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Colorful has been in the personal computer industry for over 25 years, yet many of us aren’t that familiar with its products. This is primarily due to its substantial presence in China and only within about the last decade have they expanded operations to include the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The product we are reviewing today is the Colorful Warhalberd CN600 M.2 PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD. It comes in two sizes (256 GB and 512GB), of which we’re testing the latter. Colorful situates the CN600 as an affordable option for the budget-conscious shopper looking for an entry-level NVMe SSD. We’ll take a detailed look at the drive’s specifications, features, and performance and see if it’s worth a look for your storage needs.
Specifications and Features
Below are the Features and specifications from the Colorful website. While the website lacks hard data, we did manage to dig into what is under the hood and will cover this further in the review. Note: Colorful also offers a Non-Warhalberd CN600. This review is for the Warhalberd, which offers updated internal components and is rated faster than the Non-Warhalberd CN600.
- The Warhalberd CN600 is available in two capacities, 256 GB and 512 GB.
- Built on the M.2 2080 form factor utilizing the M-key slot.
- A DRAM-less PCIe Gen3 x4 with NVMe 1.4 interface.
- Features 4K LDPC error correction technology, and E2E data protection technology.
|Colorful Warhalberd CN600 NVMe Gen3 SSD Specifications|
|Capacity||256 GB or 512 GB|
|Sequential Read / Write (Max*)||Up to 3,300 / 2,600 MB/s|
|Warranty||3 Year Limited|
|Pricing||256 GB $39|
512 GB $59
|Product Page||Warhalberd CN600 512 GB Product Page|
The box the Warhalberd comes in is slightly larger than a deck of cards and is white with red and black print. There is very little information printed on the box other than it is an NVMe, and the four features listed are “Performance, Reliability, Original, and Quality.” Located next to the NVMe designator is a 512 GB sticker informing us that this is the larger of the two models. The back of the package is multilingual and instructs the user to go to its website for detailed warranty and product information. The drive sits in a clamshell plastic insert and a small anti-static bag inside the box to protect it. Two pamphlets are also enclosed: One is an installation guide, and the other is a warranty statement summary.
The Colorful Warhalberd CN600 Drive
The Warhalberd is single-sided and looks like many other gum stick drives. The heatsink covering the internal ICs matches the packaging aesthetics with its white and red coloring. This is the easiest way to identify between the Warhalberd CN600 and Non-Warhalberd, which has a black and red heatsink. A second sticker at the back of the drive includes the model number, drive capacity, product number, serial number, and a QR code, presumably for warranty activation.
Removing the heatsink is painless as it is just thermal tape. With the heat tape removed, we can finally see the controller and 3D NAND ICs. The Warhalberd uses a Maxiotek MAP1202A DRAM-less controller. This is Maxiotek’s newest PCIe Gen3 x4 controller and uses the NVMe 1.4 interface. There are two 3D NAND ICs that display Colorful with an ID number. While digging and contacting our Colorful representative, we uncovered they are Yangtze Memory (YMTC) X2-9060 ICs. These are 128-layer TLC 256 GB chips developed in the fourth quarter of 2019, which will undoubtedly be capable of supporting a PCIe 3.0 drive. There are still two open spots for additional 3D NAND ICs if Colorful opts to manufacture a 1 TB Warhalberd.
Testing Method and Test System
Now that we know what makes the Warhalberd tick, it’s time to put it to the test. We start our testing with three synthetic benchmarks to get the maximum read and write speeds over a variety of scenarios. We follow these synthetic tests with a pair of real-world applications measuring actual transfer times and a hybrid of synthetic results to create a real-world “score.” During the entire testing process, we monitor and record the drive’s maximum temperatures with a thermal probe located directly above the controller. Finally, we compare the results with other 3rd generation PCIe NVMe SSDs.
Below are the tests we run with a brief description.
- Crystal Disk Mark v 7.0.0 x64 – Run at Default Settings (5 Passes)
- AS SSD v 2.0.7316 – Run at Default Settings
- ATTO v 3.05 – Run at Default Settings except for the QD Set to 10
- Thermal Testing – 5 passes back-to-back of Crystal Disk Mark.
- DiskBench v18.104.22.168 – Use predefined 120 GB transfer file
- Anvil Storage Utility Benchmark v 1.1.0 – Default Settings
|Motherboard||ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 3700X|
|CPU Cooler||be quiet! Dark Rock 4|
|Memory||G.SKILL Trident Z RGB 16GB (2×8) 3200MHz CL16-18-18-38|
|OS SSD||MSI Spatium M470 1 TB NVMe|
|Power Supply||be quiet! Pure Power 11 500W|
|Graphics Card||Gigabyte RTX 2070 Gaming OC 8GB|
All tests will be performed with the test drive installed in the top M.2 slot to utilize the direct CPU interface.
Manufacturers will always advertize the drive’s maximum rated speeds, and in the case of the Colorful Warhalberd, it can exceed the advertised speeds. However, this is not the complete picture though. We use CrystalDiskMark to verify a drive’s rated sequential read and write speeds and check the random read and write speeds.
In the first chart, we see the Warhalberd CN600 not only performs above its rating but also outperforms the other Gen3 NVMe drives we have tested. It takes a second seat to the Samsung 970 EVO when the testing uses only a single queue single thread (Q1T1) but still manages a respectable result. The random 4k results are more hit and miss producing lower results in the Q32T16 test but rebounding with an excellent outcome in the Q1T1 test.
AS SSD, similar to CrystalDiskMark, is a synthetic benchmark that tests a drive’s sequential and random read and write speeds. The files’ sizes and thread counts are different, producing slightly different results while maintaining the same concept. Under this scenario, the Warhalberd performed well in each test, performing better than its competitors in some instances while not being left behind in any. There are no glaring weaknesses we can see from these first two benchmarks.
The ATTO benchmark, which utilizes a file size spectrum, shows impressive read and write results. During the read benchmark, it leads in every file size category by a small margin over the Team Group T-Force Cardea Zero. The write phase of this benchmark shows a strong lead for the T-Force on file sizes above 16k, but still great results over the whole spectrum for the Warhalberd, which is the fastest with 16k and smaller files.
With our synthetic testing completed, let’s take a moment to discuss the thermal testing. We use an AMPROBE TMD-52 digital thermometer with a K-Type thermal probe taped directly onto the drive’s controller to get the most accurate results. We record the ambient temperature before testing begins and normalize the results to 23° Celcius. We take an idle temperature reading and allow the drive to cool back to its idle temperature between tests to ensure consistent results. The load results are from the maximum reading measured throughout the benchmark testing process.
The results show the Colorful Warhalberd CN600 idles around 38° Celcius and recorded a maximum load temperature of 56.6°. While Colorful opted not to provide us with an actual operating temperature range, it’s safe to assume it will be similar to most other manufacturers, generally from 0-70° Celcius. These results are far from the thermal throttling point, and high temperatures will not be an issue with this drive. We always test on an open-air bench with only the CPU and GPU fans blowing hot air across the drive.
Moving on to DiskBench provides us with a real-world test designed to determine actual file transfer time. Using a 120 GB file composed of random data, we transfer the file from the primary (OS) drive to the test drive, recording the actual transfer time. If you do a lot of large file transfers, this is the test to pay attention to.
Remember when we stated that sequential and random speed tests don’t show the complete picture? This test proves that with the Warhalberd producing our fasted Gen3 time of 59.65 seconds. More than twice as fast as the Team Group T-Force Cardea Zero and the Samsung 970 EVO. For large file transfers, it performs incredibly well!
Anvil Storage Utility
Our final test is Anvil’s Storage Utility. This is another benchmark that measures read and write speeds, similar to CrystalDiskMark and AS SSD. The main difference is this benchmark produces a performance score for comparison rather than an actual speed. This performance score is more of an all-encompassing overview of the drive’s capabilities.
In this test, the Colorful, Samsung, and T-Force all produce excellent scores leaving the ADATA a little behind due to its poor write score. Overall, the Warhalberd performed well compared to other Gen 3 drives and generated the top result for the run test.
We have reviewed every aspect of the Colorful Warhalberd CN600 and found it to be a capable SSD. While the Maxiotek controller isn’t a powerhouse, it produced impressive results. Compared to other PCIe Gen3 M.2 NVMe drives, it showcased its strengths in both synthetic and real-world tests. It excelled in all of the sequential read tests and performed near the top in our random read and write tests too.
Thermally the drive stayed cool under pressure with a maximum temperature of just 56.6° Celcius. The only negative we could find with the Warhalberd is its lack of capacity with only 512 GB of storage space. This is the lowerest capacity Gen3 SSD we’ve tested, but naturally, this won’t come as a surprise when purchasing. Many users chose to have a primary OS drive and utilize a second drive for media storage. In this case, either the 256 GB or 512 GB version will be ideal.
Finally, we need to discuss the price. While the Colorful Warhalberd CN600 is currently not available anywhere in the U.S. that we could find, it does have an extremely attractive price tag. With a listed price of just $39 for the 256 GB and $59 for the 512 GB, you will be hard-pressed to find a cheaper NVMe drive. Even if you’re not on a tight budget, the Colorful Warhalberd is a strong candidate for your next build, especially if you don’t need a ton of storage space. We feel confident giving it the Colorful Warhalberd the Overclockers.com Stamp of Approval for these reasons.
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