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Phison E26 B58R 1,600MT 2TB SSD Preview - PCIe Gen5 storage is here

Just as they were with PCIe Gen4, Phison is once again the first to bring PCIe Gen5 SSDs for mass consumption. 10,000 MB/s, oh yeah!

Phison E26 B58R 1,600MT 2TB SSD P - PCIe Gen5 storage is here
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Introduction & Drive Details

As we've alluded to on many occasions, we think Phison Electronics is the most forward-thinking SSD company in the world. As we see it, Phison's well-earned reputation as being the most forward-thinking SSD company on the planet began its evolution back in September of 2019, with Corsair's Force Series MP600.

Corsair's MP600 was the first consumer PCIe Gen4 SSD available for mass consumption. Powered by Phison's PS5016-E16 PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe controller and arrayed with BiCS 96-Layer flash, this first-of-its-kind SSD immediately became the fastest consumer SSD on the planet.

Phison's next milestone and what cemented in our minds that Phison is indeed the most forward-thinking SSD company in the world, occurred back in June of 2020 when Sabrent brought forth the world's first 8TB consumer M.2 NVMe SSD, the Rocket Q 8TB. Once again, Phison was at the core of bringing forth another world's first.

Okay, so here we are yet again with Phison demonstrating that it is the most forward-thinking SSD company in the world, and this time it's coming for us at 10,000 MB/s. Phison's PS5026-E26 is the first ready-for-primetime PCIe Gen5 controller to make its way into our lab.

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As we can see from the above data sheet obtained from Phison's website, its PS5026-E26 or "E26" controller, as its commonly referred to, is offering up double the throughput available via PCIe Gen4 at up to 14,000 MB/s. Impressive.

Now, as it is with any controller, actual throughput is wholly dependent upon the flash it is controlling to achieve its full throughput potential. This is why Phison is again partnering with Micron, who's newly minted 232-Layer flash is the most advanced of its kind in the world.

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World's highest layer count at 232-Layers. World's first 6-plane production TLC with an independent word line on each of the six planes and read-concurrency executing multiple simultaneous data reads. These are unprecedented capabilities for mass production NAND. Micron B58R is architecturally capable of up to 2,400MT throughput, which is what it will take to achieve the E26's full throughput capability of 14,000 MB/s.

As it stands at this moment in time, Micron's game-changing 232-Layer flash has only manifested itself to us at 1,600MT, which is not even the fastest speed flash we've come across to date. The 7th Gen V-NAND that arrays Samsung's 990 PRO is even faster at 2,000MT. However, throughput is one thing, and architectural superiority is another, and this is where Micron has a definitive edge, as was demonstrated clearly when we reviewed Micron's 1,600MT 232-Layer B58R arrayed 2550 SSD last month.

Okay, so back to the subject of this preview, the world's first PCIe Gen5 consumer SSD. Our Phison E26 controlled test subject is indeed arrayed with 1,600MT B58R flash, which means throughput is limited to about 10,000 MB/s. This is the first iteration of Micron's 232-Layer flash, and it is what will array the first round of retail E26-controlled SSDs to be brought forth through Phison's partners, such as Sabrent and Corsair, among others. Phison informed us that our test subject is sporting semi-finalized firmware and that the results obtained will be in line with what its initial retail units will deliver.

Drive Details

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PCIe Gen5 moves data at double the rate of Gen4, resulting in, among other things, more heat to tame. The increased heat is currently being mitigated by integrated active cooling atop a substantial heatsink. It's very effective, and we expect that retail units will incorporate similar cooling apparatus.

We did test thermals utilizing the M.2 heatsink integrated onto our X670E AORUS Master motherboard and found that passive cooling, if substantial enough, can do the job effectively enough. Active cooling kept temps below 50c, passive to 65c. Even at 65c, no thermal throttling was observed, so active cooling is not necessarily a requirement.

Jon's Test System Specifications

Intel Test System

AMD Test System

Because we at TweakTown like to be first at everything whenever we can, we will present our storage performance results for the test subject on both 13th Gen Intel and 7000 Series AMD platforms going forward for the foreseeable future. Because Intel still delivers the best real-world storage performance, (Look Here), our running chart will continue to be Intel-based until AMD can deliver better real-world storage performance than its rival.

Buy at Amazon

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus-G 2TB Advanced Gaming M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

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* Prices last scanned on 1/31/2023 at 12:51 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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We employ CDM as our standard measurement for both sequential throughput and Q1T1 random read. Sequential throughput numbers come in right at 10,000 MB/s read and write for both platforms. This is an Impressive 36% more throughput than we've ever attained from a consumer SSD. Typically, we see AMD being able to extract a couple hundred MB/s more sequential throughput than Intel, but not this time, as the flash speed is the limiting factor here as opposed to the controller, interface, or platform.

As always, when evaluating synthetic performance, we are most interested in the Q1T1 random read. 102 MB/s here is the best ever for a Phison-controlled SSD. Impressive, especially when we consider that our test subject is arrayed with 1024 Gbit flash putting it at an inherent capacity-induced latency disadvantage compared with 512 or 256 Gbit flash.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

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We did expect to see a higher score here, but QD1 128K seq and QD16 4K random reads are holding back the score somewhat. Nevertheless, plenty good enough and, again, the best ever for a Phison-controlled consumer SSD.

We employ Anvil's random read test as our standard for measuring max random read IOPS. This test is very accurate as it at its core is Iometer skinned over. We test at QD128. Although not chart-topping, this is an impressive result considering it is 60% higher than any Phison-controlled SSD has been able to deliver. Even more impressive considering the flash that arrays our E26-controlled test subject is running at the same speed (1,600MT) as the next closest Phison-controlled SSD, Sabrent's Rocket 4 Plus-G 2TB.

ATTO

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As expected, our test subject sets the bar for sequential 128K at QD4.

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

Transfer Rates

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Our 100GB data transfer test is not your ordinary 100GB of data. Ours is a crushing mix composed of more than 62K files. Write performance random or sequential, is an infrequent operation, and as such, we do not consider it to be an important performance metric in the consumer space. An example being how many times is a game installed vs. how many times it's played.

Results here are actually better than expected for 1024Gbit flash.

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Unlike programming (writing) data, serving data to the host (reading) data is always an important performance metric. Here again, our test subject does it at a higher level than ever before. Impressive.

3DMark SSD Gaming Test

UL's newest 3DMark SSD Gaming Test is the most comprehensive SSD gaming test ever devised. We consider it 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.

This is performance that matters, not some meaningless synthetic metric, and our test subject demolishes everything previous. Do you want the fastest gaming SSD on the planet? This is it.

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.

Our jaws dropped back when Samsung's 990 PRO laid waste to everything that had come before it, and we are similarly floored with our test subject doing the same to the 990 PRO. Wow.

PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark

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This test has always been Phison's true nemesis. For reference, look at what the Kingston Fury Renegade 2TB scores; a paltry 3,683. Well, nemesis no longer, as our test subject absolutely owns it, again delivering a new lab record for a flash-based SSD. Micron's new flash is so good that it enabled Phison to vanquish its nemesis. Congratulations.

Final Thoughts

Phison's forward-thinking mindset has paid dividends, especially this time around. This time the result is Phison having, for the first time, a valid claim as the purveyor of the world's best-performing flash-based consumer SSD. This is impressive in its own right and becomes even more so when we consider this is the first of the product line and it is arrayed with 1024 Gbit, 1,600MT flash.

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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 13K (previously 12K) or more to verify an SSD as a TweakTown Elite performer. Historical here for Phison, as this is the first time any Phison-controlled SSD has appeared at the top of this chart.

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It's the fastest consumer SSD we've ever tested, but far more important than that, it is the best-performing flash-based SSD we've ever tested. What do we mean by that? Simply stated, 10,000 MB/s is meaningless without the real-world performance to go along with it. There are plenty of instances when a 5,000 MB/s SSD outperforms a 7,500 MB/s SSD. It's a rare occurrence indeed when one SSD is the fastest and simultaneously the best performing. Right now, this is it.

Buy at Amazon

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus-G 2TB Advanced Gaming M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$299.99$299.99$299.99
* Prices last scanned on 1/31/2023 at 12:51 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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