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ADATA SX8200 Pro NVMe SSD Review: SM2262EN with 64-Layer TLC

ADATA SX8200 Pro NVMe SSD Review: SM2262EN with 64-Layer TLC
ADATA is first out of the gate with the SMI SM2262EN controller that increases performance through an optimized data path.
By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Jan 5, 2019 7:33 pm

Introduction

 

ADATA is the first to release a high-performance SSD using the new Silicon Motion, Inc. (SMI) SM2262EN controller. Being first isn't always the path to being the best in the long run, but this is the latest technology available and the best you can get today.

 

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ADATA seems to have jumped the gun. The SMI SM2262EN controller was to accompany Micron's upcoming 96-layer TLC memory. We fully expected to see retail products in January with the new memory but supply may be limited. To roll out a new and faster SSD for early 2019 ADATA took the timetable by the horns to build a hybrid that increases performance over the most popular SSDs released in 2018.

 

 

Specifications

 

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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.

 

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 reaches 3,500 MB/s in the sequential read category but increases the sequential writes to 3,000. The random performance also increases to 390,000 IOPS read, and 380,000 IOPS write.

 

As previously mentioned, this is the first retail SSD to use the new Silicon Motion SM2262EN with an improved hardware data path over the previous generation SM2262 used on the original SX8200. The new controller carries over several important, but highly technical, features like end-to-end data path protection, LDPC, and internal encryption. The takeaway is the new EN version of the controller is faster thanks to what Silicon Motion calls an "improved data path" and firmware optimizations.

 

The new SX8200 Pro doesn't use 96-layer Micron TLC, so there isn't a price drop for shoppers. Instead, the SX8200 Pro series taps Micron's 64L memory that is currently unmatched in random read performance, at least with retail consumer products shipping today.

 

 

 

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

 

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ADATA features some information on the drive's package but the reality is most will ship from Amazon, so it's a moot point.

 

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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