The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
SSD prices have declined significantly over the last year with deepest dives coming in the recent weeks. Due to strategic buying of select components, Phison-based SSDs have saw deeper than industry average drops on large capacity models. Today we will finally look at the MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro 2TB model that just dropped to $329.99.
The MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro wasn't the first Phison E12-based SSD to hit record low prices for the 1TB and 2TB models. Two relatively unknown companies were the first to get pricing in the weeds. MyDigitalSSD, one of the best-known companies with a long history of Phison products, followed shortly after.
The E12 drives, especially the large capacity models, have an advantage over many M.2 products shipping today. The drives use the double-sided M.2 form factor. This allows the companies to use four NAND packages. This is important because each package contains fewer die in the stack and those parts are more reliable to manufacture, and cost less than larger die stack packages.
The BPX Pro isn't just about being a low-cost NVMe SSD. The series ships in four capacities from 240GB to 1920GB (2TB). The series brings ample performance to users with up to 3,400 MB/s sequential reads and 3,100 MB/s sequential writes. Random performance from MyDigitalSSD comes from CrystalDiskMark data in throughput rather than IOPS. We will look at the random performance later in this review.
On the hardware side, this series uses the Phison PS5012-E12 8-channel controller with Toshiba's BiCS Flash 64-layer 3-bit per cell memory.
Pricing, Warranty, and Endurance
MyDigitalSSD lower BPX Pro pricing the same day I started writing this review. The new pricing came as a response to two smaller companies doing the same with E12-based drives. The series starts at just $44.99 for the 240GB model. That moves to $79.99 for the 480GB model and $149.99 for the popular 1TB drive. The 2TB model we're testing today sells for just $329.99.
The series carries a 5-year limited warranty and gives users ample endurance, unlike many other low-cost NVMe SSDs shipping today.
A Closer Look
2TB Class Performance Testing
Even with all of the talk about SSDs getting larger, there are still very few 2TB M.2 models available today. Most fall into two camps, those based on the Phison E12 like the BPX Pro we're testing today and those based on the Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2262EN like the HP EX950 in the charts.
Samsung promised a 970 EVO Plus in this capacity, but we've yet to see it for sale. There are a few older models like the 960 EVO and 960 Pro in 2TB. The 970 series only saw the EVO model with a 2TB capacity.
Sequential Read Performance
Every drive we've tested with the Phison E12 controller (and Intel's in-house controller as well) shows a strong dip at queue depth (QD) 2 that carries over to QD4. This is just a hang up with our testing algorithm and not an issue with the drive's real-world performance.
In other software, even with this same software but in a different order, the issue goes away. For the most part, all of the modern generation premium NVMe SSDs with 8-channel controllers reach the highest throughput available with a PCIe 3.0 x4-lane interface.
Sequential Write Performance
We want to look more at other areas of performance with these drives. The sequential write performance is one area where we still see some differences between products. The 2TB BPX Pro starts strong with a very high QD1 write burst over 2,000 MB/s. The drives scales well to QD2 where it reaches peak throughput at nearly 2,800 MB/s.
Sustained Sequential Write Performance
With a single 128KB write to the entire user area of the drive, we get a chance to see how the SLC cache performs and where the performance drops off. The 2TB BPX Pro comes out of a low power state mode and quickly jumps to roughly 2,200 MB/s for around 20% of the user capacity.
Our sample drive entered a period where the performance fell flat for a few seconds and then recovered. We haven't seen this on any of the other BPX Pro, or E12 drives we tested with firmware 12.1.
Random Read Performance
The E12 with Toshiba 64L BiCS Flash doesn't have the same explosive responsiveness as drives with Micron's 64L TLC. They do cost significantly less through than drives like the ADATA SX8200 Pro and HP EX950.
Random Write Performance
The 2TB BPX Pro does have very strong random write performance at low queue depths. As we ramp up the workload the drive falls short of the other 2TB drives in our charts, but by that time we're well outside of the consumer workload range.
70% Read Sequential Performance
The Phison E12 uses a powerful 2-core processor with a coprocessor that allows these drives to blaze through mixed workloads. The BPX Pro is one of the best drives available for sequential mixed workloads as long as you don't push the workload past the SLC buffer.
70% Read Random Performance
Even with the powerful processor, the slower bus interface on the Toshiba 64L flash stifles the random mixed workload performance on the 2TB BPX Pro. The drive is still much quicker than many SATA and NVMe SSDs shipping today, but can't compete one to one with those using Micron 64L TLC.
2TB Class Real-World Performance Testing
Game Load Time
Moving over to real-world performance, we start with the Final Fantasy: Stormblood game load time benchmark. The 2TB BPX Pro only trails the Samsung 960 Pro by .8 seconds and is even closer to the HP EX950. The BPX Pro loads the game levels much faster than the Samsung 960 EVO.
PCMark 8 Total Storage Bandwidth
The PCMark 8 Storage Test uses a broader group of applications to measure storage performance. The 2TB BPX Pro trails the similar sized EX950, but only by a small margin under a light workload.
PCMark 8 Extended Storage Test
The PCMark 9 Extended Storage Test uses the same applications as the standard test, but starts with the drives in steady state. The drives have to work through the preconditioning workload and then the actual tests without idle time before given five-minute breaks to recovery. The BPX Pro and the EX950 both fall off under extreme workloads. The drive do recovery quickly when a reasonable amount of idle time.
SYSmark 2014 SE System Responsiveness and Power Tests
The 2TB capacity of the MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro is the least responsive of the four sizes we've tested. The drive is still very responsive in our testing, but it would be a much better drive with Micron's 64L TLC flash.
Notebook Battery Life
The one area where every Phison E12-based SSD we've tested has trouble is in our notebook battery life test with the drive in a Lenovo Y700-17 gaming system. We scored nearly 5-hours in our test, and that's a decent score for the system used. Most other consumer NVMe SSDs score better, though.
The MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro is the best value in 2TB NVMe market. The HP EX950 costs around $70 more, and the Samsung 970 EVO costs nearly $300 more. There are so few 2TB drives shipping today that it's even difficult to find a product close to the drive we tested today. The closest product we could find online is the Mushkin Pilot 2TB ($369.99 - Newegg), and it is a 3-year-old model with the original SMI SM2262 controller.
The 2TB BPX Pro isn't the fastest drive with the Phison E12 controller, and it's not the fastest overall NVMe SSD shipping today. None of that really matters when the drive gives you 90% of the performance of the best available, but with a massive discount that makes it affordable.
It shouldn't surprise anyone to see MyDigitalSSD with the best "bang for your buck" high-capacity SSD. This is where the company targets its products. For you to tell the difference between the BPX Pro and a faster NVMe SSD you would need to be a product tester with a stopwatch. It's not a glamorous job - I promise you don't want it.
What you can see when choosing the BPX Pro over the other 2TB NVMe SSDs shipping today is the bump in your wallet. The new $330 price point is the lowest we've seen for a premium NVMe SSD. Sadly, we don't know how long these prices can hold with the flash companies talking about reducing manufacturing output.
At just $330 for the 2TB model at the time of writing I don't see how anyone could pass this drive over. You get full NVMe performance for the cost of SATA.
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