ADATA Ultimate SU800 512GB SSD Review

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Taking A Look At Sustained Write Performance

Crucial MX300 1TB

Triple-Level Cell  TLC NAND based SSDs perform usually quite well, but when you copy a large amount of data to the drive without and idle time you’ll often find a large drop in write speed. TLC NAND is great in applications where write operations are limited , but is usually not recommended for critical systems that have heavy write operations as they have lower endurance ratings than SLC or MLC NAND and of course sustained write performance isn’t stellar. In recent years drive manufactures have been figured out that by using  SLC or TLC treated as SLC as a cache they can keep the drives overall write performance high as long as the amount of data being written to the drive fits in the cache. If you overflow the cache, you are then writing directly to the TLC NAND and the write performance will drop down to that level. It should be noted that the SLC cache will clear once the drive idles, so this only impacts long writes that are many GB in size. This might not be a typical workload scenario for this ultra-value or mainstream drives, but still something worth pointing out!

Let’s take a look at some TLC and MLC drives to see how they handle sustained write scenarios.

ADATA SU800 Sustained Write Performance

When you average the test results over the 45 second period that we are focusing on these are the average speeds that you come up with:

  • Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB – 527.23 MB/s
  • Crucial MX300 750GB SSD – 522.4 MB/s
  • ADATA SU800 512GB SSD – 520.85 MB/s
  • Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD – 520.41 MB/s
  • Toshiba OCZ Trion 150 480GB – 347.75 MB/s
  • Kingston UV400 480GB – 267.04 MB/s
  • OCZ Trion 100 480GB – 192.19 MB/s
  • ADATA Sp550 480GB SSD – 103.53 MB/s

Not bad, but the performance on the ADATA SU800 512GB SSD does eventually drop off!

SU800 SSD Sustained Write

The SLC cache for the SU800 is a bit different than most drives as it one third (1/3) of the total available capacity as “SLC” cache. In our testing we found that at 342 seconds into the sustained writes, the performance of the drive went from an average of roughly 521 MB/s down to 80 MB/s on average. This means one would have to write around 174GB of data to reach this point of lower sustained write performance. Roughly 171GB is 1/3rd of the capacity of the 512GB drive, so this numbers is close to what ADATA told us to expect. The lows were down to 40 MB/s, so just like most any TLC drive you’ll get performance drops once the SLC buffer has been filled up and you are writing straight to the 3D TLC NAND Flash.  Sustained writes are the weakness of any TLC based SSD, so just be aware of it!

Let’s take a look at some common benchmarks!

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  • Starvin Marvin

    The review says ” The ADATA Ultimate SU800 512GB drive performs like most any TLC NAND based value SSD and needs a lower price point to be a recommended pick!”
    Yet, in what is arguably the most difficult test, the Sustained Write test, it performed among the top four. Two of the other top performers, the Samsung 850 EVO and OCZ VX500 both cost 25% to 35% more at Amazon and Newegg. Only Crucial’s MX300 matched the ADATA for both price and performance. Four other TLC drives tested all fell well short of the ADATA’s performance and cost about the same. So, the review’s bottom line is a damn-it-with-faint-praise throwaway which signally fails to reflect the SU800’s solid achivement. I call that obvious negative bias.

  • Starvin Marvin

    Your description of the SU800’s sustained write performance is damning it with faint praise. For a budget-sector consumer TLC-based drive to sustain a high Write for over 170GB is truly outstanding. At the very least you should emphasize that home users are unlikely to EVER encounter any drop-off in Write speed with this SSD.

  • HERETIC

    Sustained Write-
    My calc says-342 sec x 521MB =178182MB =174GB

  • emv

    why no physical teardown showing inside of drive