Introduction & Drive Details
SATA-based consumer storage, while not dead by any means, has clearly taken a backseat to NVMe. With NVMe SSDs now in a majority position with enthusiasts of all types, the mainstream is no longer focused solely on performance. With flash prices dropping and simultaneously competition from retailers heating up, many mainstream users have refocused their attention to the burgeoning NVMe value segment.
MyDigital, as they always do are looking to serve up the best value in solid state storage. Their newest value-oriented offering, the SBXe, is another head turner. MDD's SBXe series SSDs are based on Phison's new PS5013-E13T 4-channel, 4-lane DRAMless controller. By utilizing Phison's E13T controller, MyDigital can offer what is right now the lowest cost SSD on the market. The absence of DRAM helps lower production costs, as does employing four instead of the normal eight channels.
DRAMless SSDs used to be an automatic no from us, but as the technology has matured, we are starting to change our minds about them. What makes today's DRAMless SSDs tick is called HMB, or Host Memory Buffer, technology that is baked into current versions of Windows 10 NVMe driver. HMB allocates a tiny bit of system DRAM (usually 64MB) to perform SSD functions normally done by the SSDs onboard DRAM. With HMB technology, DRAMless SSDs can deliver NVMe performance that is good enough for most mainstream users and do so for the lowest cost possible.
MDD's SBXe is definitely priced right, but how does it stack up performance wise? Let's dive in and take a closer look:
Right off the bat, we are pleased to find that the SBXe is a single-sided design. Additionally, we like the aesthetics of the drive as it will compliment any blue-themed builds out there.
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM & Anvils
MDD rates sequential performance for the 960GB SBXe at up to 2,500 MB/s read and 2,100 MB/s write based on CrystalDiskMark. Our AMD Zen 2 platform had no issues matching factory spec even with the SBXe running our OS and 50% filled with data. This is about 4x better than what SATA SSDs are serving up.
Additionally, QD1 random performance as measured by CDM is impressive, especially random write where we find the SBXe beating all but the MP600.
Anvil's Storage Utilities
A total score of over 15K is impressive when you consider that the SBXe is a 4-channel DRAMless design. Now focusing in on the read score as we like to do, we fine the SBXe coming in just behind Kingston's A2000, but doing FAR better than Intel's popular 660P. Moving over to write scoring, we find the SBXe serving up some excellent burst performance.
We don't place much importance on max random IOPS, we are just showing what the drive can deliver while running in our test-state. We can exceed factory random write specs, but we are not able to match factory max random read specs due to the drive being filled 50% with data.
Synthetic Benchmarks: AS SSD & ATTO
Total scoring is much better than we were expecting. However, our focus is on read scoring and again we find the SBXe nipping at the heels of Kingston's A2000. All things considered; this is fairly impressive for a DRAMless SSD. Again, the SBXe easily outperforms Intel's 660p.
We focus on 128K transfers when evaluating ATTO results. This time we find the SBXe near the top of the charts. However, like we find with all Gen3 Phison-based SSDs, these are somewhat dubious results because of the way compressible data is handled by the controller. These results are not necessarily reflective of real-world results which is why neither Phison nor MDD uses ATTO for factory specs.
Real-World Testing: Game Loading & PCM8
About 2.2 seconds separates the SBXe from the best performing flash-based SSD on our chart. We would like to see better performance here, but all in all it's still more than acceptable for a 1TB class SSD that costs less than $90.
This went about as we expected it would for a DRAMless SSD with 64-Layer flash. The SBXe comes in last place, but it is still considerably better than what you will get from a SATA-based SSD.
Real-World Testing: Transfer Rates
This is a big chunk of data composed of more than 62,000 files and 100GB in size. Transfers of this magnitude can be quite taxing on a test subject. That said, we find this result quite impressive for a DRAMless SSD as it is delivering roughly 2x the performance of Intel's 660P.
We are again pleasantly surprised by the transfer capabilities of the SBXe. 1,767 MB/s read is impressive especially when you consider the SSDs that the SBXe is besting in this test.
Looking back at our test results we feel that MyDigital's SBXe delivers performance that is totally on par for its price point. We are looking at under 9 cents per raw gigabyte which is the lowest we've seen to this point. The SBXe did well with our synthetic testing where it beat out several other popular value options with ease. Game level loading could have been a bit better, but even there it delivers what we consider acceptable performance. We would like to see better workload performance, but again this is a DRAMless SSD, so we aren't going to get everything we want performance wise. Looking at our transfer testing, the SBXe delivers the goods well, exceeding our expectations for both read and write transfers.
MyDigital's SBXe is aimed directly at converting SATA users over to NVMe. Considering it is up to 4x faster than SATA SSDs and that it is priced below what you will pay for a 1TB SATA SSD, we feel that MyDigital's SBXe is a very compelling option. In fact, when we directly compare it with Intel's massively popular 660P we are of the opinion that overall, the SBXe is a better SSD both in terms of overall performance and pricing. Then factor in the fact that the SBXe has an endurance rating that is more than 3x better than the 660P and we have a winner.
Up to 4x faster than SATA, a better value than Intel's 660P and the lowest cost per gigabyte of any SSD we can find including SATA are the reasons why MyDigital's SBXe NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD is TweakTown approved and recommended.
- Overall Value
- Sequential Performance
- 5-Year Warranty
- Workload Performance
The Bottom Line
At this time, MyDigital's SBXe 960GB NVMe SSD is the lowest priced 1TB class 4-Lane M.2 SSD SSD on the market and we feel it delivers a great value proposition to the end-user.
MyDigital SBXe NVMe PCIe Gen3.1 x4 M.2 SSD
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