ADATA XPG SX8200 M.2 SSD Review

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ADATA launched the XPG SX8200 in late March this year. It’s built around their second generation 64 layer 3D NAND Flash and it’s their fastest consumer SSD to date. I just happen to have one of these drives here today and we’ll see just how fast it is using our usual array of testing.

Specifications and Features

The XPG SX8200 SSDs are available in three sizes, 240 GB and 480 GB which I am testing, and a 960 GB model for extended storage space. ADATA has included a stylish black heat spreader with the SX8200 which bears the XPG logo to aid in cooling for motherboards with cramped quarters and minimal airflow.

As I mentioned the SX8200 is equipped with ADATA’s second generation, 64 layer 3D TLC NAND flash for higher storage density and reliability. The drive is an M.2, “M” key, 2280  form factor with a PCIe3 X 4 interface complying with the NVMe 1.3 standard. Combined with the Silicon Motion SM2262 controller, SLC Caching, and a DRAM Cache buffer the XPG SX8200 offers sustained peak R/W speeds of 3200/1700MB/s respectively.

ADATA has also included some reliability and durability features with the XPG SX8200 SSD such as LDPC ECC (Low-Density-Parity-Check Error Correction), a RAID Engine, and DATA shaping. Together these features improve data integrity and increase the lifespan of the drive by reducing the program/erase cycles. This gives the SX8200 480 GB SSD a TBW of 320 TB and a 2,000,000 MTBF. If all that technical stuff isn’t convincing then a 5-year warranty should be.

The drive itself is your typical 2280 form factor with dimensions of 22 x 80 x 3.5 mm and weighs in at a whopping eight grams. The SX8200 sips the power while active and uses only 0.33 W. In sleep, that value is cut by over half to 0.14W. Recommended operating temperature for the drive is between 0 °C and 70 °C.

Full specifications are in the table below:

ADATA XPG SX8200 M.2 SSD Specifications
Capacity 480 GB (also 240 GB and 960 GB)
Interface  PCIe Gen 3.0 x4
Controller Silicon Motion SM2262
Flash ADATA 2nd Generation 64-layer 3D TLC
Form Factor M.2 Key “M” 2280, NVMe 1.3
Dimensions 22 x 80 x 3.5 mm
DRAM 2 x Nanya 2 GB, 800 MHz, DDR3
MTBF 2,000,000 hours
Sequential Read/Write Speeds Read 3200 MB/s, Write 1700 MB/s
Service & Support 5 Years
Pricing 480 GB is $219.99 @ newegg.com

Packaging/Product Tour

The retail packaging for the ADATA XPG SX8200 is a cardboard box with a picture and capacity of the drive on the front as well as drive type and interface specifications.  The back has a few more features listed in about 20 languages such as transfer speeds, TRIM, SMART and, NCQ support. They also give ADATA’s address and warranty period. The drive itself is encapsulated in a plastic tray which buffers it from the edges of the packaging to help prevent any accidental damage during shipping. Located beneath the SX8200 SSD is the included XPG heatsink.

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The Drive

Below I have included some close-ups of the SX8200 showing some of the IC’s used in its construction as well as the included heatsink. At the heart of the drive, we find the Silicon Motion SM2262 controller and a pair of 2 GB NANYA DDR3 SDRAM memory chips. You’ll also see a couple of ADATA’s new 64-layer NAND flash chips on each side of the drive, I have to assume they are 120 GB each since there are four of them as I had a hard time digging up much info on their NAND by searching the part number. Seems ADATA is pretty tight-lipped about their technology.

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Software

ADATA offers their SSD Toolbox software, downloadable from their website, to aid in drive maintenance. The Toolbox offers up a lot of information about the SSD such as remaining life, health, and temperature as well as your system specifications. You can view the drive’s details as well as the SMART data retrieved from it. From the utility page, you can check for and update the drive’s firmware as well as update the Toolbox utility. You can also manually run the TRIM command from the Toolbox and also run an OS optimization utility to squeeze the most performance out of the SX8200.

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Testing Method and Test System

The ADATA XPG SX8200 SSD was installed as an Operating System drive, this makes secure erasing or formatting impossible. I chose to do this as I feel it gives more of a real-world experience and closely resembles what any user may expect to see when doing the same with their own system. The majority of users would purchase this type of SSD as their main operating drive and it doesn’t seem realistic to test it in any other fashion. I would also like to add that I am using a current version of Windows Pro x64 with the meltdown/ specter patches applied. This has been shown to have some effect on read/writes of smaller data sets on NVMe drives.

Below are the tests we run with a brief description.

  • Crystal Disk Mark – Run at Default Settings (5 Passes)
  • AS SSD – Run at Default Settings
  • ATTO – Run at Default Settings except for the QD Set to 10
  • Anvil Storage Utility Benchmark – Default Settings
Test System Components
Motherboard ASUS Z370 Strix-E Gaming
CPU Intel i7 8700K
Memory 2×8 GB G.Skill FlareX 3200 DDR4 CL-14
SSD ADATA XPG SX8200 480 GB
Power Supply Superflower 1000 W
Video Card ASUS GTX 1080 Ti Strix

Performance/Results

CrystalDiskMark

Our first stop is with CrystalDiskMark and its random reads and writes. For reads, we can see the XPG SX8200 takes a fairly substantial lead over the competition in all the tests except for the 4K QD32 where it is trailing the others.

Moving on to writes, we see a solid performance in the sequential tests easily leading the others. The 4K single writes were the lowest of the group here, even with the added queue depth in 4K 32QD, it’s lagging behind the others.

CrystalDiskMark – Reads

CrystalDiskMark – Writes

AS SSD

AS SSD is considered one of the toughest benchmarks available for solid state drives. It relies solely on incompressible data which translates to a “worst case scenario” for data transfer.  Reads are showing similar to above except in the 4K-64Thrd read where the SX8200 makes a strong showing slightly trailing the Intel 750, looks like the extended queue depth helps with the small data sets.

Moving on the writes, the SX8200 again does well in the sequential and 64thrd portions of the tests, easily outpacing the others but it’s still taking a back seat in the 4K data sets.

AS SSD – Reads

AS SSD – Writes

In this next set of tests, the ADATA XPG SX8200 scores very well compared to the others but has the highest access times of all the tested drives. The higher access times really don’t appear to affect the overall performance of the drive significantly. You can see, however, how the access time directly correlates to the 4K performance numbers in the graphs above.

AS SSD – Access Times

AS SSD – Scores

ATTO

ATTO works off the “best case scenario” for SSDs which is likely why it’s popular with the manufacturers. In this sequential, highly compressible benchmark, the SX8200 does very well throughout the testing until we hit the 16K Read segment where it begins to be outpaced by the Patriot Hellfire. This continues through all the Write tests where the Hellfire is particularly strong but as I said this is a best-case scenario. Removing it from the equation we see the SX8200 outpacing the rest of the drives once again.

ATTO – Reads

Anvil Storage Utility

This application goes through several different tests giving one an idea of all-around performance. The ADATA scores very well and after looking at our past reviews I can say that to date, this is the highest scoring drive we have run through the Anvil benchmark.

Anvil Storage Utility Benchmark

Conclusion

The ADATA XPG SX8200 is a very fast drive, offering everything most anyone could want. The M.2 2280 drive comes in three sizes, 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB which should fit most needs or budgets for system builders and Gamers. ADATA has also packed a lot of features into this drive such as the newer Silicon Motion controller with SLC caching, and a 4 GB DDR3 cache buffer all to help increase transfer speeds. It also comes with a nice-looking heat spreader which would be very nice if the drive is exposed on the motherboard and easily visible. In my case, the motherboard had a heat sink of its own so it wasn’t necessary to install it. It’s just a peel and stick type of installation so it’s quite simple to adhere it if necessary.

With a price tag of $219.99 on Newegg.com for the 480 GB model, it falls right between Samsung’s newest SSDs the 970 Pro and EVO. I haven’t tested either one of these drives yet but judging by the advertised read/write speeds these are pretty formidable SSDs. At this price point that offers a lot of competition for the ADATA XPG SX8200, especially going up against a name like Samsung. As it sits right now, I found the SX8200 performed very well and I feel it’s priced accordingly for the technology you are getting. Overclockers Approved!

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Shawn Jennings – Johan45

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