Introduction & Drive Details
Most of the focus in the NVMe world tends toward performance being the most important factor. We tend to lean in that direction as well, but there is more to the world of solid-state storage than speed alone. In fact, it could be said with a good amount of veracity to it, that at a certain point, capacity becomes just as important as performance, maybe even more important. We have been known to use the phrase "capacity is king" on many occasions.
Think of it like this. What would you be better off with, a 1TB bleeding-edge performer that blasts out 7,400 MB/s throughput but can't hold all your games and data, or an SSD like TeamGroup's MP34Q 4TB? 4TB can hold a ton of data, maybe even everything you use on a regular basis. It's not as fast as a 7,000 MB/s fire breathing SSD by the numbers, but in many, if not most scenarios, you can't really tell the difference between it and more powerful SSDs. If an SSD is fast enough, then capacity starts to edge out performance as the most important factor for your overall user experience.
Some will say bleeding-edge performance is what they will pursue over everything else and are willing to pay dearly for it. But for those of you that want fast enough storage and a lot of it, at a very reasonable price point, then this review is for you because the TeamGroup MP34Q 4TB is just what the doctor ordered. Coming in at a little over 13 cents per GB, the 4TB MP34Q represents one of the best value propositions out there for a 4TB NVMe SSD.
At that price, the drive is, of course, QLC flash based, and you will have to deal with the lower speeds inherent to QLC SSDs when programing (writing data) outside the drive's SLC cache, but for most consumers, this is not much of an issue. Here is why. Consumers tend to write large chunks of data to their SSDs very rarely but read that data very often. So, what is important in the consumer space is read performance, not write as is so commonly exaggerated by reviewers.
Take gaming, for example. You download the game once (write it), and you play it (read it) hundreds if not thousands of times. Who cares if it takes an extra 10 minutes to install a 150GB game the few times it is done? What matters is how the drive serves data to the host (read) the hundreds of times you play the game. When reading data over the full span of the drive, QLC flash can be just as good as TLC or even SLC, or good enough that you can't really notice a difference, or good enough that the small trade-off in perceivable performance is worth it for all that glorious affordable capacity.
4TB, QLC, and Gen3 NVMe might be what you really want but didn't even know it. Reads back data very fast, and being Gen3, it inherently runs much cooler than fire-breathing Gen4 monsters.
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 11 Pro 64-bit Buy from Amazon
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, Anvil, ATTO
CDM testing confirms the MP34Q 4TB can deliver faster than claimed sequential speeds. Excellent. QD1 random performance is also quite good, with the MP34Q beating some big-name TLC and even an MLC drive where it matters most.
Anvil's Storage Utilities
Read scoring is bottom of our chart, but much of that is due to the drive's limited sequential speed, which contrary to popular folklore, is not what makes an SSD fast. In this case, looking at our max read IOPS chart gives us a truer perspective of how the drive dishes out performance where it matters.
Very close to full speed at 128KB transfers and speeds that are upper tier for a Gen3 interface. Excellent.
Real-World Testing: Transfers, Gaming, PCM10
Our data block, or most of it anyway, fits in the drive's SLC cache, so we are getting quite respectable numbers here considering QLC flash on a Gen3 interface. It is beating a couple of TLC SSDs for good measure. However, as we explained earlier, once we are outside of the drive's pseudo-SLC cache, speeds will slow down further, but remember, consumers read data often and write large chunks rarely.
Okay, here is where performance matters for the average consumer. Reading data. As demonstrated by our chart, the MP34Q can do this quite well. It's doing it even better than the olde tyme 970 Pro that so many still (wrongly) consider fast. Keep in mind that QLC SSDs can read at full speed across the full span of the drive.
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. This is probably the best demonstration of what this drive has to offer in a nutshell. Gaming, after the game is installed, is practically pure read, and look at how well the MP34Q does.
You are talking about a difference of 2.3 seconds over 5 level loads between it and the world's fastest flash-based SSD. To some, 2.3 seconds means everything; to some, it's trivial and cost-plus capacity is the better user experience. Look, it is actually beating some Gen4 SSDs with TLC flash arrays.
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
This test writes a lot of data and is notoriously hard on QLC SSDs. All in all, the MP34Q performs here exactly as expected.
PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark
Light consumer workloads are more in line with what this drive can do well. The good news is the majority of typical consumer workloads fall into this category. The MP34Q again beats the olde tyme 970 Pro and even one of our favorites, the SK Hynix Gold P31. Look, a little over 150 points is the difference between it and the 7,000 MB/s E18 with 96L Micron drives like its cousin, the Cardea A440.
Essentially this proves our point that for typical consumer usage, you will be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the MP34Q and a fire-breathing Gen4 monster when reading data.
As we see it and feel we've adequately demonstrated, TeamGroup's ultra-high capacity 4TB MP34Q could be the perfect pathway to having all your data on fast NVMe storage. The price is right, and the performance is plenty good for most consumers. It's fast, many times faster than anything in the SATA realm. As long as you are doing normal stuff like gaming and common consumer workloads, it can be hard to discern a difference between it and performance-oriented Gen4 SSDs when reading data. Consumers read data often and write it rarely, keep that in mind.
We rank SSDs in terms of overall user experience (performance where it matters most) as expressed by PCMark 10 storage tests. The MP34Q places third from the bottom of our chart, pretty much as expected for what it is. However, do note that it is beating a Gen4 TLC SSD and a Gen3 MLC SSD.
Ultra-high capacity, low cost, and good read performance have earned TeamGroup's 4TB MP34Q a coveted TweakTown award. It could be just what you've been looking for.
- Massive Capacity
- Random Read
- Write Intensive Workloads
The Bottom Line
Ultra-high capacity and affordable with good read performance.