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ADATA XPG SX8000 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review

ADATA XPG SX8000 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review

ADATA jumps on the NVMe train with its new 3D flash-powered XPG SX8000 M.2 SSD. Should you buy it? Let's discuss.

@JonCoulterSSD
Published Wed, Jun 21 2017 8:08 PM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Oct 15 2020 1:05 PM CDT
Rating: 81%Manufacturer: ADATA

Introduction, Drive Specifications, Pricing & Availability

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VIEW GALLERY - 86 IMAGES

ADATA is all in with NVMe. The XPG SX8000 is ADATA's first NVMe SSD, and it comes in the most popular form factor - M.2 x 2280. ADATA went with SMI's SM2260 NVMe controller on the SX8000. We can't help but cringe a bit with this controller choice, due to our experience with it on Intel's 600p series. To this day, the 600p ranks as one of the lowest rated SSDs we've ever tested.

However, the SX8000 isn't handicapped like the 600p is. The 600p only used 6 of the SM2260's 8-channels, and more importantly, the SX8000 is powered by MLC flash instead of TLC flash like the 600p. Additionally, the XPG SX8000 features pSLC (pseudo-Single-Level-Cell) caching even though it is MLC powered. With this in mind, we expect that the SX8000 will not be a repeat of the hugely disappointing Intel 600p.

ADATA is buying the 3D MLC flash utilized on the SX8000 in wafers from Micron and packaging them in-house to reduce manufacturing costs. However, this doesn't appear to have reduced the end cost to below that of the competition. The SX8000 may have an advantage over some of the competition though. The XPG SX8000 comes with a five-year warranty, cloning software and a feature-rich toolbox.

ADATA is well known for exceptional memory products. The SX8000 is designated an XPG product by ADATA. When a product bears the XPG moniker, that means it is the best of the best that ADATA has to offer.

With pSLC boosted 3D MLC under the hood, the XPG SX8000 looks promising. Now, let's see how it performs on both Intel and AMD Ryzen platforms.

Specifications

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The ADATA XPG SX8000 M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD is available in four capacities: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. The 512GB XPG SX8000 we have on the bench today sports the following specifications:

  • Sequential Read: up to 2,500 MB/s (CDM)
  • Sequential Write: up to 1,100 MB/s (CDM)
  • Max 4K Random Read Speed: up to 140,000 IOPS @ QD32
  • Max 4K Random Write Speed: up to 150,000 IOPS @ QD32
  • Endurance: 320TB
  • MTBF: 2 Million Hours
  • Warranty: 5-Year Limited Warranty
  • SMART
  • TRIM
  • Garbage Collection

UPDATE: The ADATA XPG SX8000 is currently selling for $209.00 at Amazon

Drive Details

ADATA XPG SX8000 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD

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The XPG SX8000 ships in a small, colorful box that features an image of the drive on the front. The drive's capacity, form factor, interface and 3D NAND are advertised on this side of the packaging.

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The back of the packaging advertises the drive's max sequential performance, five-year warranty, and free software available for download.

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This side of the PCB houses the drive's SMI SM2260 controller, a DRAM package, and two NAND packages (under the manufacturer label).

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This side of the PCB houses an additional two NAND packages and another DRAM package.

Test System Setup & Drive Properties

Jon's Consumer PCIe SSD Intel Review Test System Specifications

Jon's Consumer PCIe SSD AMD Ryzen Review Test System Specifications

We would like to thank ASRock, Crucial, Intel, Corsair, RamCity, IN WIN, and Seasonic for making our test system possible.

Drive Properties

ADATA XPG SX8000 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD OS Disk 75% Full (Intel)

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ADATA XPG SX8000 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD OS Disk 75% Full (AMD Ryzen)

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The majority of our testing is performed with our test drive as our boot volume. Our boot volume is 75% full for all OS Disk "C" drive testing to replicate a typical consumer OS volume implementation. We feel that most of you will be utilizing your SSDs for your boot volume and that presenting you with results from an OS volume is more relevant than presenting you with empty secondary volume results.

System settings: Cstates and Speed stepping are both disabled in our systems BIOS. Windows High-Performance power plan is enabled. Windows write caching is enabled, and Windows buffer flushing is disabled. We are utilizing Windows 10 Pro 64-bit OS (Build 14393) for all of our testing except for our MOP (Maxed-Out Performance) benchmarks where we switch to Windows Server 2012 R2 64-bit (Intel Only). Empty Windows 10 benchmark screenshots will also be shown on our MOP page for both Intel and AMD Ryzen Platforms.

Intel screenshots will be shown first followed by AMD Ryzen throughout the review.

Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO & Anvil Storage Utilities

ATTO

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.05

ATTO is a timeless benchmark used to provide manufacturers with data used for marketing storage products. When evaluating ATTO performance, we focus on the drive's performance curve.

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The XPG SX8000 meets or exceeds factory sequential specifications on our Ryzen platform. On our Intel platform, we can't get to 1,900 MBs sequential read. The Intel platform has a major advantage at smaller file sizes. Keep in mind that this is our OS Disk and it is 75% full.

Sequential Write

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Graphing the performance curve shows the commanding lead that the Intel has over AMD's Ryzen platform at small file sizes. Both platforms easily exceed factory sequential write specs. Comparing performance to the rest of the SSDs in our test pool shows the XPG SX8000 outperforming the Intel 600p and the Intel 750.

Sequential Read

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The XPG SX8000 performs similarly on both platforms. The XPG SX8000 displays poor sequential read performance in comparison to the rest of the drives in our test pool. Even the 600p displays a better performance curve than the XPG SX8000.

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1.0

Anvil's Storage Utilities is a storage benchmark designed to measure the storage performance of SSDs. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests; you can run a full test or just the read or write test, or you can run a single test, i.e. 4K QD16. When evaluating performance with Anvils, we focus on the total score. When evaluating NVMe SSDs, we are typically looking for a minimum total score of over 10K.

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Scoring

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The XPG SX8000 manages to outperform Intel's 600p which is a marginal accomplishment. The XPG SX8000 isn't able to give us the 10K minimum score we are looking for. As expected, the drive performs better on our Intel platform.

(Anvil) Read IOPS through Queue Depth Scale

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Our Ryzen platform manages to outperform our Intel platform at QD32. Our experience with Ryzen has shown that it does run as good as Intel at high queue depths, but high queue depths are very uncommon in a consumer setting.

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Like all SSDs that we've tested with Micron 3D flash, the XPG SX8000 is a write-centric SSD as demonstrated by its poor showing in this random read testing. The XPG SX8000 manages to outperform the lowly 600p but gets left in the dust by the other competing SSDs in our test pool.

(Anvil) Write IOPS through Queue Scale

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Once again, the drive cranks out a bit more IOPS at QD32 on our Ryzen platform.

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This paints a better picture of what is really going on than our test at QD32 does. The XPG SX8000 runs much better at low queue depths on our Intel platform. Running on our Intel platform, the XPG SX8000 is one of the better performing SSDs in our test pool. Ryzen is at its worst where it matters most; low queue depths.

Synthetic Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark & AS SSD

CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

CrystalDiskMark is disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4K and 4K queue depths with accuracy. Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at QD4. When evaluating CDM results, we focus on 4K random performance at QD1 and QD4.

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Unlike what we saw with Anvil's, CDM's data pattern has the XPG SX8000 falling on its face at QD32. The XPG SX8000 outperforms the 600p but gets outperformed by the rest of the competing SSDs in our test pool.

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When we focus in on 4K QD1 performance, we find the write-centric XPG SX8000 delivering excellent performance on our Intel platform. On Ryzen, the XPG SX8000 again chokes hard on CDM's random data pattern.

AS SSD

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.8.5611.39791

AS SSD determines the performance of SSDs. The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. We evaluate AS SSD performance in terms of overall score. We are looking for a minimum score of 2,000 when evaluating NVMe SSDs

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AS SSD is a demanding test, and this time the data pattern agrees with the XPG SX8000 on both test platforms. Both platforms exceed our 2,000-point minimum and ADATA's factory specs for AS SSD. As we've seen all along, the XPG SX8000 again outperforms Intel's 600p but isn't very competitive with the rest of the SSDs in our test pool. Even with MLC flash, the SM2260 controller is proving once again to be a disappointment.

Benches (OS) - Vantage, PCMark 7, PCMark 8 & SYSmark 2014 SE

Moderate Workload Model

We categorize these tests as indicative of a moderate workload environment.

PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.0.0

The reason we like PCMark Vantage is because the recorded traces are played back without system stops. What we see is the raw performance of the drive. This allows us to see a marked difference between scoring that other trace-based benchmarks do not exhibit. An example of a marked difference in scoring on the same drive would be empty vs. filled vs. steady state.

We run Vantage three ways. The first run is with the OS drive 75% full to simulate a lightly used OS volume filled with data to an amount we feel is common for most users. The second run is with the OS volume written into a "Steady State" utilizing SNIA's consumer guidelines. Steady state testing simulates a drive's performance similar to that of a drive that been subjected to consumer workloads for extensive amounts of time. The third run is a Vantage HDD test with the test drive attached as an empty, lightly used secondary device.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

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OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State

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Secondary Volume Empty - FOB

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There's a big difference between an empty drive, one that's 75% full/used, and one that's in a steady state.

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The important scores to pay attention to are "OS Volume Steady State" and "OS Volume 75% full." These two categories are most important because they are indicative of typical of consumer user states. When a drive is in a steady state, it means garbage collection is running at the same time it's reading/writing.

Focusing in on 75% full and steady-state performance reveals nothing new. The XPG SX8000 can outperform the Intel 600p, but that's it. The rest of competing SSDs in our test pool easily outperform the XPG SX8000. Let's see if the XPG SX8000 can do better with our other moderate workload tests.

PCMark 7 - System Storage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4.0

We will look to Raw System Storage scoring for evaluation because it's done without system stops and, therefore, allows us to see significant scoring differences between drives. When testing NVMe SSDs on PCMark 7, we are looking for a minimum score of 10,000.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

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PCMark 7 more accurately represents real-world performance than does Vantage. The good news is the XPG SX8000 running on our Intel platform eclipses our minimum score of 10K. The bad news is it gets handily outperformed by everything else except for the 600p.

PCMark 8 - Storage Bandwidth

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.4.304

We use PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used

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PCMark 8 is the most intensive moderate workload simulation we run. With respect to moderate consumer type workloads, this test is what we consider the best indicator of a drive's performance. More of the same inferior performance coming from the XPG SX8000. We don't care for Silicon Motion's SM2260 controller, and it is easy to see why.

BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE System Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.0.70

SYSmark 2014 SE is considered the gold standard for testing system performance because it is an application based benchmark. This test gives us the ultimate in real-world results because it utilizes actual applications running on the system, instead of playing back recorded traces. If you want to know what kind of impact a particular SSD will have on your system's overall performance; this test will show you.

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Disk performance has the greatest impact on the Responsiveness Score, so that is what we will focus on.

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Our system is much more powerful than the calibration system (1000-point baseline) used by BAPCo, so we ran an OCZ TL100 120GB SATA III SSD to establish a comparison point relative to our test system. We will be running this test going forward, and we will add drives to our chart as we test them.

It is important to keep in mind that with SYSmark 2014 SE a few points are a big deal when comparing one drive to another on the same platform. 10-20 points is actually a huge difference, and the two competing NVMe SSDs in our test pool outscore the XPG SX8000 by 14 and 21 points.

AMD has in the past stated that SYSmark is optimized for Intel, but both BAPCo and Intel deny that there is any built-in preference for Intel-based systems. We don't know who is right, but it is easy to see that Intel has a major advantage over AMD when testing with SYSmark.

Benchmarks (Secondary) - IOPS, Response & Transfer Rate

Iometer - Maximum IOPS

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

We use Iometer to measure high queue depth performance. (No Partition)

Max IOPS Read

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Max IOPS Write

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We test NVMe SSDs using eight threads at QD32, or QD256. We do this because we want to see what the drive can generate at its maximum attainable queue depth. Maximum random performance is similar between the two platforms at high queue depths, which is what we've seen throughout our testing.

Iometer - Disk Response

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

We use Iometer to measure disk response times. Disk response times are measured at an industry accepted standard of 4K QD1 for both write and read. Each test runs twice for 30 seconds consecutively, with a 5-second ramp-up before each test. We partition the drive/array as a secondary device for this testing.

Avg. Write Response

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Avg. Read Response

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Disk response is significantly better (lower) on the Intel platform. As we saw with our synthetic tests, the SX8000 delivers very good write response at QD1 running on our Intel platform.

DiskBench - Transfer Rate

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.6.2.0

We use DiskBench to time a 28.6GB block (9,882 files in 1,247 folders) composed primarily of incompressible sequential and random data as it's transferred from our Toshiba RD400 1TB NVME SSD to our test drive. We then read from a 6GB zip file that's part of our 28.6GB data block to determine the test drive's read transfer rate. Our system is restarted prior to the read test to clear any cached data, ensuring an accurate test result.

Write Transfer Rate

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Read Transfer Rate

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We recently upgraded our test system to Windows 10 build 14393. With that upgrade, write transfer rates almost doubled. The reason for this, as far as we know, is that CPU power switching modes have been relaxed on the latest version of Windows 10. We included the NVMe drives we've tested to date on this build of Windows 10. If you needed a good reason to upgrade to the newer versions of Windows 10; this is a good reason.

Transfer rates on our Ryzen platform are a bit lower than we would like to see. Transfer rates on the Intel platform are acceptable.

Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - PCMark 8 Extended

Futuremark PCMark 8 Extended

Heavy Workload Model

PCMark 8's consistency test simulates an extended duration heavy workload environment. PCMark 8 has built-in, command line executed storage testing. The PCMark 8 Consistency test measures the performance consistency and the degradation tendency of a storage system.

The Storage test workloads are repeated. Between each repetition, the storage system is bombarded with a usage that causes degraded drive performance. In the first part of the test, the cycle continues until a steady degraded level of performance has been reached. (Steady State)

In the second part, the recovery of the system is tested by allowing the system to idle and measuring the performance after 5-minute long intervals. (Internal drive maintenance: Garbage Collection (GC)) The test reports the performance level at the start, the degraded steady-state, and the recovered state, as well as the number of iterations required to reach the degraded state and the recovered state.

We feel Futuremark's Consistency Test is the best test ever devised to show the true performance of solid state storage in an extended duration heavy workload environment. This test takes on average 13 to 17 hours to complete and writes somewhere between 450GB and 14,000GB of test data depending on the drive. If you want to know what an SSDs steady state performance is going to look like during a heavy workload, this test will show you.

Here's a breakdown of Futuremark's Consistency Test:

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.

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We consider steady state bandwidth (the blue bar) our test that carries the most weight in ranking a drive/arrays heavy workload performance. Performance after Garbage Collection (GC) (the orange and red bars) is what we consider the second most important consideration when ranking a drive's heavy workload performance.

Interestingly enough; in a steady-state, the XPG SX8000 performs better on our Ryzen platform. We feel that this is likely a result of the variability inherent with pSLC boosted SSDs. In fact, in a steady-state, the XPG SX8000 running on our Ryzen platform is performing nearly as well as the MP500 and BPX.

Storage Bandwidth Per Phase

We chart our test subject's storage bandwidth as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations. This gives us a good visual perspective of how our test subjects perform as testing progresses. This chart sheds more light on how the drives perform as they progress through the testing phases.

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Total Access Time (Latency)

We chart the total time the disk is accessed as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations. This helps shed some light on how the drive performs at each of the 18 phases of this test.

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Disk Busy Time

Disk Busy Time is how long the disk is busy working. We chart the total time the disk is working as reported at each of the tests 18 trace iterations.

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Data Written

We measure the total amount of random data that our test drive/array is capable of writing during the degradation phases of the consistency test. Pre-conditioning data is not included in the total. The total combined time that degradation data is written to the drive/array is 470 minutes. This can be very telling. The better a drive/array can process a continuous stream of random data; the more data will be written.

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Overprovisioning and write latency are the biggest factors that determine the outcome of this portion of the test. Being write-centric in nature, the XPG SX8000 performs well with this portion of the test.

Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - 70/30 Mixed Workload

70/30 Mixed Workload Test (Sledgehammer)

Version and / or Patch Used: Iometer 2014

Heavy Workload Model

This test hammers a drive so hard we've dubbed it "Sledgehammer." Our 70/30 Mixed Workload test is designed to simulate a heavy-duty enthusiast/workstation steady-state environment. We feel that a mix of 70% read/30% write, full random 4K transfers best represents this type of user environment. Our test allows us to see the drive enter into and reach a steady state as the test progresses.

Phase one of the test preconditions the drive for 1 hour with 128K sequential writes. Phase two of the test runs a 70% read/30% write, full random 4K transfer workload on the drive for 1 hour. We log and chart (phase two) IOPS data at 5-second intervals for 1 hour (720 data points). 60 data points = 5 minutes.

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What we like about this test is that it reflects reality. Everything lines up, as it should. Consumer drives don't outperform Enterprise-Class SSDs that were designed for enterprise workloads. Consumer drives based on old technology are not outperforming modern Performance-Class SSDs, etc.

The XPG SX8000 delivers a very good average on both platforms. However as with all SMI controlled SSDs; it does so with massive variability. We do not like massive variability.

Maxed-Out Performance (MOP)

Maxed-Out Performance

This testing is just to see what the drive is capable of in a FOB (Fresh Out of Box) state under optimal conditions. We are utilizing empty volumes of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012 R2 64-bit for this testing.

Windows 10 MOP (Intel)

ADATA XPG SX8000 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD

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Windows 10 MOP (AMD)

ADATA XPG SX8000 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD

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Windows Server 2012 R2 MOP (Intel only)

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Final Thoughts

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We were optimistic that ADATA's choice of the SMI SM2260 controller as part of the configuration used on the XPG SX8000 could change our opinion of the SM2260. Well, that certainly did not happen. Looking back at our benchmarks, it is easy to see that the XPG SX8000 is a low-end performer. The only drive that it is faster than is Intel's 600p, which is not saying much. The XPG SX8000 didn't win a single category of a single benchmark or even compete with the other drives in our test pool.

Even if we take a step back from our enthusiast oriented views and just look at the value proposition the XPG SX8000 offers, we still have no choice but to give this one the thumbs down. As bad as the 600p is, it does have one thing going for it; a super-low price point. As it's currently priced, the XPG SX8000 doesn't even have that going for it. We are typically well pleased with ADATA's SSD line-up but not this time. As it stands, we recommend you look at other options.

ADATA's XPG SX8000 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD is not TweakTown recommended.

Pros:

  • QD1 Random Write Performance
  • Included Software
  • Five-Year Warranty

Cons:

  • Price
  • Performance
Performance70%
Quality90%
Features90%
Value75%
Overall81%

The Bottom Line: There are way better options out there.

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

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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