Introduction & Drive Details
UPDATED 9-15-21: Please note ADATA has issued a firmware update (3.2.F.2A) for its S70 Blade that completely changes our outlook on the drive. With this firmware update the 2TB S70 Blade has gone from an average performer to TweakTown Elite. We've updated all images, charts and upgraded its award to reflect the massive change for the better. All charts will show before and after the FW update.
Normally we would not care enough to do an update, but the magnitude of this performance increase compels us to do so. We will not be changing our original wording throughout the review, as it has already been published, so some of what you may read no longer applies. The important thing is with its new firmware it is certified TweakTown Elite and Editors Choice.
It seems as though everyone is jumping on the PS5 storage expansion bandwagon lately. It's not hard to imagine why, with millions upon millions of PS5 consoles in desperate need of more internal storage. ADATA has revamped its S70 series, making it very PlayStation 5 friendly. ADATA's newest S70 iteration is called the S70 Blade. The S70 Blade sans the oversized heat sink that came preinstalled on its original XPG Gammix S70 model for something much thinner and more compatible with a variety of devices, including the PS5. ADATA has verified that the S70 Blade meets all requirements for PS5 internal storage expansion, and we see it as potentially a very good fit indeed for that purpose.
ADATA has also made some changes to the S70, including sticking a 176Layer Micron TLC flash array behind its InnoGrit IG5236 PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe controller. In fact, the S70 Blade represents our first look at this particular controller/flash pairing. ADATA states the S70 Blade is capable of delivering sequential read/write speeds of up to 7400/6800 MB/s. We ran a quick CDM on our AMD system to verify this claim:
We had no problem exceeding claimed sequential read speeds, and in fact, we nearly hit 7,500 MB/s. We fell a bit short of ADATA's claimed 6,800 MB/s sequential write claim, but we got close enough that we will call it good. Now, those sequential speeds are eye-catching, to be sure, but we have our eye on something we find far more intriguing; 4K Q1T1 random read as it is hovering at record levels. This is what 176Layer flash, along with new firmware, is bringing to the table. Additionally, this new flash/firmware combo is said to enable much-needed lower operating temps.
Now let's dive in and take a close look at ADATA's XPG Gammix S70 Blade.
The S70 Blade is currently priced at what we feel is a massive bargain. Pricing like that is almost unheard of for a hyper-class SSD like the S70, and you get the full 1024GB or 2048GB.
The drive comes naked with an optional heat sink. Just the way we like it. The included heat sink is pretty thin, and there is some question whether it can cool the drive effectively in certain scenarios.
Jon's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus XIII HERO - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i9-11900KF - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Alphacool Eissturm Hurricane Copper 45 - Buy from Amazon
- RAM: XPG DDR4 D50 Xtreme 5000MHz 16GB (8GB x 2) - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: Zotac 2080Ti AMP Edition - Buy from Amazon
- Case: PrimoChill's Praxis Wetbench - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 1000W 80+ Gold Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit Buy from Amazon
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO
The S70 Blade comes out swinging, delivering a lab record for this hardware /software configuration for the highest sequential read speed. Additionally, and certainly surprisingly, the drive ties with Samsung's 980 Pro for the highest 4K Q1T1 random read numbers we've ever seen from a flash-based SSD. Typically, this bodes well for real performance that matters, so this is encouraging to see.
Anvil's Storage Utilities
Well, this certainly runs contrary to what we hoped to see from the S70 Blade with its new 176Layer flash array. We know that the IG5326 controller is capable of delivering much more under the right conditions, as exemplified by our newly crowned performance leader, the Plextor M10P 2TB. Then we find the S70 Blade again running contrary to our expectations by delivering a lab record 1 million read IOPS. This is exactly why synthetic results cannot be used as the sole basis for performance rankings. Synthetic numbers can only be used for verifying stated throughput claims.
Sequential speeds at QD4 128K are not improved with the upgrade to 176L flash, as you can see from its older S70 sibling.
Real-World Testing: Transfers, Gaming, PCM10
Performance that matters, and the S70 Blade steps up and delivers one of the best transfer rates we've seen from any SSD we've tested to date. This is encouraging.
Again, the S70 Blade steps up to the plate and delivers blistering performance where we want to see it.
Game Level Loading
Gaming is a performance metric that matters to the majority of DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. The S70 Blade places near the top of our chart, demonstrating that it is an excellent choice for gaming duties.
PCM10 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 mainstream user experience.
PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark
A storage bandwidth of 512 MB/s is respectable for sure, but it is, however, the lowest result we've seen from an IG5236 controlled SSD running on an Intel-based system.
PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark
We see below-average performance here and again, the lowest we've recorded for any IG5236 controlled SSD running on an Intel platform. Oddly enough, the upgrade to 176Layer flash is not translating into a better user experience.
The S70 Blade is kind of a mixed bag as we see it. The drive has shown itself to be one of the better gaming SSDs available, even beating out the likes of Samsung's 980 Pro and ADATA's own gaming juggernaut S50 Lite. Superior gaming performance is primarily what ADATA has set out to do with the S70 Blade, and in that respect, they have come through with flying colors. On the other hand, upgrading to 176L flash has done nothing to improve the drive's consumer workload performance.
We rank SSDs in terms of overall user experience (performance where it matters most) as expressed by PCMark 10 storage tests. We consider a user experience score of over 7K to verify an SSD as TweakTown Elite. Although the S70 Blade has proven itself a competent SSD worthy of consideration for your next build or PS5 storage expansion, it's not showing itself to be TweakTown Elite.
While the S70 Blade isn't the absolute best performer we've had come across our test bench, it does present an extreme value for a Hyper-Class SSD. Less than 15 cents per gigabyte for a superior PCIe Gen4 x4 gaming SSD capable of more than 7,400 MB/s throughput is something that should not be overlooked. The excellent gaming performance and value pricing have earned the ADATA XPG Gammix S70 Blade 2TB one of our highest awards.
As clearly demonstrated by our updated charts and screenshots the ADATA XPG S70 Blade 2TB with FW 3.2.F.2A and 176Layer flash is one of the best performing SSDs ever made. We have certified it TweakTown Elite and bestowed it our highest award. We will also add that as currently priced, it may present the highest value in its class. Awesome job ADATA!
- 7,400 MB/s Throughput
The Bottom Line
Certified as a TweakTown Elite performer and less than 15 cents per gigabyte. You do not want to miss out on ADATA's awesome S70 Blade 2TB.