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ADATA Premier SP610 256GB SSD Review

ADATA Premier SP610 256GB SSD Review

ADATA is known for putting out quality SSDs at very low prices. With the fabs entering the same market, can ADATA's SP610 compete in this market?

@ChrisRamseyer
Published Tue, Sep 16 2014 4:35 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:33 PM CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ADATA

Introduction & Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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VIEW GALLERY - 36 IMAGES

With the fab companies pushing the price of mainstream SSDs down to new lows, many question how long customer builders like ADATA, Kingston, Corsair, and so on can still compete. Over the last two years, we've seen many of these companies turn to increasing the value of the overall package.

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Today, we're looking at the ADATA SP610, a low-cost value based SSD that doesn't just stop with the SSD. Several months back ADATA followed several other SSD makers and released an SSD Toolbox, software that allows end users to monitor, configure and manage an SSD. ADATA also includes Acronis True Image HD with the companies value based SSDs.

The company didn't stop there, even ADATA's low priced drives like the SP610 also ships with a full accessory kit that includes a desktop adapter bracket and 7mm to 9.2mm z-height bracket. This is in an era where such accessory packages are reserved for premium SSDs with prices closer to .75 cents per GB.

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The other way ADATA, Corsair and several others are able to shave initial costs is to use low-cost controllers that arrive with firmware. The SP610 uses a Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller. Silicon Motion builds the customer's firmware just like LSI/Avago/SandForce/Seagate (I couldn't just pick one), that means a large portion of the development costs fall on Silicon Motion and Silicon Motion can spread that cost between the customer builders.

The SM2246EN is a 4-channel controller designed for value-class SSDs and can use a wide variety of NAND flash. For mainstream users, the controller performs very well under typical mainstream user workloads, but latency does increase under enthusiast workloads.

ADATA's target market for the SP610 is mainstream users and gamers looking for high capacity with a low cost. Let's see how the SP610 256GB does for that market today.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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ADATA released the SP610 in four capacity sizes - 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and a massive 1TB model. Today, we're focusing on the 256GB model ADATA sent over first. The write performance varies between these drives, the larger the capacity, the higher the write speed.

Our 256GB sample reads sequential data at 560 MB/s, but only has a sequential write speed of 290 MB/s. The two larger capacity size SP610 drives write at 450 MB/s and the 128GB model only writes sequential data at 150 MB/s.

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As we mentioned above, the SP610 includes a nice accessory package. Included is a desktop adapter bracket, z-height shim, instructions and the ability to download two critical pieces of software. ADATA backs the SP610 products with a standard three-year warranty.

At the time of writing, Newegg only had the 128GB in stock and at roughly $1 per GB. I'm sure you are thinking the same three letters that I am - W.T.F. When Newegg runs low of stock, the company raises the prices to slow demand. I'm fairly certain that's the case here. The flagship ADATA SP920 256GB only costs $129.99 at the time of writing, and the SP610 256GB should cost significantly less than that when widely available.

PRICING: You can find the ADATA Premier SP610 256GB SSD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The ADATA Premier SP610 256GB SSD retails for $119.99 at Amazon.

ADATA SP610 256GB SSD

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Our sample arrived in the full retail package.

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The back of the retail package gives a generic description of the feature set for SSDs, but also lists some performance data for the drive inside.

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Here we get our first look at the ADATA Premier SP610.

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The Acronis Key is on the back of the drive.

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ADATA uses a 7mm z-height, but also included an adapter to make a 9.5mm tall drive.

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ADATA also included a desktop adapter bracket so your 2.5" SSD can fit in a 3.5" drive bay.

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Inside we found a cost effective design. The PCB is roughly two inches long.

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The SP610 uses a Silicon Motion SM2246 controller and NANYA DRAM.

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ADATA packages Micron 20nm 128Gbit NAND flash and uses it for both the flagship SP920 and SP610 products.

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There are eight NAND packages total so the SP610 takes full advantage of the parallelism offered by the SMI controller.

Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance

Desktop Test System

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Lenovo T440 - Notebook Power Testing with DEVSLP and Windows 8.1 Pro

Nearly all of the performance tests run on the desktop system but we use a Lenovo T440 to run the power tests. The T440 is the latest addition to our client SSD test lab and allows us to test the notebook battery life offered by an SSD with advanced features like DEVSLP enabled.

ATTO - Baseline Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34

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The SP610 256GB scores exactly as expected in ATTO. The sequential read performance topped 560 MB/s by a small margin, and the sequential write speed was nearly 303 MB/s.

Benchmarks - Sequential Performance

HD Tune Pro - Sequential Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.55

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This isn't the first SSD we've tested with the Silicon Motion SM2246 controller, but the ADATA SP610 is the only drive on the chart with one inside. Silicon Motion has several design wins with non-fab SSD makers.

The ADATA SP610 256GB doesn't have any issues reading sequential data. ADATA choose to use eight NAND packages for performance, and it was the right decision.

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Writing data is what separates the value and performance SSDs. Most of the drives in the chart today are performance models. The Crucial MX100 256GB is the current value priced king and it's the drive ADATA needs to beat. In this test, the SP10 is around 15 MB/s on average slower than the MX100.

HD Tach - Sequential Write Performance after Random Writes

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0.4.0

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After a reasonable amount of sequential and random writes, we tested the SP610 in HD Tach to see the 128KB sequential performance. For the majority of the write test, the SP610 ran really well. Towards the end of the test, the drive dipped to low levels twice.

Benchmarks - Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: RC6

So what is Anvil Storage Utilities? First of all, it's a storage benchmark for SSDs and HDDs where you can check and monitor your performance. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests; you can run a full test or just the read or the write test, or you can run a single test, i.e. 4k QD16.

Anvil Storage Utilities is not officially available yet, but we've been playing with the beta for several months now. The author, Anvil on several international forums, has been updating the software steadily and is adding new features every couple of months.

We can use Anvil several different ways to show different aspects for each drive. We've chosen to use this software to show the performance of a drive with two different data sets. The first is with compressible data and the second data set is incompressible data. Several users have requested this data in our SSD reviews.

0-Fill Compressible Data

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Incompressible Data

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The performance with compressible data and incompressible data is the same so you don't have to worry about performance loss while editing audio and video files.

Low Queue Depth Read IOPS

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The QD1 random read IOPS came in at just over 8K IOPS. The SP610 scales well to QD4 in this chart compared to many of the other value-class SSDs. In all three of these tests, the SP610 reads a little slower than the MX100 256GB though.

High Queue Depth Read IOPS

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Most of us will not hit high queue depths when reading data on any of the drives in the chart. The SP610 continues to scale well all the way up to QD32.

Low Queue Depth Write IOPS

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In the low queue depth random writes, the SP610 still lags behind the MX100.

High Queue Depth Write IOPS

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The brick wall comes around 70,000 4K random write IOPS at QD8. The SP610 does a little better at QD32, but most of us will never reach that high of a queue depth under normal workloads.

Benchmarks - Mixed Read / Write Workloads

Mixed Read / Write Workloads

In this series of tests, we measure mixed workload performance. We start with 100% read and then add data writes to the mix until we get to 100% writes, in 10% increments. We believe this will be the next major area SSD manufactures will address after performance consistency.

Mixed Workload Bandwidth

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The SP610 does poorly in our sequential mixed workload test. Once data writes are mixed in with data reads, the performance plummets to a low level. The MX100 does the same thing, but the difference between these two drives is the SP610 recovers after the initial hit and the MX100 stays at low levels in the 256GB capacity size.

80% Read / 20% Write Bandwidth

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The MX100 and SP610 perform about the same with 80% reads and 20% writes. In contrast, the OCZ ARC 100 delivers another 100 MB/s more and is another value-based SSD to consider.

Mixed Workload Response Time

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We're working our way through drives in our new 4K random mixed IO test. The MX100 isn't through the test yet, but the OCZ ARC 100 is. The SP610 puts up consistent numbers, even at QD4.

PCMark 8 Consistency Test

Futuremark PCMark 8 Extended - Consistency Test

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.228

Heavy Usage Model:

Futuremark's PCMark 8 allows us to wear the test drive down to a reasonable consumer steady state and then watch the drive recover on its own through garbage collection. To do that, the drive gets pushed down to steady state with random writes and then idle time between a number of tests allows the drive to recover.

Precondition Phase:

1. Write to the drive sequentially through up to the reported capacity with random data.

2. Write the drive through a second time (to take care of overprovisioning).

Degradation Phase:

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 10 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 8 times, and on each pass increase the duration of random writes by 5 minutes.

Steady state Phase:

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 50 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

Recovery Phase:

1. Idle for 5 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

Storage Bandwidth

PCMark 8's Consistency test provides a ton of data output that we use to judge a drive's performance. Here we see the three states of performance for the select SSDs, light use, consumer steady state and worst case.

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Another test that separates the value drives from the enthusiast class products, PCM8 Consistency Test. Most of us should look at the orange set of bars for daily use activities. The SP610 does a bit better than the MX100 in this area, but let's look at all the results and see where these two stand.

Storage Bandwidth All Tests

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Here we see all of the tests, from a worn down state, all the way to consumer steady states. The MX100 is a mixed bag, going from one of the lowest results to just a bit faster than the SP610. The SP610, on the other hand, stays in the pack of value-based drive performance.

PCMark 8 Consistency Test - Continued

Total Access Time

The access time test measures the total latency across all 18 tests. This is one of, if not the most important test we run at this time for consumer SSDs. When your latency is low your computer feels fast, it's just that simple.

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Latency is more important than the throughput for most of us. The SP610 does a bit better than the MX100 in nearly all of the tests.

Disk Busy Time

In the final test, we measure the amount of time the drive worked to read and write the data to complete the test. When a drive is active, it uses more power so the faster it can complete the tasks the faster it can fall into a low power state.

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The disk busy time test shows us how hard a drive has to work to complete the tasks in this test. The SP610 takes quite a bit of time to complete the tasks. In many cases, the drive has to take up to four times as long to perform the tasks, compared to the OCZ ARC 100.

Benchmarks - Power Testing

Bapco MobileMark 2012 1.5

Version and / or Patch Used: 2012 1.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.bapco.com

Test Homepage: http://www.bapco.com

MobileMark 2012 1.5 is an application-based benchmark that reflects usage patterns of business users in the areas of office productivity, media creation and media consumption. Unlike benchmarks that only measure battery life, MobileMark 2012 measures battery life and performance simultaneously, showing how well a system design addresses the inherent tradeoffs between performance and power management.

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When it comes to power consumption in a notebook environment, the ADATA SP610 does really well allowing your notebook to stay on for long periods of time. The 660 minute result is one of the best we've recorded in this capacity size.

Power Limited Performance

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In a power restricted environment, all of the drives perform about the same since the SATA link, CPU and PCIe lanes are all running in a reduced power state.

Final Thoughts

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The ADATA SP610 isn't the fastest consumer SSD on the market and we don't think it will be the cheapest when widely available either. ADATA has a long history of coming out with good SSDs that compete in the low-cost space. What ADATA does differently from many of the others in this same space is deliver these low-cost products with full accessory packages.

Those new to SSDs generally need the accessory packages since their computer cases are older and they don't have built-in support for 2.5" drives. ADATA continued this tradition with the SP610 and the accessory package really needs to be considered in the total value, especially if you need to purchase a $10 adapter bracket, or cloning software.

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If it weren't for the cloning software and the SSD Toolbox, I might be inclined to steer you away from the ADATA SP610 and towards the OCZ ARC 100. If you don't need Acronis, a desktop adapter bracket, mounting screws and so on, then the ARC 100 is a faster drive for desktop use. That said, the ARC 100 scores poorly in notebooks when using battery power. Casual notebook users who don't need strong hardware based encryption will find the SP610 a capable SSD that delivers long battery life.

One thing we really don't like about ADATA packaging is that the company doesn't publish data on the PE cycles, or for that matter, any endurance data at all. We know some companies have dabbled in using 1.5K PE cycle MLC flash on value SSDs. Obviously it worries us when we see a drive selling for less than 50 cents per GB and unknown flash. Does the ADATA SP610 fall into that same category? To be honest, we don't know.

If ADATA can put the SP610 out at the same price as the MX100 or other very low-cost SSDs, then this package could be a strong value for first-time SSD buyers. If the price is wrong, then we suggest looking elsewhere for higher performance, and buying the accessories from a third-party.

PRICING: You can find the ADATA Premier SP610 256GB SSD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The ADATA Premier SP610 256GB SSD retails for $119.99 at Amazon.

Performance90%
Quality89%
General Features89%
Bundle and Packaging94%
Value for MoneyN/A
Overall91%

The Bottom Line: ADATA's SP610 uses a known controller that does well in many tests, but we don't know a lot about the flash or the market price. Aside from the accessory package, there isn't anything remarkable about the SP610, besides the solid notebook battery life that it produces.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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