The Bottom Line
Introduction & Drive Details
ADATA, through its XPG line of SSDs, has launched a new 4-channel controlled Gen4 x4 NVMe SSD called the Gammix S50 Lite. This SSD is intriguing to us for several reasons. The XPG Gammix S50 Lite is the first Gen4 SSD we've come across powered by a 4-channel Gen4 controller. So far, we've seen only two Gen4 controllers on retail SSDs, Phison's E18 8-channel controller and Samsung's Elpis 8-channel controller.
Additionally, the S50 Lite represents the first time we've seen a Gen4 controller made by Silicon Motion Inc. (SMI) on a retail SSD. The XPG Gammix S50 Lite, like the name implies, is meant to be a low-cost alternative to the more powerful XPG Gammix S50 Gen4 x4 SSD powered by Phison's 8-channel E16 controller. The XPG Gammix S50 Lite is powered by SMI's 4-channel SM2267 controller.
4-channel controllers are more cost-effective than 8-channel controllers. However, they are also not as fast. Consequently, this is why the S50 Lite sports sequential ratings that are more like what we see from Gen3 SSDs than what we've seen so far from Gen4 SSDs already on the market. However, keep in mind, sequential speeds are not what makes an SSD fast. If you have doubts about that last statement, think Optane.
If there is one thing we've learned about SMI controlled NVMe SSDs over the years, no matter the channel count, they tend to excel at gaming, so we expect the S50 Lite to do the same. Well enough jawing around, let's get ADATA's latest XPG offering on the bench and see what it is made of.
Sequential ratings let us know this is a 4-channel controlled Gen4 SSD. TBW ratings let us know the S50 Lite is sporting a TLC flash array.
A nice-looking semi-thick aluminum heat sink covers the controller side of the S50 Lite. ADATA claims it can effectively reduce temperatures by up to 20%.
Jon's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair Hero VIII Wi-Fi (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II 280 (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: ADATA XPG Z1 DDR4 3800MHz 16GB (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64 (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1000 (buy from Amazon)
- Case: InWin X-Frame
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Free SSD Software
ADATA SSD Toolbox/Acronis OEM
ADATA's SSD Toolbox is one of the best in the business. You can download it here.
ADATA offers a free copy of Acronis OEM for cloning your system over to your new ADATA SSD, which you can download here.
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM & Anvils
We fall a bit short of factory sequential speeds (3900/3200) because ADATA used an old version of CDM that tests sequential speeds at Q32T1 to establish them. Random read performance at QD1 is among the best we've ever recorded, which is typically a great gaming performance indicator.
Anvil's Storage Utilities
The S50 Lite claws its way into a rather elite club by delivering a total read score of 7K plus. Impressive. Almost as impressive as its 18K IOPS performance at QD1 random reads. The overall score is impressive, as well.
We can exceed factory MAX random IOPS figures for both read and write despite our more demanding user state of OS disk 50% filled. We don't see that every day.
Synthetic Benchmarks: AS SSD & ATTO
SMI-controlled SSDs have never done AS SSD very well due to low 4K-64-Thrd performance. However, this is the best we've seen from any SMI-controlled SSD to date.
We are looking for full speed at 128K transfers. The S50 Lite essentially gives us that, which is nice to see. However, again, we see sequential performance that is more like Gen3 than Gen4.
Real-World Testing: Transfer Rates & Gaming
Massive transfer is not easy to handle. The S50 Lite handles it surprisingly well, delivering one of the better performances we've seen to date.
Having only 4-channels catches up with the S50 Lite, we expected a bit more. However, it is the best transfer rate we've seen from an SMI-controlled high capacity SSD.
Game Level Loading
This is what the S50 Lite does best of all. It is a gaming juggernaut. This is a big deal for gamers and reason enough to call the S50 Lite a compelling choice for enthusiasts.
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.
PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark
Surprisingly, the S50 Lite handles heavy consumer workloads with relative ease. Impressive.
PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark
When the workload is more read-intensive, the S50 Lite, as we saw with our transfer test, delivers a bit below average.
ADATA's 2TB XPG Gammix S50 Lite gives us our first insight into what Gen4 silicon from Silicon Motion is all about. Overall, it is looking pretty good, especially as it relates to gaming, which has always been a category where SMI-powered NVMe SSDs have excelled. Most PC enthusiasts are avid gamers, and the 2TB S50 Lite is truly a superior gaming SSD with enough capacity to satisfy most gamers' needs.
The XPG Gammix S50 Lite is just now starting to hit retailers, and street pricing is unclear at this point as the only place to get one seems to be directly from ADATA through Google shopping. We expect that as it is configured, the S50 Lite will end up being priced more like a value SSD than a flagship performer.
The S50 Lite 2TB gives us a bit more than our 4K minimum user experience rating, which is good to see. It is within striking distance of several spots above it, so we can say it will deliver (gaming aside) an average user experience.
The XPG Gammix S50 Lite is a quality build with a TLC flash array and a relatively thin yet substantial heat sink. It sports an impressive endurance rating, excels at gaming, and, surprisingly, handles heavy consumer workloads with ease. With these attributes in mind, ADATA's XPG Gammix Lite S50 2TB SSD is worthy of a TweakTown award.
- Heavy Workloads
- Not Single Sided
- Lite Workloads
The 2TB XPG Gammix S50 Lite is as good as it gets for high capacity gaming usage.
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