ADATA SU900 512GB Ultimate SATA SSD Review

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ADATA SU900 Ultimate SSD Series – 3D MLC NAND For 2.5″ Drive Users

It’s been a long time since we’ve looked at a 2.5-inch SATA III SSD aimed at the consumer market, so we thought we’d mix up our storage content a little bit and do a review on one. Yes, SATA III SSDs feel like yesterday’s news since we’ve been saturating the SATA III 6Gbps interface for years, but the form factor will still be around for many more years. The high-end storage drive market is squarely focused on M.2 PCIe NVMe drives, but those with older desktops that don’t have an M.2 slot or are working with laptop that only takes 2.5″ SATA drives you couldn’t care less about those articles. If you have been looking for the ultimate 2.5-inch SATA III SSD you are in for a treat today as we will be looking at the ADATA SU900 Ultimate SSD that uses 3D MLC NAND Flash and the SMI 2258 4-channel controller.ADATA SU900 Ultimate SSD Retail Packaging 512GB Model

What makes the ADATA SU900 Ulimate series so special since most all of the new SATA III interface drives are bottlenecked at ~560 MB/s speeds? ADATA claims it is the fact they are using the latest 3D NAND Flash memory that provides higher storage density, efficiency, and reliability than traditional 2D NAND.  The ADATA SU900 Ultimate series has respectable endurance ratings of up to 800 TBW (2TB model) and all are backed by a 5-year warranty. When it comes to sequential Read/Write performance you are looking at up to 560 MB/s Read and 525 MB/s Write when using ATTO. The Random 4K Read/Write IOPS are respectable with up to 85,000 IOPS Random Read and up to 90,000 IOPS Random Write when ADATA used IOMeter to come up with the ratings.

ADATA SU900 Ultimate 512GB SATA SSD

The ADATA SU900 Ultimate SSD series is currently available in capacities of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB with plans for a 2TB model at a later date. Performance and endurance does vary depending on the capacity of the drive that you are looking at, so be sure you are aware of that before you make your purchase.

ADATA Ultimate SU900 Bundle

The ADATA SU900 is one of the few series of drives on the market that comes with an accessory bundle comprised of a 2.5mm spacer and a 3.5-inch bracket to ensure that you can easily fit the 7mm drive into a desktop or laptop. You even get an access code for a popular data migration utility called Acronis True Image HD 2015. We’ve used Acronis True Image for cloning drives for years and have found that it works great and is simple to use. You can find out more details about how to get that software key on this page. Very few SSDs come with data migration software these days, so this really is a nice accessory bundle! Data migration utilities are make the move from HDD to SSD quick and simple.

You can also download and use the free ADATA SSD ToolBox utility with this drive to obtain disk information and change settings easily. Additionally, it can speed up your SSD and improve its lifespan. The only downside to this utility is not everything works on it. For example you can’t run a secure erase on this model in Windows 8, 8.1 or 10. Hopefully the folks at ADATA update this utility to allow all the features to work on Windows 10 so you don’t have to rely on a 3rd party application to run something as simple as a security wipe. Despite this minor issue, it is still a great utility that shows drive status, wear level, and lifespan information.

ADATA SU900 Ultimate SSD

We usually open up 2.5″ SSDs to take a look inside to show you the controller and NAND being used, but we aren’t going to be doing that today. Our drive uses the SMI 2258 controller with Micron 3D MLC NAND Flash, but that may change down the road. Our ADATA USA marketing contact told us that the drive will always use 3D MLC NAND, but down the road pricing and availability might come into play and they reserve the right to change the brand as long as it meets or exceeds the drives specifications. A growing number of companies are doing this on mainstream and entry-level storage products. Enthusiasts don’t like it, but most consumers could care less what brand NAND Flash is being uses or what manufacturing process it uses as long as it does what it is advertised to do.

ADATA SU900 Ultimate SSD Series Street Pricing on 5/11/2017:

ADATA SU900 Ultimate SATA SSD Specifications:  

  • SMI 2258 Controller – 4 Channels
  • 3D MLC NAND Flash – Intel/Micron L06B
  • Operating Temperature – 0° ~ 70°C
  • MTBF: 2,000,000 hours
  • 4K Aligned Random Read:
    • up to 80,000 IOPS – 256GB
    • up to 85,000 IOPS – 512GB & 1TB
  • 4K Aligned Random Write:
    • up to 90,000 IOPS – 256GB, 512GB & 1TB
  • Sequential Read & Write Transfer:
    • Up to 560 MB/s Read – 256GB, 512GB & 1TB
    • Up to 510 MB/s Write – 256GB
    • Up to 520 MB/s Write – 512GB & 1TB
  • Endurance:
    • 256GB: 200 TBW
    • 512GB: 400 TBW
    • 1TB: 800 TBW
  • Warranty: 5-Years

The ADATA SU900 Ultimate SSD series also supports features like intelligent SLC caching and a DRAM cache buffer to boost read/write performance even further. This driver series has increased data protection with Comprehensive Backup and Management Low density parity check error correcting code, leading to a massive reduction in data errors and an equal increase in data integrity. It therefore protects your valuable content against corruption to a much greater extent than non-ECC SSDs or even SSDs that use basic BCH error correction.

Let’s take a look at the test system and then jump into the benchmarks.

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  • Be My Guest

    Good warranty … fair price … outstanding TBW.

  • Nate, it could be better if you add Windows booting time, applications loading time, games loading time, and file transfer speed (or time) to reflect “real world” performance.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Thanks for the feed back and I wish there was a fast and easy way to do what you are asking when you are behind on reviews and only have so much time in the day.

      Boot times are tough to do as there really is no good way as stop watches don’t work well. I’ve done them as recently as last month though and had a script that times how long it took to open chrome –

      It takes under 150ms to open the chrome web browser, so you can’t stop watch that. I’ve not looked into making a script for game times, but if you know how to make one or can help let me know.

      The other issue is ROI (Return on Investment). Installing Windows on each drive and setting up the drives and downloading the latest updates takes a good 1-1.5 hours. You then have to load up all the apps and games from our local steam files and then do all the testing and extra charts. It might add an extra 4-6 hours to the review process, but I’m not sure it’s really worth the time.

      For example the market for this drive is really small. ADATA won’t be selling millions or hundreds of thousands of these drives as the market is pretty small. Likely only tens of thousands of drives will made and sold before this product goes EOL. The traffic on specific SATA SSD reviews is small. Take YouTube results for example. There is only one review on the ADATA SU900 Ultimate SSD on YouTube and it was from 2 months ago and has just 1,400 views. (see below) I’d love to tell you that this review has been read 100,000 times since it was published, but it hasn’t been. It’s been read by just over 1,000 unique visitors so far and no one has bought a drive through any of our Newegg or Amazon affiliate links. The traffic on SATA SSD reviews is pretty small to be honest and is one of the reasons you’ve seen so many hardware reviews sites close down in recent years. The ones that are doing well have diversified (Many are focusing on mobile, and some are doing movie reviews and other stuff to bring in a wider audience to get traffic numbers up).

      • As a hardware reviewer myself(one working on the SU900 currently at that) I feel your pain specific application times are so small and honestly unless a drive is particularly amazing(or horrible) the real consumer impact is very small it’s something I struggle with drawing a final conclusion when I have to look at all the differences and ask myself, can the reader actually feel 20mb/s ? will they notice the .02 second difference here or there? SATA SSD reviews need to be done but we can only spend so much time on a specific drive before we’re beating a dead horse.