If your PC needs a speed boost in the storage department, would this NVMe M.2 SSD from Adata be a good one to choose?
In the box
With the XPG you get the M.2 itself and that is pretty much it. All the parts you need to install it will be bundled with your motherboard of choice.
Design and Build
The SX8000 is a good looking M.2 and features a prominent XPG logo on the front along with the Adata branding. It should look really nice in a Black/Red system but if you’re using a different colour scheme then it may not match. In my system its covered by the GPU but if yours is showing you can always purchase an EKWB M.2 cover and tie it into the theme of your PC.
One thing I did notice is that the logo is the wrong way round when installed in my system, this may not be any issue for you, depending on the M.2 orientation on your motherboard. Its not a deal breaker really and I know they can’t cover all the bases when it comes to design and the different layouts of the motherboards. So keep this in mind if the M.2 will be visible in your system.
Round the back of the M.2 is a sticker with some information and the storage chips. You can also see the notches in which will be used when it comes to installing the M.2 in your motherboard.
The build is about what you’d expect from an M.2, it feels decent but as always with products like this caution is advised when you come to installing it.
Installation and Setup
One thing to note before you consider one is to make sure that its compatible with your motherboard, as these drives will not work with every new release, so be sure to check compatibility first.
Installing the M.2 is easy. If its a new motherboard the screw post should already be installed, if not then it should be in the motherboard box and its a simple as screwing in. Then all you have to do is make sure that the notch in the side with the connection is lined up with the notch on the M.2 slot on the motherboard. You then carefully insert the drive. You then gently hold the drive down and screw the small screw into the post. Make sure that you don’t use much force as it could damage the drive and that is pretty much it. If you get stuck there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube to help you out.
The setup process if simple to, if the drive doesn’t show in “This PC” then you have to type “Drive management” into the search. Click “Create and format hard disk partitions”. You then get a new screen with a list of all your drives. Search for the M.2 and right click on it and select “Initialize drive”. Once you’ve done that you will be prompted to a setup wizard and you will specify the drives volume (leave as max default), select the letter you want your drive to have and click next. The drive should be done and ready to use. If you run into any problems then head over to the motherboards page and see if that can offer any help. There is also tutorials on YouTube and the web if you do so happen to get stuck.
I’ll start with the first system I used this in and that was a Ryzen based B350, the motherboard I used was a ASUS TUF B350m a long with an SSD, Hybrid drive and a HDD. Installation went smooth and there was no issues there, but when it came to power on the system there were some issues. I checked my PC and the M.2, Hybrid, HDD were missing. The only drive that did appear was my external HDD as that runs off a USB port.
The problem I think is because the M.2 shares bandwidth with the SATA ports on the motherboard and because its greedy it stopped the others from working. I then tried some different SATA ports and still the drives would not appear. I did change the drives to ports that didn’t conflict with the M.2 but alas they wouldn’t show.
I then removed the M.2 and all the drives came back with no trouble. Not really 100% sure why it wouldn’t work in conjunction with my other drives, but removing it did return my system to as it was before.
Its not all bad news though as I then installed the XPG into my new X370 build and it worked without issue. Of course it needed to be validated but it worked and still allowed my other drives to work too. So maybe there was something wrong with the other board or perhaps the B350 platform, but with X370 it works flawlessly. Keep in mind that I have removed the HDD as it will be running externally.
Now I’m using the drive to run my site from, I edit all my photos off the M.2 as well as upload everything from there. Its much quicker than from the HDD I used to use and everything just runs so much quicker and smoother. My workflow was pretty fast from the HDD but swapping it out to the M.2 has drastically improved every aspect of how I work. Every photo takes less time to edit and also its faster to process the image to be ready to upload. It might not sound like much, but when you’re doing at least 20 photos plus per review it soon adds up to good time savings. Its even better if you’re a video creator as you’ll see in the performance section.
Also in you’re an avid gamer the 512GB capacity I have would give you ample room for all the most important games in your library. Yes the M.2 won’t give you better framerates as such, but it will reduce load times and make gaming a little less boresome. Not the actual game, more the waiting for the game. You could also use the M.2 as a boot drive and improve your OS loading time, this does make a big difference and it means you can get to work or play that bit sooner. You could use it for software too, this again will improve load times and the smoothness of how the feel, especially video editing or photo manipulation software. But pretty much however you use it, it will be a big step up from an HDD, but not as drastic if you’re coming from a SATA based SSD.
If you would like to know any of the different features and technology this drive has, head over to www.adata.com/xpg-sx8000
The first test was to see if Adatas speed claims were translatable into a real world use and the first way to test that was with Crystal disk mark, if you’re unfamiliar with it, its essentially a synthetic benchmark tool that measures how fast a drive is. The claimed speeds that Adata have stated are up to 2500MB/s read and 1100MB/s write. But does it get anywhere close.
The 1st test was Crystal disk mark 4GB run and it managed speeds of 2371MB/s read and 1166MB/s write. So according to this benchmark, given the right scenario the drive is theoretically capable of the advertised speeds.
I then ran the test again with a 32GB run and that yielded a result of 2085MB/s read and 722MB/s write. So even with a more complex and bigger load it can still push some impressive speeds. Now lets look at some real world stuff though.
Next up was some more real world stuff with the first being a transfer test. I transferred a 15GB mixed folder (music, documents, photos and video) from the M.2 to my Sandisk SSD. This took a very rapid 36 seconds with an average speed of 482MB/s. This almost maxed out what the SSD was capable of doing. I then ran the test in reverse (SSD to M.2) and that gave me an average speed of 374MB/s and took 42 seconds. So its pretty fast and I’m sure that if you were transferring to another M.2 or faster SSD, this would have been even quicker.
The next test was to transfer 1GB of photos from an SD card to the M.2. This would simulate dropping a small photo shoots worth of images onto the drive. The first test was from the Sandisk Ultra SD card via USB 3.0 and this gave a time of 20 seconds with an average speed of 80MB/s. This pretty much maxed out what the SD card was capable of. I then transferred the same folder in the opposite direction and that took 1 minutes 24 seconds with an average speed of 12MB/s. I believe this to be an SD card bottle neck as the M.2 is more than capable of delivering higher speeds, but in reality you wouldn’t really do this and it would be more like the first sample.
I then did a similar test to the SD card with a bigger 9GB file size and threw in some video for good measure. The first was the SD card to the M.2 as before and this delivered a time of 1 minute 47 seconds with a speed of 80MB/s. So again maxing out the SD card. Again I ran the test in reverse and it took 14 minutes 39 seconds with a speed of 10MB/s. So if you have a faster SD card or USB drive these speeds will be better.
Its also worth keeping in mind that these times and speeds are what I experienced and yours maybe better or worse depending on your system, drive configuration and other factors that will vary system to system. So you may not be able to fully replicate what I have done.
The final tests were video rendering, so this would give you a rough idea of the times you can get with this drive. My rig is as follows. A stock speed Ryzen 7 1700, 16GB 2400MHz DDR4, Sandisk 240GB SSD plus and a GTX 1070. So again your times will likely be different, but it should give you a ball park figure of how fast it is.
Test 1: 1080p video, 6 minutes long, 10mbps, 24fps, 256kbps audio. SSD to M.2
- Time taken: 7 minutes 30 seconds
Test 2: 4K video, 6 minutes long, 50 mbps, 24fps, 160kbps audio. SSD to M.2
- Time taken 9 minutes 19 seconds
Test 3: 1080p video, 6 minutes long, 10mbps, 24fps, 256kbps audio. M.2 to SSD
- Time taken: 7 minutes 2 seconds
Test 4: 4K video, 6 minutes long, 50 mbps, 24fps, 160kbps audio. M.2 to SSD
- Time taken: 8 minutes 42 seconds
So you can see that its quicker to render video from the M.2 to an SSD. This means that you’d store your raw files on the M.2, then edit from the M.2 and then render to an SSD or HDD. Again times will vary depending on your system.
So if you need a super fast storage drive would this be the right one, I would say its well worth it. The capacity of 512GB is plenty for games or alternatively for work. If 512GB is too much they offer 128GB and 256GB models as well as a 1TB if you need the extra space. I think the 256GB would be ideal for workflow and the 512GB would be great for avid gamers, but you can always opt for the size that suits your needs best.
So should you pick one up, well its nice, especially if you have a Red/Black system, its also very fast and has great real world performance that is far better than any SSD I’ve tested. Its not without issue though and that is the limited colour scheme and also my issue that I had with the B350 platform. It does work perfectly with X370 so I’m not really sure why it wouldn’t work on my other board. But as a whole its a great M.2 and since its been in my X370 system its worked without fault. So if you really need or want an M.2, this is one of the fastest and looking at prices, one of the more affordable too.
Pick one up here: www.amazon.co.uk/xpg-sx8000