ADATA SU900 512GB Ultimate SATA SSD Review

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Sustained Write Performance & Temperatures

ADATA SU900 Ultimate 512GB SATA SSD

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 the ADATA SU900 Ultimate 512GB drive to see how it handles sustained write scenarios with the 3D MLC NAND.

We secure erased the drive before running this test and found that the performance started out at around 513 MB/s and remained around that point for the remainder of this 45 second long test despite one performance drop that dropped the drives write performance down to 384 MB/s.

Here are some 45 second average sustained write speeds on recently tested drives:

  • MyDigitalSSD BPX 480GB – 1391.78 MB/s
  • Corsair Force MP500 480GB – 1369.39 MB/s
  • Patriot Hellfire M.2 480GB – 1226.38 MB/s
  • Samsung SSD 960 EVO 1TB – 1223.07 MB/s
  • ADATA XPG SX8000 512GB – 1197.80 MB/s
  • 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
  • ADATA SU900 Ultimate 512GB – 509.19 MB/s
  • WD Black PCIe 512GB SSD – 465.64 MB/s
  • Intel 600p 512GB – 427.295 MB/s
  • Toshiba OCZ Trion 150 480GB – 347.75 MB/s
  • Samsung SSD 960 EVO 250GB – 326.37 MB/s
  • WD Blue SSD 1TB – 314.81 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 sequential write performance as the ADATA XPG SX8000 512GB drive finished just behind the Samsung SSD 960 EVO 1TB!

When you take a look at extended sustained write performance you can see that the drives cache did not fill up in our six minute test that wrote 182 GB of data to the drive and that is very impressive and most people won’t be writing that must data to the drive without any breaks.

We’ve had some people as for ADATA linear write tests to be done, so we fired that utility up and found that with the standard 8MB block size that the write speeds topped out at 489 MB/s and once the drive was over half full we finally pounded on the drive hard enough to fill the cache and force the controller to write the data directly to the 3D MLC NAND Flash. Once you saturate the cache you’ll see the the sequential write performance drops down to around 125 MB/s on average, but the low spikes are under 60 MB/s. You’ll like never hit speeds this low though in real life as you have to pound on the drive non-stop for nearly twenty minutes at top speed to mimic a situation like this. If you constantly dump over 260GB of data at a time to your SSD this might matter, but for most it won’t and sustained write performance on this drive is solid.

ADATA SU900 Ultimate 512GB SATA SSD Temperatures

A quick look at the drives temperatures showed that we were idling around 36-38C and then hitting just 41C at load, but when we stopped our load testing we noticed that the temperature spiked up to 57C. It appears when you load up this drive there might be a firmware glitch as the temperature doesn’t look like it was reading properly. You can see the results below with a 1 minute poling rate.

As you can no huge concerns, but pushing 60C on a SATA III SSD is getting a little toasty.

Let’s take a look at some common 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.