4TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

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* Prices last scanned on 1/27/2022 at 7:23 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO

CrystalDiskMark

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As we move to our Intel Alder Lake test bed, we find the 8TB Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus delivering the fourth-best throughput, when serving data to the host, we've measured with our Z690 system. Impressive. Now just as 1024Gbit flash enables massive capacity, it does come with some inherent limitation. That limitation? Higher random read latency as demonstrated by a 4K Q1T1 throughput of 66 MB/s. We note it's exactly the same as the first Gen4 SSD on the scene, the Phison E16 powered MP600, which is coincidentally is also arrayed with BiCS flash.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

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A total read score of 9,555 lands the BiCS arrayed 8TB Rocket 4 Plus right in there with E18 SSDs arrayed with 96 Layer Micron flash. Looking at max random read IOPS, we again observe the random read latency penalty incurred with 1024Gbit flash. Got to give some to get some.

ATTO

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QD4 128K sequential write performance for the 8TB Rocket 4 Plus is the lowest we've recorded for a high capacity E18 SSD. However, it's still upper echelon when compared to non-E18 SSDs. QD4 128K sequential read throughput is much more important than write, and here we find the 8TB Rocket 4 Plus delivering as good as it gets. Excellent.

Real-World Testing: Transfers, 3DMark SSD Gaming Test, PCM10 Storage

Transfer Rates

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Again, we can draw an analogy to E18 SSDs arrayed with 96 Layer flash, because as we've seen so far, our BiCS powered 8TB test subject performs almost identically.

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Our 8TB engineering sample (ES) delivers the second-best read transfer rate we've extracted from an E18 based SSD running on our Z690 platform. Impressive.

3DMark SSD Gaming Test

UL's newest 3DMark SSD Gaming Test is the most comprehensive SSD gaming test ever devised. We consider it to be superior to testing against games themselves because, as a trace, it is much more consistent than variations that will occur between runs on the actual game itself. This test is, in fact, the same as running the actual game, just without the inconsistencies inherent to application testing. In short, we believe that this is the world's best way to test an SSDs gaming prowess and accurately compare it against competing SSDs. The 3DMark SSD Gaming Test measures and scores the following:

  • Loading Battlefield V from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Call of Duty Black Ops 4 from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Overwatch from launch to the main menu.
  • Recording a 1080p gameplay video at 60 FPS with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) while playing Overwatch.
  • Installing The Outer Worlds from the Epic Games Launcher.
  • Saving game progress in The Outer Worlds.
  • Copying the Steam folder for Counter-Strike Global Offensive from an external SSD to the system drive.
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Gaming is a performance metric that matters to the majority of DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. A score of 3,680 is surprisingly good when considering the performance tax levied on random read performance by 1024Gbit flash. Again, our test subject finds itself right in there with the 96L E18 SSDs, actually slightly better. Outstanding. Performance that matters.

PCM10 Storage Tests

PCMark 10 Storage Test is the most advanced and most accurate real-world consumer storage test ever made. There are four different tests you can choose from; we run two of them.

The Full System Drive Benchmark and the Quick System Drive Benchmark. The Full System Drive Benchmark writes 204 GB of data over the duration of the test. The Quick System Drive Benchmark writes 23 GB of data over the duration of the test. These tests directly correlate with mainstream user experience.

PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark

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This particular test writes 204GB data and covers a broad range of common consumer tasks, including booting Windows 10, file transfers, Adobe and Office applications, and startup times for games including Battlefield V, COD Black Ops 4, and Overwatch. Unlike synthetic numbers, this is comprehensive real-world data which is why we use it to rank SSDs in terms of user experience.

This is actually a decent result, better than we were expecting from an SSD arrayed with 1024Gbit flash anyway. Again, the 8TB rocket 4 Plus is grouped more or less with the 96L E18 SSDs. At this point, we feel comfortable in saying this SSD, in its current form, performs overall the same as its 2TB older sibling when it first launched. We expect the 8TB model will get faster as firmware gets refined, just as the 2TB model did.

PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark

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We were hoping that being paired with a BiCS flash array would help overcome the E18 controllers' aversion to this benchmark in a similar manner to what we see from E16 controlled SSDs arrayed with BiCS flash. This is where E16 based SSDs outperform E18 based SSDs, and in this respect, BiCS 5 hasn't moved the needle. At least not 1024Gbit BiCS 5. We still consider this an anomaly of sorts as it relates to E18 controlled SSDs.

Final Thoughts

So, is it the new King of SSDs? Overall, despite our heavily weighted tendency to prioritize user experience above all, its throughput, TLC flash, and unparalleled capacity compel us to declare it such. As we've explained before, there comes the point where capacity takes the lead as the primary factor related to user experience, provided the SSD can also deliver throughput at Elite levels. Sabrent's 8TB Rocket 4 Plus does just that, and therefore we consider it worthy of the title.

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We rank SSDs in terms of overall user experience (performance where it matters most) as expressed by PCMark 10 storage and 3DMark gaming storage tests. We consider a user experience score of 11K or more to verify an SSD as a TweakTown Elite performer. While not TT Elite in terms of user experience, it's still the new King of SSDs simply because it is the one SSD we would choose above all others.

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Well, the time is neigh. The King of SSDs will be available in retail form very soon. The drive, even in ES form, gives us extreme satisfaction. That kind of satisfaction that can only come from owning the best there is and knowing there is nothing else like it. At its expected price point, Sabrent's 8TB Rocket 4 Plus will be quite the investment, but as we see it, worth every penny.

Pros

  • Capacity
  • Throughput
  • Gaming

Cons

  • Random Read
Buy at Amazon

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 4TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$749.99$749.99$749.99
* Prices last scanned on 1/27/2022 at 7:23 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Jon joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new storage products. Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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