addlink S90 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD Review

addlink S90 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD Review

addlink joins the Gen4 SSD revolution, and here is our full review of the S90 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 drive.

| May 26, 2020 at 8:55 am CDT
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: addlinkModel: ad1TBS90M2P

Introduction & Drive Details

addlink is a long-time partner with Phison Electronics, so it is no surprise that they have joined the Gen4 SSD revolution. As a company, addlink has built a reputation for value by offering premium performing SSDs and other mobile memory products for bargain pricing. Their newest SSD, the S90, is just such a product. It is currently among the lowest priced Gen4 SSDs on the market, and it still delivers performance that is equivalent to higher-priced competitors.

The addlink S90 is a bare-bones type of SSD that sans costly features like a heat sink for better pricing. We like this approach for a few reasons. First off, if a large heat sink is not removable, it can interfere with other components. Additionally, many motherboards have built-in M.2 thermal solutions that cannot function with a heat sink integrated onto the SSD. Finally, as we've shown many times, a heat sink is rarely required for throttle free performance.

Like all Gen4 SSDs to this point, addlink's S90 has at its heart a blazing fast Phison E16 controller. Phison's E16 PCIe Gen4 x4 controller is the world's first to deliver 5GB/s sequential performance in the consumer space. As we've stated previously, we believe that if you want to get the most from your current AMD Gen4 enabled platform, you are going to want a Phison E16 powered SSD like addlink's S90.

Gen4 performance at bargain pricing is something we are always excited about, now let's take a close look at the actual numbers.

Drive Details

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Performance specs are in-line with what we typically see from any E16 powered SSD. Like we mentioned, the S90 is a drive only bare-bones package. There is no cloning software offered nor an SSD toolbox.

Jon's Test System Specifications

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM & Anvils

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Okay, there you have it, 5,000 MB/s sequential performance as advertised. Sequential write doesn't hit the advertised spec of 4,400 MB/s, but E16 powered SSDs can only hit that speed when they are empty or close to empty. Random performance looks good, especially our random write speed of 318 MB/s, which is the best number we've seen to date for any consumer SSD running on an AMD platform.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

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The S90 delivers a massive overall score as we've become accustomed to seeing when testing E16 powered SSDs. When we dissect it a bit more, we are pleased to see a total read score of 7,776 which is well above what any flash-based Gen3 SSD can serve up. Read performance matters most, especially random read at QD1 where the S90 gives us the 15K IOPS that we are looking for.

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Max random IOPS results are impressive as expected.

Synthetic Benchmarks: AS SSD & ATTO

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The S90 takes no prisoners when tested with AS SSD's unique data mix. Even Intel's exotic Optane 905P is no match for the Gen4 speeds addlink's S90 SSD is serving up. No other SSD in our test pool can even come close to hitting 7K, let alone over 8K.

ATTO

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The advantage Gen4 brings in terms of sequential performance is quite evident by these results. Nothing else is even close. We also note the exceptional small file performance as served up by the S90. Whenever we see over 40 MB/s at 512 B transfers, we take notice.

Real-World Testing: Transfer Rates & Gaming

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Optane gets the better of the S90, but that's about it. The addlink S90 easily outperforms the rest of the competition that comprises our test pool.

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As expected, when it comes to reading our data block, the S90 easily defeats all of the competitors in our test pool.

Game Level Loading

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Here is the one area where we wish Phison powered SSDs did a little better. Although not bad, we are looking for sub 11-second total loading times. We are still holding out hope that a firmware update might remedy this.

Real-World Testing: PCMark 10 Storage Tests

PCMark 10 Storage Test is the most advanced and most accurate real-world consumer storage test ever made. There are four different tests you can choose from; we run two of them. The Full System Drive Benchmark and the Quick System Drive Benchmark. The Full System Drive Benchmark writes 204 GB of data over the duration of the test. The Quick System Drive Benchmark writes 23 GB of data over the duration of the test. These tests directly correlate with user experience. Of the two tests, we feel that the Quick System Drive Test most accurately replicates a typical user experience.

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As this chart demonstrates, the addlink S90 is very capable of delivering Tier-1 performance in a heavy-duty workload environment. E16 powered SSDs chew right through heavy workloads making the S90 well suited for a workstation usage, especially when you consider the drive's massive endurance rating.

PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark

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This is where we want to see great performance most, and this is where we find addlink's S90 SSD delivering the goods. We consider any score over 3K elite performance, the S90 gives us that and then some.

Final Thoughts

Gen4 performance at a bargain price is something we are always on the lookout for, and addlink's S90 1TB delivers exactly that. Additionally, the S90 carries with it class-leading endurance ratings and warranty period. We have only one gripe, and that is the lack of an SSD Toolbox or cloning software.

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Our primary focus is always superior user experience, not sequential numbers, as is so often the focus of other evaluations and uninformed consumers. As is the case with all Phison E16 powered SSDs, addlink's S90 gives us both, which is something we rarely see.

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A quick check of our test results reveals several standout performances for addlink's S90 1TB Gen4 SSD. Our CDM testing demonstrated the S90's ability to generate speeds over 5 GB/s when serving up data to the host. Anvil's testing saw the S90 deliver a whopping score of well over 21K and, more importantly, a QD1 random read performance of over 15K IOPS.

Finally, and most impressive, we were treated to superior user experience, as evidenced by our PCMark 10 full and quick storage test results. As our TweakTown user experience ranking clearly shows, addlink's S90 is one of the best performing SSDs money can buy, which is why it has earned TweakTown's highest award.

Pros

  • Value
  • User Experience
  • 5-Year Warranty

Cons

  • No SSD Toolbox
Buy at Amazon

Performance

99%

Quality

98%

Features

85%

Value

95%

Overall Rating

94%

The Bottom Line

Gen 4 performance with value pricing is what the S90 has to offer.

TweakTown award
94%

addlink S90 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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