M.2 NVMe SSDs are all the rage these days. We expect that the M.2 form-factor will soon overtake 2.5" SATA SSDs as the most prevalent storage form factor in the near future. In fact, these days we rarely get 2.5" SATA-based SSDs in the lab for testing. Everyone loves the way a super-fast M.2 SSD just marries itself to the motherboard, with no cables to deal with.
The only draw-back to the M.2 form-factor is keeping the drive itself from heating up when running extended workloads. We've seen several manufacturers take an M.2 SSD and stick it on an AIC adapter with a massive heat sink. This approach is quite effective in terms of keeping thermals under control, but it also takes away from the whole idea of a tiny gum stick sized SSD that mounts directly on the motherboard, which is the most appealing thing about the M.2 form-factor. Additionally, with an AIC adapter, one of your precious PCIe slots must be sacrificed for storage.
TeamGroup's integrated M.2 thermal solution is not the first of its kind, but does appear that it is likely the most effective of its kind. What we've seen to this point are very thin thermal label type of heat sinks that while helpful, are clearly not able to dissipate heat as well as the integrated thick finned solid aluminum heat sink that makes the T-Force Cardea stand out from the crowd. Just how effective is the heat sink on the T-Force Cardea? We don't test thermals so we can't verify this, but here is what TeamGroup is claiming their patented heat sink does:
Overall, TeamGroup is claiming that their unique heat sink increases thermal performance by 15%. This is plenty of cooling to keep the drives controller from reaching a point where it will throttle back to prevent overheating. This is important for sustained high performance, because when the drive throttles, performance takes a nosedive. The T-Force Cardea's heat sink is mated to the drives controller and IC's with a special thermally conductive adhesive material that according to TeamGroup possesses a higher thermal coefficient than ice.
At the heart of the T-Force Cardea is Phison's venerable E7 NVMe SSD controller. We are especially fond of this controller as it has powered some of our favorite SSDs. The Phison E7 is well known for blazing low-latency performance and the utmost in reliability. The Phison PS5007-E7 (or E7) is designed for high-performance computing applications. The E7 supports up to 8-channels in its NAND Flash interface, so it is very fast.
Multiple features are built into the Phison E7 controller to ensure stability and reliability. These features include SmartECC which reconstructs defective/faulty pages when regular ECC fails, SmartRefresh monitors block ECC health status and refreshes blocks periodically to improve data retention, and SmartFlush minimizes time data spends in cache to ensure data retention in the event of power loss. Fast and reliable is what Phison's E7 controller is all about.
The 240GB T-Force Cardea with its unique heat sink certainly looks like an appealing SSD to us, now let's take a quick look at the drive's specifications and then get this tiny beast on the bench.
The TeamGroup T-Force Cardea M.2 NVMe SSD is available in two capacities: 240GB and 480GB. The 240GB model we have on the bench today sports the following specifications:
- Sequential Read: up to 2,600 MB/s
- Sequential Write: up to 1,400 MB/s
- Max 4K Random Read Speed: up to 180,000 IOPS
- Max 4K Random Write Speed: up to 140,000 IOPS
- Endurance: up to 335 TBW
- MTBF: 2 Million Hours
- Warranty: 3-Year Limited Warranty
- Garbage Collection
The 240GB TeamGroup T-Force Cardea is currently selling at Newegg for $129.99.
Last updated: Nov 15, 2019 at 01:16 pm CST
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Drive Specifications, Pricing & Availability]
- Page 2 [Drive Details]
- Page 3 [Test System Setup & Drive Properties]
- Page 4 [Synthetic Benchmarks – ATTO & Anvil Storage Utilities]
- Page 5 [Synthetic Benchmarks – CrystalDiskMark & AS SSD]
- Page 6 [Benches- Vantage, PCMark 7, PCMark 8 & SYSmark 2014 SE]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks (Secondary) - IOPS, Response & Transfer Rate]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) – PCMark 8 Extended]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) – 70/30 Mixed Workload]
- Page 10 [Maxed-Out Performance (MOP)]
- Page 11 [Final Thoughts]