addlink S92 2TB QLC M.2 PCIe SSD Review

Micron QLC and Phison's E16 Gen4 controller has turned out to be a rather potent and cost-effective combo. Let's take a look now.

@JonCoulterSSD
Published Wed, Dec 30 2020 1:09 PM CST   |   Updated Wed, Dec 30 2020 2:33 PM CST
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: addlink (ad2TBS92M2P)

Introduction & Drive Details

Phison Electronics is the SSD supplier behind many retail brands of SSDs, and addlink has been working with them for years. addlink's new SSD, the S92, is designed to bring Gen4 speeds to consumers at bargain pricing. The 2TB S92 is powered by Phison's proven E16 Gen4 x4 controller, a 4-bit (QLC) Micron flash array composed of four 512GB flash packages, and two DRAM packages.

This is becoming a fairly common hardware configuration, but what is a bit uncommon is getting a 2TB Gen4 SSD for $278 USD. We checked around, and as far as we can tell, the addlink S92 is the lowest priced 2TB Gen4 SSD on the market. addlink's approach seems to be to keep costs down by offering just what you need. While nice to have, most consumers actually do not need cloning software, heat sinks, or SSD toolboxes with extensive features and would rather forgo them for a lower price point.

We feel that addlink's S92 2TB SSD is ideally suited for budget-conscious owners of AMD Gen4 platforms such as ASRock's B550 Steel Legend or similar. As we've been saying for some time now, 2TB is the sweet spot for fast NVMe storage, so this SSD is one to take a close look at.

Drive Details

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Like the S92 is a barebones type of SSD with minimal packaging and no heat sink or thermal label, however, the drive itself is fairly attractive with a chrome label and a black PCB.

Jon's Test System Specifications

Buy at Amazon

addlink S92 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$262.88$277.88-
* Prices last scanned on 1/17/2021 at 2:50 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Free SSD Software

Addlink PCIe ToolBox

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Click here to download.

addlink offers what we can only call a weak attempt at an SSD toolbox. You can't do anything useful with it, not even update firmware. No reason we can see to even download it.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM & Anvils

CrystalDiskMark

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The S92 starts by delivering higher than advertised sequential speeds, which is always nice to see. This SSD, like all Phison-powered SSDs, delivers superior random write performance at QD1.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

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We are looking for a minimum total read score of 6,000, and the S92 delivers us that and then some with a total read score of over 7,000. Quite remarkable considering this is a QLC based SSD. A total combined score of over 20K is again impressive.

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We can exceed factory max random specs despite our more demanding user state of OS disk 50% full. We don't see that very often. Impressive.

Synthetic Benchmarks: AS SSD & ATTO

AS SSD

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Another stout performance from the S92. Anytime an SSD can hit 7k or better, we take notice.

ATTO

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We don't get our wish of full speed at 128K; however, we do get our 40 MB/s at 512B. Due to its Gen4 interface, the S92 delivers one of the best performances we've seen to date.

Real-World Testing: Transfer Rates & Gaming

Transfer Rates

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So impressive. This is a very hard to digest 100GB block of data composed of 62,000 files, and the QLC-powered S92 does it better than most TLC or even MLC SSDs.

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Consumer tasks are 80% read 20% write, so serving data is more important than programming it in the consumer space. The S92 can serve it incredibly well.

Game Level Loading

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Unlike our transfer test, where the data being served is coming off SLC programmed flash, our game level load test is coming off QLC, which is why the S92 is near the bottom of the chart. However, it's only a half-second slower per level load than our current high-capacity champion 960 Pro.

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

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QLC-powered SSDs typically have a harder time with heavy workloads than lower bit count flash-based SSDs, and the S92 is no exception.

PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark

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Of all the benchmarks we run, this is where we want to see exceptional performance most because most of what consumers do falls into the light to moderate workload category. The S92 does indeed deliver the goods here, which shows that it, despite its value price tag, is one of the best performing SSDs currently on the market.

Final Thoughts

Gen4 goodness at downright bargain pricing is what addlink's S92 2TB SSD is all about. We love it because it performs so well, hits the capacity sweet spot perfectly, and is backed with a 5-year warranty.

Because it is priced so well, we don't mind that it comes with nothing extra or fancy packaging because all you really need is the drive itself. If you need to clone, there is freeware for that (click here to download) and free monitoring software (click here to download) as well. We do not count addlink's "SSD Toolbox" as a value add because it can't even update the firmware.

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User experience is where it's at as we see it, and the S92 delivers an overall user experience that belies its price tag and is better than many of the big names in solid-state storage.

addlink S92 2TB QLC M.2 PCIe SSD Review 40 | TweakTown.com

Looking back at our test results, addlink's S92 2TB SSD delivers several highlights worth noting. Testing with Anvil's revealed it could hit 16K IOPS at 4K QD1 random read. That's impressive, as is a total score of 20.5K, and its over 900K max random write performance. The drive's transfer rates are really good, actually eye-popping when considering that this is a QLC SSD. Finally, we are pleased with the S92 as it relates to moderate workload performance and overall user experience.

The addlink S92 2TB represents one of the best values in Gen4 we've seen to date and, as such, is well-deserving of one of our highest awards.

Pros

  • Price Point
  • Moderate Workloads
  • 5-Year Warranty

Cons

  • Heavy Workloads
Buy at Amazon

Performance

90%

Quality

95%

Features

90%

Value

100%

Overall

94%

The Bottom Line

Maybe the best value in Gen4.

TweakTown award
94%

addlink S92 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$262.88$277.88-
* Prices last scanned on 1/17/2021 at 2:50 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

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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