ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 - A Dressed Up ADATA XPG SX7000

Last year, ADATA launched the XPG GAMMIX S10 series of M.2 PCIe x4 NVMe 1.2 certified SSDs that consists of drives with capacities of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. The XPG GAMMIX S10 series is not the fastest drives offered by ADATA, but the performance of the series is no joke. This drive series offers sequential speeds of up to 1800 MB/s read and 850 MB/s write. Random 4K performance is also good with up to 130,000 IOPS read and 140,000 IOPS write. This is made possible by the pairing of an SMI controller and 3D TLC NAND Flash memory. ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 Retail Packaging Future examination of the drive itself shows that ADATA went with Silicon Motion's SM2260 controller and Micron's first generation 32-layer 3D TLC NAND Flash memory for this drive. That is a combination that we have seen before on the Intel SSD 600P series back in 2016 and ADATA SX7000 series that was launched in April 2017. The Intel SSD 600P series is widely regarded as Intel's entry-level PCIe NVMe drive, so this is going to be a dressed up budget drive and not a product aimed at enthusiasts looking for the very best performance. Truth be told, the XPG GAMMIX S10 series looks to be nothing more than an ADATA SX7000 series drive with a heatsink on it for an extra $10. The good news is that the heatsink looks great and ADATA claims that it drops drop temperatures by around 10 degrees SSD Speed Without The Temps ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 Series Features:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59VJZS0DqyM The exact model that we'll be testing today is the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD that is sold under part number ASX7000NPC-512GT-C for $164.99 shipped. The ADATA SX7000 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD is sold under part number ASX7000NP-512GT-C and is available for $154.99 shipped, so you are paying $10 extra for having the heatsink on this model. Both drives are identical other than the heatsink down to the firwmare and even are backed by the same warranty. Many new motherboards come with heatsinks for SSDs, so you might not even need a drive with a heatink from the factory. ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 SSD The heatsink on the GAMMIX S10 looks pretty cool, but it isn't needed as we have seen no reports of any ADATA SX7000 series drives overheating since it was released nearly a year ago. ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 SSD Back The bottom of the this double-sided M.2 drive doesn't have room for a heatsink, so one TLC NAND Flash package and DDR3 DRAM chip will not have heatsink coverage. Let's take a look at how this drive benchmarks.

The SSD Benchmark Test System & TRIM Support

Before we look at the numbers, let’s take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 1709 build 16299) and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. This means windows defender, windows update, disk fragmentation and everything else that would interfere with testing was disabled. Windows 10 also had the power option set to high performance and we also disabled c-states and Turbo mode on the Intel Core i5-8400 to ensure our numbers are spot on and repeatable. ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-F GAMING Motherboard The Intel Z370 platform that we used to test the storage drives was based around the ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-F Gaming motherboard with BIOS 0607 that came out on February 2nd, 2018. We used Intel Chipset Driver v10.1.1.45, Intel Management Engine Interface v11.7.0.1045 and Intel RST v15.9.0.1015 drivers. This is important to point out as they include some of the fixes for Meltdown and Spectre design flaws that have recently rocked the PC Market. The Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 16GB 3200MHz memory kit was run with CL15 memory timings and a Samsung SSD 850 PRO 512GB SATA SSD was used as the primary drive.

Intel Z370 Test Bench

Intel LGA 1151 Test Platform
Component Brand/Model Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Core i5-8400

Motherboard

ASUS STRIX Z370-F Gaming

Memory

Corsair Vengeange LPX 3200MHz 16GB

OS Drive

Samsung 850 PRO 512GB

Power Supply

Corsair RM850x

Operating System

Windows 10 64-Bit

CrystalDiskInfo 7.5.2 Readout:

The readout on CrystalDiskInfo 7.5.2 shows that the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 series supports S.M.A.R.T. and the NVM Express 1.2 standard. The drive we received had firmware version CB1.1.1 installed and that is the version that we used for general testing and benchmarking. Our drive arrived in a sealed box, but showed a power time of 1 hour with three power cycles. The drive also had just over 500 GB of host read and writes done on it, so we aren't sure if this was factory testing or if our drive was tested to ensure it was working properly before being sent to a review site. We don't think we got a cherry picked sample, but just reporting back the honest truth of how the drive arrived. The overall capacity shows up as 476GB on the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 512GB drive in Windows 10 version 1709. Please remember that 1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes. A certain portion of capacity may be used for system file and maintenance use, thus the actual available capacity may differ from the labeled total capacity. Does The ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 PCIe Series Support Trim?  Most SSDs today support the TRIM command, but we still run a quick test to ensure that the command is being properly passed through to the SSD and being done. A great free utility called TRIMCheck can be run to ensure that TRIM is functioning properly. According to TRIMCheck v0.7, the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 does properly execute the TRIM command correctly as the random data that was written to the drive was properly cleaned. Let's have a look at the performance!

Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities 1.1.0

Along with the move to a new platform, we decided to make a change in one of the benchmarks. There's a relatively new benchmark called Anvil Storage Utilities that is in beta but close to production. It's a very powerful tool that measures performance through a variety of tests which can be customized. Since some of the tests more or less duplicate what we get from other benchmarks we use already, we decided to use the IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) testing on 4kb file sizes at a queue depth of 1, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 and 128. IOPS performance is something SSD makers tout quite a bit but we generally don't do a lot of IOPS testing because frankly a lot of users can't relate to IOPS metrics as well and it tends to be more meaningful to the enterprise/server crowd. Still, it is another performance indicator with relevance and while some drives post good MB/s numbers, their IOPS scores aren't always commensurate which this test will prove out.

Anvil SSD Benchmark with 100% Compression (incompressible data):

Benchmark Results: The Anvil SSD Benchmark showed that with 100% compression (incompressible data) the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 had an overall score of 7,803.45 points. The drive topped out at 1,410 MB/s read and 862 MB/s write speeds on the sequential performance test with 4MB file sizes. 

Anvil SSD Applications Benchmark at 46% Compression:

Benchmark Results: With the compression at 46% to help mimic real world applications better we found the overall score dropped to 7,787.26 points.  Benchmark Results: When it comes to low queue depth performance the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 512GB drive left us wanting more. Many mainstream SATA III SSDs are able to match of beat this drives performance level in the critical QD1-QD4 range. The Intel SSD 600P 512GB drive was comparable at QD1 and then out performed this drive at QD2 and beyond. Benchmark Results: When it came to 4K Random Write performance, the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 512GB drive was able to perform better than the Intel SSD 600P across the board.  Here we found the QD1-QD4 performance to be better than all the SATA III SSDs, which is good even for an entry-level NVMe drive. 

ATTO & CrystalDiskMark

ATTO v3.05

ATTO is one of the oldest drive benchmarks still being used today and is still very relevant in the SSD world. ATTO measures transfers across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and places the data into graphs that can be very easily interpreted. The test was run with the default runs of 0.5KB through 64MB transfer sizes with the total length being 256MB.

ATTO - ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 512GB:

Benchmark Results: ATTO showed the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 512GB PCIe NVMe drive reaching speeds of up to 1786 MB/s read and 864 MB/s write in the standard overlapped I/O benchmark. This drive is rated at up to 1800 MB/s max sequential read and 850 MB/s max sequential write, so it is nice to see that our Intel Z370 based test platform is able to reach those speeds.  Benchmark Results: Compared to some other SATA III and PCIe NVMe SSDs, the GAMMIX S10 512GB does really well and performs better than all of the SATA III drives at 64KB and larger block sizes.      Benchmark Results: The GAMMIX S10 512GB drive topped out at over 864 MB/s on the 512KB block size test.  

CrystalDiskMark 6.0.0 x64

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) and shows the highest score of five runs.

CystalDiskmark - ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 512GB:

Benchmark Results: The GAMMIX S10 512GB topped out at 1811 MB/s read and 861 MB/s write in the standard sequential write test that is done at QD32. Random 4K QD1 performance was 35.4 MB/s read and 144.5 MB/s write. Those 4K random performance numbers improved up to 408 MB/s read and 340 MB/s write at a queue depth of 32.  Manually running the sequential performance test at Q1T1 showed performance of 343 MB/s read and 863 MB/s write. The sequential write QD1 performance is faster at QD1 than QD32, so write performance on this model should be excellent as long as its SLC cache doesn't fill up before the writing is completed. Let's look at some other benchmarks!

AS SSD Benchmark

AS-SSD (2.0.6485.19676) Benchmark:

We have been running the AS-SSD Benchmark app for over some time now and found that it gives a broad result set. The programmer has worked very hard on this software and continues to make updates often so if you use it, show him some love and send him a donation. There are now three tests that are found within the tool and we'll show the results from all three of them.

AS SSD - ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 512GB:

Benchmark Results: On AS SSD, the GAMMIX S10 512GB drive had an overall score of 1853 points with sequential read speeds of 1568 MB/s and 833 MB/s write. The 4K random results were at 32.7 MB/s read and 126.3 MB/s write. 

AS SSD  Copy - ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 512GB:

Benchmark Results: The copy benchmark test results were ranging from 645 MB/s in the Program to 894 MB/s in the ISO benchmark. 

AS SSD  Compression - ADATA XPG GAMMMIX S10 512GB:

Benchmark Results: For this benchmark chart you would ideally want to see a straight line as you don’t want any compression performance loss as the test goes from 0% compressible to 100% compressible data during the benchmark test period. The GAMMIX S10 512GB performance looked like a flat bumpy road other than the one unexplainable peformance drop at around 95% compression on the write side. 

Linear Write and Real World File Transfer Testing

AIDA64 Disk Benchmark

We've had some people ask for AIDA64 linear write tests to be done, so we fired that utility up to see what would happen. When you take a look at extended sustained write performance you'll see that the performance started out at around 825 MB/s and then jumped up to 865 MB/s for a bit before falling under 210 MB/s. Once the GAMMMIX S10 512GB drives SLC cache was full and it was writing directly to the TLC NAND Flash memory speeds were down in the 98 MB/s to 220 MB/s range. We wrote almost 225GB of data to the drive and found the average write speed being 219.8 MB/s during that time with the high being 866 MB/s and the low being 97.7 MB/s.

Real World File Transfer

Before we wrap things up we wanted to see how real-world was when writing a movie folder containing seven 1080P movies over to the SSD. For this test, we are going to simply stress write performance by transferring over a 30.6GB folder of movies off of a PCIe NVMe SSD to the drive being tested to see how performance looks. The ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 512GB drive finished our file transfer test at 285 MB/s, which is the fourth slowest of the drives that we have recently tested. The good news is that it performed faster than the Intel SSD 600P 512GB drive due to the tweaked firmware. This test just goes to show that SATA III drives can easily beat some of the newer and more desired PCIe NVMe drives!

Temperature Testing

The ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 512GB drive was running 27C on our open air test bench in a room that had an ambient temperature of 23C (74F). When we doing our testing we copied over about 100GB of data to the drive and noticed that the drive temperature topped out at 62C during that operation. We did not test the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 512GB drive with the heatspreader removed as the thermal adhesive would have been trashed. Our friend Billy Tallis over at Anandtech did a review on this drive and fully removed the heatspreader off of GAMMIX S10 drive. He found that the thermal adhesive did not make full contact with TLC NAND Flash, DRAM or SMI controller. It looks like this heatspreader was designed more for appearance than functionality. It would have been nice to see the SMI controller getting full heatspreader coverage, but it looks like it gets the least of any component. [caption id="attachment_203551" align="aligncenter" width="645"]GAMMIX S10 Thermal Tape Image Credit: Billy Tallis at Anandtech[/caption] Let's move along to the next page and wrap this review up!

Final Thoughts & Conclusions

At the end of the day the ADATA XPG Gammix S10 M.2 NVMe SSD is nothing more than the entry-level XPG SX7000 M.2 NVMe SSD, adding only a heatspreader. That isn't a bad thing though as the performance of the drive was on par with what one would expect for an entry-level M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. The ADATA GAMMIX S10 512GB topped out at 1811 MB/s read and 861 MB/s write in the standard sequential benchmark in CrystalDiskMark and that exceeds the drives rated speeds of 1800/850. We came up a bit show on the drives 4K Random Read/Write IOPS though. The drive is rated at 130K/140K and we came up with 108K/170K in our testing. Not a huge miss, but it would have been nice to see higher 4K Random Reads. ADATA was able to get higher numbers on the XPG SX7000 and XPG GAMMIX S10 series than the Intel SSD 600P series for a couple reasons. It appears that Intel is only using 6 of the 8 SM2260 controller channels on their single-sided drive whereas ADATA is using all 8 of them. ADATA also confirmed that they are using a 32-bit memory interface for the DRAM while Intel is using a 16-bit memory interface for the DRAM. This has helped ADATA boost performance over similar drives and just goes to show how different performance can be between two drives despite having the same controller and NAND Flash packages. ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 SSD When it comes to any entry-level drive the most important factor after capacity is usually price. The ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 and ADATA XPG SX7000 series both have impressive price points. ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 Pricing ADATA XPG SX7000 Pricing After looking at the current pricing on Amazon.com the 128GB/256GB/512GB drives are all priced pretty aggressively and the 1TB model is priced too high. The Intel SSD 600P Series 512GB drive is priced at $210.81 shipped and has an endurance rating of 288 TBW with a 5-year warranty. The ADATA XPG SX7000 512GB drive has an endurance rating of 320 TBW and a 5-year warranty for $154.99 shipped. The drives have the same controller and TLC NAND flash, so we are shocked that one is $56 cheaper than the other. But, it gets better than that... When doing pricing research for this review we found that Rakuten is selling the ADATA XPG SX7000 512GB SSD for $127.49 shipped right now (sale ends 3/14/2018). That puts the price per GB at $0.25, which is damn good for an entry-level M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. The Samsung 960 EVO 500GB M.2 PCIe NVMe drive is $239.71 shipped, so you can get this drive for $112 less and that is substantial when pricing out a new system build or upgrade path. This drive would also made a nice secondary drive for those looking to store extra goodies. This is the first time we've seen a PCIe NVMe priced at 25¢/GB! If you are looking to ditch the old SATA III interface and mover over to the super-fast PCIe Gen3 x4 interface the ADATA XPG SX7000 series appears to be the best value buy out there right now. If you wanted to get a heatsink on the drive for better aesthetics and possibly better thermal performance we suggest taking a closer look at the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 models. The heatsink isn't needed, but it looks sweet, helps lowers temperatures and is only an extra $10.   Legit Reviews Value Award Legit Bottom Line: The ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 series is nothing more than an ADATA XPG SX7000 series drive with a heatsink slapped on it. UPDATE 03/14/2018: We worked with ADATA to get better power usage numbers and got them for all available capacities. These numbers are for ADATA XPG SX7000 series and ADATA XPG GAMMIX S10 series drives! ADATA SX7000 Power Numbers