I'm not a big fan of 256GB class SSDs. In many cases, prices are too close to the 512GB models and performance is often significantly less from the next step up.
The ADATA SX8200 Pro is a different kind of SSD. We've shown that the 1TB, and later 512GB, models are the fastest true consumer SSDs shipping today. The drives break new ground in random reads and exhibit spectacular application performance. The question today is if the 256GB SX8200 Pro shows the same traits as the two larger models.
The series ships in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB capacities during the initial rollout. A large 2TB model will come to market in early 2019, but we don't have the full specifications for that model yet. You may have missed it since we breezed by so fast, but the SX8200 Pro doesn't use the same overprovisioning as the previous generation. When you buy the 256GB model you get it all and not just 240GB. Overprovisioning increases performance under heavy workloads but the SX8200 Pro is a consumer-focused SSD. ADATA optimized the drive for consumer tasks while still preserving as much space for your applications.
The specification performance comes in two tiers with the SX8200 Pro 256GB being the odd man out. It sports 3,500 MB/s sequential read and 1,200 MB/s sequential write speeds. Random performance tops 220,000 read IOPS and 290,000 write IOPS.
The larger drives in the series also reach 3,500 MB/s sequential read but increases the sequential writes to 3,000. The random performance also increases to 390,000 IOPS read, and 380,000 IOPS write.
This is the first SSD to utilize the new Silicon Motion SM2262EN controller. The SX8200 used the first iteration, SM2262. Silicon Motion used proprietary methods to increase performance, but the company doesn't give away too many details. Officially, the new EN version uses an improved data path through the controller.
The new SX8200 Pro doesn't utilize 96-layer Micron TLC, the flash we expected to see the new SM2262EN controller paired with. ADATA jumped the gun in a sense to bring the new SX8200 Pro to market instead of waiting for the new memory. At this time we're not sure when Micron will release 96L memory to the open market or what other companies using Silicon Motion controllers plan to do in the coming weeks.
Pricing, Warranty, and Endurance
The current selling prices are only a few dollars more than the SX8200 we fell in love with over the summer. Expect to spend $75 for the SX8200 256GB today. That increases to just $118 for the 512GB and $215 for the 1TB. We used Amazon for pricing with samples taken at the time of writing.
The SX8200 Pro series carries a five-year limited warranty with high endurance levels. The 256GB brings with it 160 terabytes written (TBW) coverage. That doubles to 320 TBW for the 512GB model and doubles again to 640 TBW for the 1TB model.
Accessories and Software
The ADATA SX8200 Pro ships with a thin metal plate with thermal passing tape attached. The plate can act as a heat sink of sorts but is more of a shield to reduce radiant heat from a video card mounted above your motherboard's PCIe slot above the M.2 slot.
ADATA has a nice graphic interface for the Toolbox software that users can use to manage the drive and find detailed information. The software is not included in the box; you have to download it from the ADATA website. On the site, you will also find a link to Acronis True HD, a disk-cloning tool.
A Closer Look
The drive itself is nearly identical to the SX8200 released last year. Like the original, this series ships with a metal strip you can install to act as a heat sink or heat shield to reduce the radiant heat coming from a video card or other PCIe device over the drive.
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