The Bottom Line
Introduction & Drive Details
Last year we reviewed Micro Center's first Phison E18 powered SSD the inland Performance Plus. Priced at $379.99 for the 2TB model, it was at the time we reviewed it the best overall value available for a blazing fast Phison E18 controlled SSD capable of more than 7,000 MB/s throughput. That was almost a year ago, and things have changed. Flash is cheaper and faster than ever before, and now M.2 NVMe SSDs are pulling double duty as storage expansion for Sony's wildly popular PlayStation 5 console.
So here we are again with another inland SSD powered by the same Phison E18 controller as its older sibling, the Performance Plus. The Gaming Performance Plus may be controlled by the very same Phison E18 controller, but that's where the similarities end. The Gaming Performance Plus is what we consider an Elite performer. It is a much better performer than its predecessor because it is arrayed with the newest Micron Fortis grade B47R 176 Layer TLC flash. B47R flash has literally transformed Phison E18 controlled SSDs from average to Elite in terms of performance that matters.
As it is with all Phison E18 controlled SSDs arrayed with B47R Fortis grade flash, the inland Gaming Performance Plus can crank out more than 7,400 MB/s throughput under the right conditions, as evidenced by the following benchmark:
We ran this test on our AMD X570 system with a 5900X 12-core CPU. This hardware combo is capable of extracting every drop of sequential throughput from Phison E18 powered SSDs arrayed with B47R flash.
Sequential throughput is way up thanks to Micron's B47R flash, and sequential speeds are the numbers that most consumers look for as the primary indicator of how fast an SSD is. However, in the consumer realm, sequential speeds are not what make an SSD fast. Low queue depth random read performance is a much better indicator of how fast an SSD really is. So that 88.27 MB/s number on the above benchmark is the most important number to watch. Micron 176 Layer B47R Fortis grade flash is 25 percent faster here than the 96 Layer flash found arrayed on its older sibling. Performance that matters.
Faster, cheaper, and PS5 ready, Micro Center's new inland Gaming Performance Plus is the real deal. Now let's see exactly what it can do for you.
Stated performance capabilities for the inland Gaming Performance Plus are absurdly low. Not sure why Micro Center is being so conservative here, but rest assured that this SSD is every bit as fast as any Phison E18 SSD arrayed with Micron 1,200 MT B47R Fortis grade flash.
Micro Center's inland branded SSDs don't come with value-add software which helps them keep costs lower than the competition. We are fine with this simply because there is plenty of readily available freeware for cloning and monitoring SSD health. A 6-year warranty is the best we've seen offered for any Phison built SSD. Nice.
Jon's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Z690 HERO
- CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K
- Cooler: Alphacool Eissturm Hurricane Copper 45 - Buy from Amazon
- RAM: TeamGroup T-Force Delta DDR5 6400MHz 32GB - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: Zotac 2080Ti AMP Edition - Buy from Amazon
- Case: PrimoChill's Praxis Wetbench - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 1000W 80+ Gold - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Console: Sony PlayStation 5 - Buy from Amazon
- Console Heatsink: Sabrent Heatsink for PS5 Console - Buy from Amazon
Sony PlayStation 5 - M.2 Storage Expansion
PS5 Read Performance
With Sony's PlayStation 5 console now enabled for M.2 NVMe SSDs to be used as fast storage expansion, we include results for PS5 compatible SSDs we test as a part of our reviews going forward. We are using the newest PS5 hardware and software versions.
As you can see from our above photo, the inland Gaming Performance Plus with heat sink fits perfectly into the PS5's M.2 storage expansion slot.
Our PS5 chart is exclusively populated by SSDs that can deliver a minimum of 5,500 MB/s read, Sony's original recommendation. We note that with the latest PS5 software update, even SSDs that only do 4,200 MB/s no longer trigger a low-performance warning; nevertheless, we are sticking by Sony's original recommendation of 5,500 MB/s minimum read requirement.
6,386 MB/s is exactly what we expect to get from a 2TB SSD controlled by a Phison E18 and arrayed with B47R 1200 MT Fortis grade flash. Excellent. Keep in mind the only difference between this SSD and similarly configured competitor SSDs is the price.
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO
Here we go - lower price, same performance. This is what Micro Center's inland branded SSDs have historically been all about, and their newest is no exception. Excellent.
Anvil's Storage Utilities
Our inland Gaming Performance Plus is on a roll. It delivers the 10K or better score we are looking for, as well as the highest random read number we've been able to extract from any Phison E18 controlled SSD we've ever tested. Impressive.
Micro Center's inland Gaming Performance Plus cranks out 128K sequential performance as good as any consumer SSD ever made.
Real-World Testing: Transfers, 3DMark SSD Gaming Test, PCM10 Storage
Our write transfer is not your ordinary 100GB of data. Ours is a crushing mix of data composed of more than 62K files. As expected, Micro Center's newest flagship performance offering delivers one of the best performances we've recorded.
Impressive. The inland Gaming Performance Plus delivers the highest transfer rate for any 2TB Phison E18 controlled SSD we've tested to date, even besting the faster KC3000 here.
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.
Gaming is a performance metric that matters to the majority of DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. Exactly the kind of result we want to see from an SSD marketed at the gaming community. Gaming is in its name, and gaming is its game. PS5 or PC, you simply cannot do much better than a Phison E18 controlled SSD arrayed with B47R flash.
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
We are looking for a minimum 500MB/s storage bandwidth along with 3000 points here. The inland Gaming Performance Plus produces an impressive score of 3,420. This is performance that matters as it translates directly to user experience.
PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark
E18 controlled SSDs, with the exception of those arrayed with 1,600 MT flash, severely underperform when tested against PCMark 10 Quick System Drive test. As expected, Micro Center's newest steps on a rake here as well.
Micron's B47R flash has transformed Phison E18 controlled SSDs like the inland Gaming Performance Plus from average-performing into something exceptional. Until recently, Phison E18 controlled SSDs arrayed with Micron's B47R Fortis grade flash have carried a huge price premium with 2TB models like the drive we have on the bench today, costing as much as $500. Finally, we are starting to see significantly lower pricing for this exceptional hardware configuration filter down to the consumer. Micro Center's newest represents the lowest pricing we've seen to date for any SSD sporting the aforementioned hardware combo.
When we saw the price, we figured this SSD was likely configured with Media Grade B47R flash as we've seen from both the T-Force Cardea A440 Pro and AddGame A95. Nope, this value priced SSD is indeed arrayed with full on Fortis grade flash. Outstanding.
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.
PC or PS5, Micro Center's inland Gaming Performance Plus is a gamers delight. TweakTown Elite performance, heat sink perfectly designed to maximize PS5 performance and the lowest price to date for what it is, have earned it our highest award.
- PS5 Heatsink
Currently, Micro Center's Gaming Performance Plus is the best value going for a PS5 compatible E18/B47R arrayed SSD.
What's in Jon's PC?
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7800X 3D
- MOTHERBOARD: GIGABYTE AORUS Master X670E
- RAM: Kingston Fury Renegade 7200MHz 32GB
- GPU: ZOTAC AMP Extreme GeForce RTX 4090
- SSD: Crucial T700 2TB Gen5
- OS: Windows 11 Pro
- COOLER: Lian Li Galahad 360 AIO
- CASE: Lian Li Lancool III
- KEYBOARD: Corsair K65 RGB Mini
- MOUSE: SteelSeries AEROX 5 Wireless
- MONITOR: ASUS ROG Strix PG27AQN 360Hz 1440p ULMB2