2018 was the year of the LED. At Computex this last June, PC lighting was all the rage. Pricing for the technology has plummeted, and that allowed companies to add lighting to existing products with minimal expense. The latest victim to join motherboards, DRAM modules, and other components are storage products.
T-Force, the gaming division of Team Group (think HyperX in relation to Kingston), released the first RGB (Red, Green, Blue) lit SSD. The company has several models so you can choose the right technology (5v or 12v controlled as well as uncontrollable USB Power) to match your existing lit components. That also makes the buying decision much more difficult as competing RGB standards don't enjoy common compatibility.
This Delta RGB focuses more on the lighting than pure performance. It sports mainstream SATA performance numbers but at the same time delivers the niche feature without gouging your wallet. Adding to the overall value, the company also ships matching T-Force branded Delta RGB DDR4 memory. Both the SSD and system memory ship in cool white or black design to accent your windowed gaming system or custom built.
You need a flow chart to break the T-Force Delta series down. There are technically three series, Delta, Delta S, and Delta R and we will break each down in the next session. For each subset, there are three capacities, 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB. The madness doesn't stop there, each of those nine models ships in a black or white chassis, so that makes a grand total of eighteen product SKUs.
The drives use the Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2258 controller, the same found in the Crucial MX500 we often praise. The difference is in the flash. The Delta RGB uses Micron's 32-layer TLC memory, and the MX500 uses the newer 64-layer memory. It might not sound like much of a difference, but we still consider the 32-layer the worst flash memory ever used in products.
To be fair, companies like T-Force have had time to learn more about 32-layer Micron TLC and improve it through the controller. The Delta RGB has the best implementation of the technology we've tested, but it's impossible to get around the low queue depth random read performance that was an inherent problem with this memory.
The Delta RGB still produces up to 560 MB/s sequential read and 510 MB/s sequential write performance. Random performs comes in at 90,000 reads and 85,000 writes.
Pricing, Warranty, And Endurance
Pricing varies between the different models slightly. There are three LED types, two chassis colors, and three capacities. Expect to spend between $60 and $70 for the 250GB models. The 500GB drives sell between $70 and $80, a far greater value than the smaller drives. The largest in this series, the 1TB drives, sell for $130 to $140.
Team Group doesn't list any endurance criteria for the Delta series but does back the drives with a 3-year warranty.
A Closer Look
As we mentioned, there are three different versions of the Delta RGB series SSDs. T-Force sent us the 5V version that is addressable. This is the most advanced. You can use software to control the pattern. Sadly, all of my motherboards with RGB use the 12v power system. The Delta S model would have been a better choice for my systems.
The Delta RGB uses a case design that is thicker than most consumer SSDs. The lighting would be lost in a notebook, and there isn't a guarantee it would actually fit. It's best to use this series in a desktop with a window or other similar feature so you can actually see the RGB magic working.
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