Intel/Micron 64L 3D TLC [SX8200 Pro], IMFT 3D TLC NAND [Gammix S11 Pro]
3500 MB per second / 3000 MB per second
R1,599 [SX8200 Pro], R1,899 [Gammix S11 Pro]
When it comes to upgrading the storage in your gaming machine, you have a number of options to choose from. Large capacity SATA disc drives are cheaper but run slower due to the mechanical nature of the drive heads and interface. Solid state drives (SSDs) offer far better performance because they store data on flash memory chips but the price per gigabyte tends to be bit more.
When looking at SSDs, there are two types you can choose from. Things get a little technical here but don’t worry, you’ll manage, and you need to know this. First up is the older SATA based SSD which looks like a small flat hard drive and uses an interface (SATA) which was developed for hard disk drives (HDDs). The SATA interface is not able to deal with the high throughput speeds that SSDs deliver so a new standard was adopted called M.2. These drives look like a rectangular circuit board with flash memory chips on it and plug directly into the motherboard. The M.2 form factor uses the much faster PCI Express (PCIe) bus to give these drives more performance headroom. Now to make things even more complicated, M.2 drives are available as normal SSD drives or NVMe (non-volatile memory express) compatible version – a spec that was specifically developed for SSD drives to allow even more data throughput. At a price, of course.
Adata’s XPG range of M.2 drives has long delivered good value for money SSDs. In fact, I’ve been using a Gammix S11 SSD based M.2 drive for the past year and it’s consistently offered solid performance under load. So it was with some excitement that I put their latest two M.2 drives to the test. Both the XPG SX8200 Pro and Gaming S11 Pro feature 512GB of storage capacity, and both are NVMe based drives.
At first glance, there is not much that sets these two drives apart – both look similar, with the exception of a red heat spreader that encases the Gammix S11 Pro. The SX8200 Pro, on the other hand, looks a little more discreet. The only difference between these two drives is the NAND flash memory used and the heatshrink.
In terms of performance, both of these drives from XPG performed exceptionally well, with performance levels far above the numbers generated by my SSD based M.2 drive. At around six times the performance of my older drive, it’s clear to where NVMe drives make a difference. For content creators and video editors who need to work with large 4K files, these drives will ensure a much better performance throughput than anything you’ve used in this price range.
At under R2,000 for each of these M.2 drives, it is a no-brainer if your motherboard supports M.2 NVMe. The only question is which one to choose. With nominal performance difference between the two, my money goes to the XPG SX8200 Pro.