Model: ADATA XPG SX6000 Pro 512GB PCIe M.2 Solid State Drive
Manufacturer: ADATA Technology
Provided By: ADATA Technology (USA)
ADATA Technology is one of the world's leading manufacturers of high performance memory modules and data storage solutions. Founded in 2001 with a staff of 20, this Taiwanese company set itself apart from the competition early on thanks to its professionalism, industry know-how and eye-catching product designs. Today, ADATA continues to lead the way through constant innovation and development of products that exceed customer expectations. Backed by technical expertise, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and premium customer service, ADATA currently offers a variety of products including DRAM modules, USB flash drives, memory cards, solid state drives and portable hard drives.
One of the latest additions to ADATA's line of solid state drives is the XPG SX6000 Pro. Designed for the enthusiast or gamer on a budget, this M.2 form factor drive is powered by Realtek's RTS5763DL controller and is available with up to 1TB of 3D TLC NAND flash. The SX6000 Pro also utilizes HMB (Host Memory Buffer) and SLC Caching to accelerate read and write speeds along with LDPC (Low-Density Parity-Check) error correcting code technology to ensure data integrity. To top it all off, the SX6000 Pro is equipped with an ultra-fast PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe 1.3 interface and is capable of 2,100 MB/s read and 1,500 MB/s write speeds and a maximum of 240,000 random write IOPS.
The XPG SX6000 Pro is available in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities. For this review, ADATA sent us the 512GB version of the drive which is capable of delivering up to 2,100 MB/s sequential read and 1,500 MB/s sequential write speeds as well as up to 250,000 random read and 240,000 random write IOPS.
|ADATA XPG SX6000 Pro 512GB PCIe M.2 Solid State Drive|
Dimensions and Weight
Needless to say, this is only a taste of what the XPG SX6000 Pro has to offer. To give you an idea of what to expect, we'll take a closer look at ADATA's PCIe SSD and then see how well it performs. Does the SX6000 Pro have what it takes? More importantly, is it the best bang for your buck? Keep reading as we find out.
The XPG SX6000 Pro comes in a small black box. Along with a picture of the drive, the front advertises many of its key features including its 512GB capacity, PCIe Gen3x4 interface, NVMe 1.3 support, SLC caching and 3D NAND. The back of the box provides a bit more information regarding the SX6000 Pro's features and performance. Inside, you'll find the SSD as well as a black, aluminum heatsink that can be attached to the drive.
The XPG SX6000 Pro uses the 2280 form factor for M.2 (NGFF) SSDs. It measures 22 x 80 x 2.15 mm and tips the scales at a mere 8g. The drive also has an "M key" edge connector which provides PCIe SSDs with up to 4x lanes of bandwidth.
Like ADATA's SX6000 Lite SSD, the SX6000 Pro uses Realtek's new RTS5763DL controller. There isn't a lot of information available regarding this controller but after talking to Realtek we learned that this DRAM-less, PCIe Gen 3 x4 controller supports four channels with up to four chip enables (CE) per channel. The RTS5763DL is also compatible with 3D TLC/QLC NAND flash and offers features like AES 256-bit encryption, advanced low-density parity check (LDPC) technology and end-to-end data path protection.
For the 512GB version of the SX6000 Pro, ADATA has opted to use their own 3D TLC NAND flash. Looking at the picture above, you can see that there are four 128GB NAND flash packages on top of the PCB. Also take note that there is no DRAM cache chip. The SX6000 Pro's RTS5763DL controller takes full advantage of NVMe's Host Memory Buffer feature by using a small portion of the computer's memory to cache the mapping tables.
The aluminum heatsink included with the SX6000 Pro is simple, yet functional. It attaches to the top of the drive using thermal adhesive and does have a small, yet measurable, impact on temperature. I found that with the heatsink installed, the SX6000 Pro's temps dropped by a few degrees during idle periods and heavy workloads.
Like ADATA's other SSDs, the XPG SX6000 Pro works with their SSD Toolbox. This free downloadable utility is an easy way for users to obtain information about their drives and change various system settings. Additionally, it can be used to speed up your SSD and even improve the endurance of a drive.
When you run ADATA SSD Toolbox, the main screen displays information about your drives. From here, users can view information like the capacity, used space, temperature, health and lifespan of each drive. By clicking on the tabs, you'll also find information like the model name, firmware version and serial number and connection speed.
The SSD Toolbox offers two different diagnostic scans. The quick diagnostics scan runs a basic test on free space and is usually completed in under two minutes. The full diagnostics scan runs a read test on all used space and a write test on all free space of the selected drive. Needless to say, the full scan takes much longer to complete.
ADATA's SSD Toolbox also includes a number of utilities. Along with the ability to do a secure erase, users can update a drive's firmware, upgrade the software and export a log file containing information about your system and drives.
The System Optimization option gives users the ability to run a TRIM command on a selected SSD. Users also have the ability optimize their OS by enabling features like superfetch, prefetch and automatic defragmentation.
SSD Toolbox can also be used to view information about your system. The utility displays a number of things including the operating system, CPU, amount of usable RAM and the model and BIOS version of your motherboard.
The test system used in this review is equipped with an Intel Core i7-6700K CPU, GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-UD3 motherboard, 32GB (16GB x 2) of Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 memory, Samsung 960 PRO 512GB SSD and a GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 WINDFORCE OC 6G graphics card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 10 Enterprise.
To test the performance of ADATA's XPG SX6000 Pro SSD, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark, HD Tach RW, ATTO Disk Benchmark, AS SSD, HD Tune Pro, Anvil's Storage Utilities, Iometer and PCMark 8. For comparison, I've also included test results from the Western Digital WD Black SN750, Samsung 970 EVO Plus, ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro, Crucial P1, ADATA XPG SX8200, Western Digital WD Black NVMe, Samsung 970 EVO, Samsung 970 PRO, Plextor M9Pe, Plextor M8Se, Patriot Hellfire, ADATA XPG SX8000, Samsung 960 PRO, Toshiba OCZ RD400, Samsung 950 PRO, Samsung 860 QVO, Samsung 860 PRO, Crucial MX500, Plextor M8V, Samsung T5, Crucial BX300, ADATA Ultimate SU900, Plextor S3C, Toshiba OCZ VX500 and ADATA Ultimate SU800.
As I mentioned earlier, the XPG SX6000 Pro is based on Realtek's RTS5763DL controller chip. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that it performs equally well with both incompressible (0%) and compressible (100%) data.
First, I ran a few quick tests using CrystalDiskMark. This benchmark tool measures the performance of a storage device by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its random read and write speeds using blocks 512K and 4K in size.
According to ADATA, the 512GB version of the SX6000 Pro is capable of reading at 2,100 MB/s and writing at 1,500 MB/s when tested with CrystalDiskMark. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the drive had no problems reaching these speeds in the sequential read and write tests.
The SX6000 Pro performed equally well when using highly compressible 0x00 (0 Fill) data. This time around, the drive was able to read at 2,114 MB/s and write at 1,547 MB/s.
HD Tach RW 126.96.36.199:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the SX6000 Pro's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.
Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the SX6000 Pro had average read and write speeds of 1657.9 MB/s and 424.5 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 543.4 MB/s. The screenshot also shows that, like most other TLC-based SSDs, the SX6000 Pro uses some sort of SLC caching. The drive starts writing at about 900 MB/s and then drops to about 200 MB/s when the write operation exceeds the size of the cache.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the SX6000 Pro's sequential read and write speeds. The tests are run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the SX6000 Pro's read speeds topped out at about 2,126 MB/s and its write speeds at 1,416 MB/s.
AS SSD is a benchmark designed specifically for solid state drives. The application contains five synthetic tests used to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of a drive.
AS SSD also includes a copy benchmark. This test copies an ISO (two large files), program (many small files) and game (small and large files), returning the speed and duration of each.
HD Tune Pro 5.00:
Next, I ran a series of tests using HD Tune Pro. This hard disk utility measures a drive's performance by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its access time, burst rate and CPU usage. For this review, I'm also going to use it to benchmark the Crucial P1's random read and write speeds, random access times and the number of operations per second.
The SX6000 Pro performed relatively well when benchmarked with HD Tune. The drive had average read and write speeds of 2620.9 MB/s and 897.3 MB/s, respectively, and a burst rate of 263.3 MB/s when reading.
When reading 4KB blocks, the P1 reached 12,254 IOPS and had an average speed of 47.867 MB/s. The drive was considerably faster when writing, reaching 46,380 IOPS with an average speed of 181.172 MB/s.
Anvil's Storage Utilities:
Anvil's Storage Utilities is another benchmark designed with SSDs in mind. The standard storage benchmark measures a drive's performance by testing its transfer speeds, access times and IOPS.
Lastly, I ran a series of tests using Iometer. This tool can be configured to benchmark a number of things. In this case, I used it to measure the SX6000 Pro's read and write speeds and the number of operations per second. The tests were run using random bytes and a queue depth of 3.
The SX6000 Pro's performance was very similar to what we saw in our other tests. The drive was able to read at 1985.95 MB/s and write at 1457.39 MB/s.
The SX6000 Pro's random read and write performance was hit and miss when tested with Iometer. While the drive was able to write at an impressive 579.45 MB/s, its read speed averaged out at only 169.06 MB/s.
According to ADATA, the 512GB SX6000 Pro is capable of 250,000 IOPS when reading and 240,000 IOPS when writing 4K blocks. In our tests, the drive reached 43,280 random read IOPS and 148,341 random write IOPS. As with most drives, the SX6000 Pro performed better at higher queue depths. With four threads and the queue depth set to 32, it reached 151,483 random read IOPS and 152,516 random write IOPS.
PCMark 8 - Storage Test:
PCMark 8 is a complete benchmark for Windows. It includes five benchmark tests, each designed around a specific scenario. The storage benchmark measures drive performance using real-world traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games.
PCMark 8 also includes a consistency test which measures the performance consistency and degradation tendency of a storage system. The test reports the performance level at the start, the degraded steady-state and the recovered state as well as the number of iterations required to reach the degraded state and the recovered state. For this test, we are focusing on the Adobe Photoshop (Heavy) trace and will look at both the bandwidth and latency of the drive
The SX6000 Pro didn't do as well as some of the other drives in this test. Its bandwidth dropped below 100 MB/s during the degradation phase, pushing its latency above the 300ms mark. The SX6000 Pro's performance increased somewhat during the steady state and recovery phase. However, it lagged well behind the drives from Samsung and Western Digital, topping out at only 624 MB/s.
While SSD's offer many benefits, there are some downsides to using flash memory. One of the biggest issues people run into is performance degradation. Over time, an SSD will run out of fresh blocks and will have to write over data the file system has marked as deleted. This procedure is very complicated and can slow an SSD's write speeds considerably.
To fix this problem, most manufacturers have added TRIM support to their SSDs. The TRIM command allows an operating system, such as Windows 10, to tell an SSD which data blocks are no longer in use. Using this information, the drive pro-actively erases these blocks and adds them to the free block pool.
To test the SX6000 Pro's TRIM and garbage collection functions, I first put the drive in a "dirty" state. I used Iometer to fill 80% of the drive and then ran a random write test for 30 minutes. Looking at the screenshot below, you can see that the SX6000 Pro's average read and write speeds dropped to 1635.65 MB/s and 35.99 MB/s, respectively.
ADATA SX6000 Pro - Dirty
To see how well the SX6000 Pro could recover, I let the computer sit for about 30 minutes and then reran the test. The drive wasn't able to reach the factory fresh performance shown in our earlier tests. However, its sequential write speed jumped up to 750.11 MB/s.
ADATA SX6000 Pro - After TRIM
Lastly, I used Parted Magic to perform a secure erase on the SX6000 Pro. With the drive wiped clean, it had average read and write speeds of 1914.11 MB/s and 1008.00 MB/s, respectively.
ADATA SX6000 Pro - Secure Erased
While not the fastest or most feature packed PCIe SSD to come through the 'Labs, the ADATA XPG SX6000 Pro delivers a lot of bang for your buck. This single-sided, M.2 form factor SSD is powered by Realtek's RTS5763DL controller and is available with up to 1TB of 3D TLC NAND flash. Combine this with a PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe 1.3 interface and you have an affordable drive capable of delivering up to four times the performance of your average SATA 6Gb/s SSD. In our sequential read and write tests, the 512GB version of the SX6000 Pro was able to read at speeds as high as 2,126 MB/s and write at speeds in excess of 1,547 MB/s. It also did reasonably well in our random write tests, but, for whatever reason, lagged behind many of the other PCIe SSDs when doing random reads at low queue depths.
Of course, fast read and write speeds aren't the only things the XPG SX6000 Pro has to offer. Like most TLC-based SSDs, the drive uses an SLC caching algorithm to optimize performance during sustained writes. The SX6000 Pro also employs LDPC error correcting code technology to detect and fix a wider range of data errors for more reliable data transfers and a longer product lifespan. To top it all off, the drive comes with a sleek black XPG heatsink and is backed by a 5 year warranty.
- Available in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities
- PCIe 3.0 x4 interface with NVMe protocol
- Realtek RTS5763DL controller
- Equipped with 3D TLC NAND
- Good sequential read and write speeds under most conditions
- Good random write performance
- Small M.2 2280 form factor
- Intelligent SLC caching
- Advanced hardware LDPC ECC technology
- Includes heatsink
- Works with ADATA's SSD Toolbox software
- Reasonably priced
- 5 year warranty
- Mediocre random read performance
- Write speed drops considerably when SLC cache is full
- Does not support hardware based encryption