When flash is cheap everyone gets in the SSD game. GIGABYTE is no exception. The company, best known for motherboards, has released a handful of SSDs over the years when the market provided the opportunity. What makes the latest release special is the advanced integration of the company's RGB lighting technology. It's also a very fast consumer SSD. Turn the lights off; the GIGABYTE AORUS RGB M.2 NVMe SSD is about to shine.
RGB for 'all the things' is polarizing. I suspect half of our audience, the older portion; have already clicked past this article from the title alone. The other half, mostly younger readers, will follow every word.
Personally, I transitioned from being an RGB hater to admiring nice builds with the technology. For me, it doesn't matter if it's a small dose of color or a full on shower of the bling-bling. What makes RGB look good isn't the amount, it's the synchronization. To date, all RGB SSDs have been standalone products with either a single color, like the Intel Optane SSD 905P, or a predefined pattern, like the Plextor M9Pe add-in card.
The GIGABYTE AORUS is the first M.2 SSD that integrates into the company's RGB Fusion 2.0 system to give users full control of the pattern and color. The drive is an extension of the motherboard at that point and not a simple afterthought.
Lights are one thing, but this section is about the speeds and feeds. GIGABYTE released this series in just two capacities, 256GB and 512GB. The company also announced a PCIe add-in card for larger capacities that will come to market in June.
The shipping drives use the familiar Phison PS5012-E12 controller combined with Toshiba's BiCS FLASH 64L 3-bit per cell memory. This is the same combination as the MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro, Corsair Force MP510, and other low-cost popular drives shipping today. The difference here is two-fold. The AORUS M.2 NVMe SSD adds RGB lighting and a heat sink.
I think we're all up to speed on RGB lighting, but the heat sink is fairly new for SSDs. The additional aluminum doesn't increase spec-level performance. The 256GB drive we're testing today shares specifications with many other NVMe SSDs based on the same controller and memory combination. What the heat sink actually does is keeps the controller outside of the thermal throttle state for longer than a drive without a heat dissipation device. Essentially, you can read and write more data before the onboard logic lowers performance for self-preservation reasons.
Pricing, Warranty, and Endurance
We've yet to find either of the new AORUS RGB M.2 SSDs in the wild but expect availability soon. GIGABYTE passed along the MSRPs for the small capacity series that starts at $119.99 for the 512GB and $79.99 for the 256GB model.
GIGABYTE backs the series with a lengthy 5-year warranty and ample endurance to span the time.
A Closer Look
GIGABYTE put together an attractive package for the AORUS RGB M.2 SSD. The drive itself also looks great. The center bird lights up with a color change pattern before you address the lighting via the software. We will talk more about the software and overall system support in the conclusion of this review.