Question SSD NVMe flash types

BoomerD

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I'm looking to upgrade my SSD boot/storage. I currently have a WE Green SSD 240GB. My motherboard (ASRock z390 Phantom Gaming 4) supports M.2 with 2 M.2 ports...one currently holds a HP EX950 1TB. (apparently 3D-TLC NAND)
I'd like to add a 2TB drive into the second port. I'm getting (probably needlessly) hung up on the NAND types; TLC, QLC, 3D-QLC, V-NAND, etc. I know that V-NAND is Samsung's version of 3D-NAND, and I (sort of) understand the difference between TLC and QLC, (bits per cell) but that's about it. I want fast, but also want reliability. Far too many I see on NewEgg or Amazon have terrible reviews, mainly about warranty issues when one fails. (SKHynix seems to have the most problems) The review sites are all over the place. Site A says, "Product X is the best we've ever tested." but Site B says " Product X is one of the worst in its price range. Better to get Product Y," which Site C says is crappy. Seems like the reviews are being written by manufacturers, pushing their product over the others.
Unfortunately, I don't have an unlimited budget, and would prefer to stay around $150, but could stretch it to about $200 if the extra cost was justified.

Thanks for reading.

EDIT: And, does the difference in NAND types really matter for a home user? Gaming, surfing, light MS Office work, etc.
 
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Hotrod2go

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Fwiw, I recently got 1TB Kingston KC3000S as a game drive (3D TLC) & has claimed (by manufacturer) 800 TBW. One of the highest TBW in its class. I am so impressed by it, that I ordered another one for the OS drive. Although my current gaming rig only supports PCIe 3 for the other M.2 slots, at least it will max out that tech for now & I'll carry them both over to a new build later this year anyway for full PCIe 4 support across all storage slots with either AMD or Intel based systems when I choose either camp for an upgrade.
That M.2 Nvme drive is most affordable too (under AUD $200) compared to the opposition in that market from what I can tell with current online prices, at least in my part of the world.
 

BoomerD

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HotRod, I've looked at that drive. The 2TB model is currently around $250 US at newegg or amazon.
 

Hotrod2go

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HotRod, I've looked at that drive. The 2TB model is currently around $250 US at newegg or amazon.
Unfortunately if you want speed & long life, then consumer has to pay for it unless get lucky & find a clearance sale or something.
Like you I was looking at 2TB drives as well but decided to split it up cause I can with expansion slots on my system. In your case though with only 2 slots available & you really want the 2TB size, you'll have to compromise on speed/nand type to fit budget.
 

BoomerD

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I've looked at those before, both the 660P and the 670P. Intel SSD's aren't made by Intel any more. They WERE solidigm, but are now more SKHynix than anything else.


Still, decent enough drives, however, IF I go Intel (Solidigm) I think I'd go with the newer 670P for $10 more.

I probably won't buy ANYTHING before Prime Day...just to see what goes on sale.
 
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BoomerD

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Unfortunately if you want speed & long life, then consumer has to pay for it unless get lucky & find a clearance sale or something.
Like you I was looking at 2TB drives as well but decided to split it up cause I can with expansion slots on my system. In your case though with only 2 slots available & you really want the 2TB size, you'll have to compromise on speed/nand type to fit budget.
And, since my board and processor (I7-9700K) are only PCI-E 3.0, it really doesn't make any sense to spend more on one that's PCI-E 4.0. I won't see the extra speed.
 

Hotrod2go

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And, since my board and processor (I7-9700K) are only PCI-E 3.0, it really doesn't make any sense to spend more on one that's PCI-E 4.0. I won't see the extra speed.
If your happy with PCIe 3 speeds, then so be it. But if you plan on upgrading platform in future, recommend PCIe 4. :)
 

Tech Junky

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@BoomerD
I've been using a WD SN850 for boot/OS on a couple of systems and it's been good so far. I've been testing different drives though with a new thunderbolt setup and comparing them to internal / external speeds and came across the SN770 / gen4 / cheap @ $100/1TB and $200/2TB. I just ordered a couple of them for testing at the 1TB size with the plan of replacing my 2nd internal CS3030 with it and using the other for the enclosure. They come with a 600TBW for 1TB and 1200TBW for the 2TB size.

Realistically though you really don't need 1000+ TBW for these things unless you're a power user pushing tons of data daily since it takes a huge amount of data to make a dent in those TBW numbers with everyday use.

The drives show up tomorrow for testing but, reading all of the reviews before deciding on them seems like they will be worthwhile. They're just below the 850 in specs due to the no DRAM on the drive itself. Anything within reason in the last few years though is going to be TLC anyway unless you went with QLC by accident by being enticed by the lower price point. The 770's are gen4 which will be able to max out your M2 socket as well.

WD SN's use a SanDisk controller on them and perform pretty well. The other major option tend to use the Phison controllers which works pretty good as well in the right format. A couple of the drives I've been testing in the enclosure are Phison based E12's but, they have newer controllers for the gen4 / gen5 as well. The nest competitor up the line tier would be the E16 controllers.

For my older 8700K setup though I was using a Samsung SM961 and it flies as well. I went this route on then initial build because I didn't need a ton of capacity because it was just for the OS and the main storage is a Raid 10 setup.

Really as long as you go with something rates up to 3500R/W or beyond you should be set for decent performance.
 
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BoomerD

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@BoomerD
I've been using a WD SN850 for boot/OS on a couple of systems and it's been good so far. I've been testing different drives though with a new thunderbolt setup and comparing them to internal / external speeds and came across the SN770 / gen4 / cheap @ $100/1TB and $200/2TB. I just ordered a couple of them for testing at the 1TB size with the plan of replacing my 2nd internal CS3030 with it and using the other for the enclosure. They come with a 600TBW for 1TB and 1200TBW for the 2TB size.

Realistically though you really don't need 1000+ TBW for these things unless you're a power user pushing tons of data daily since it takes a huge amount of data to make a dent in those TBW numbers with everyday use.

The drives show up tomorrow for testing but, reading all of the reviews before deciding on them seems like they will be worthwhile. They're just below the 850 in specs due to the no DRAM on the drive itself. Anything within reason in the last few years though is going to be TLC anyway unless you went with QLC by accident by being enticed by the lower price point. The 770's are gen4 which will be able to max out your M2 socket as well.

WD SN's use a SanDisk controller on them and perform pretty well. The other major option tend to use the Phison controllers which works pretty good as well in the right format. A couple of the drives I've been testing in the enclosure are Phison based E12's but, they have newer controllers for the gen4 / gen5 as well. The nest competitor up the line tier would be the E16 controllers.

For my older 8700K setup though I was using a Samsung SM961 and it flies as well. I went this route on then initial build because I didn't need a ton of capacity because it was just for the OS and the main storage is a Raid 10 setup.

Really as long as you go with something rates up to 3500R/W or beyond you should be set for decent performance.
Thanks for the input. I've looked at the 770. Seems to be decent.
 

Tech Junky

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Thanks for the input. I've looked at the 770. Seems to be decent.
You're welcome.

It semes like a good all around drive at least from the reviews I've looked through in narrowing down some options for my enclosure project. I should know more though from personal use in a few hours. It's a different take on how to get speed than the conventional layouts we're used to seeing or programmed to look for from the marketing gods.

I like to actually test things myself vs rely on statements from people that make money from those statements. It's a more of a "trust but verify" kind of deal. When testing the enclosure stuff I had another cable that was sold under the guise of USB4/TB3 but, it turned out the speeds weren't there with it but, it works fine for USB-10gbps / 100W charging which was its intended purpose while another older cable actually hit 20gbps when only initially rated for 10gbps.

If only there were a "standard" test that doesn't just show the peak throughput numbers but the sustained use numbers to make comparisons a bit easier. That's the problem with most of these Crystal Disk Mark tests... when watching the actual numbers in HWINFO you can see it's not actually pushing those numbers most of the time. Drives might peak at 3000MB/s but, over longer durations level out to 500MB/s or fluctuate from a couple of MB/s to 950MB/s depending on the file sizes.

I'm hoping the 770's improve my view on sustained speeds vs synthetic. It will be at least on par with the 850 and copying internal to internal will show it stands up or is just more marketing BS.
 

WilliamM2

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Tech Junky

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Reviews like this tend to scare me away from products. Then again most of the reviews are for the 256GB option and there are only 2 reviews for the 2TB.

$150 though is a deal for 2TB. Is it reliable though is the bigger issue. I wouldn't put Mushkin in the same barrel as Seagate though.

  • InnoGrit Controller: IG5216
This is also something that needs further digging into as they're not quite as common.
 

BoomerD

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I'm skeptical. I had problems with Mushkin RAM years ago... And their customer service left much to be desired.
 
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WilliamM2

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Reviews like this tend to scare me away from products. Then again most of the reviews are for the 256GB option and there are only 2 reviews for the 2TB.

$150 though is a deal for 2TB. Is it reliable though is the bigger issue. I wouldn't put Mushkin in the same barrel as Seagate though.

  • InnoGrit Controller: IG5216
This is also something that needs further digging into as they're not quite as common.

I find reviews like that on ALL drives, including the SN850 and Intel drives mentioned above, and my own 980 Pro. I'd rather go by personal experience, and I've never had a Mushkin product fail.

Besides, it has a three year warranty, and I keep everything backed up. Failure isn't going to cause an issue.
 

BoomerD

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I find reviews like that on ALL drives, including the SN850 and Intel drives mentioned above, and my own 980 Pro. I'd rather go by personal experience, and I've never had a Mushkin product fail.

Besides, it has a three year warranty, and I keep everything backed up. Failure isn't going to cause an issue.
3 year warranty for a product where 5 years is the norm.
Of course you're right about reviews, both from paid reviewers and end users. The paid ones often say what the company pays them to say...while, more often than not, the negative reviews from end users are from people who (a) had no idea what they were buying... Or if it worked with their system, or (b) somehow damaged the item, couldn't do the install properly, or (again) had no fckn idea beyond "hurr durr, I gots me a new thingamajig... It must go here!"
 

NewMaxx

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I'm getting (probably needlessly) hung up on the NAND types; TLC, QLC, 3D-QLC, V-NAND, etc. I know that V-NAND is Samsung's version of 3D-NAND, and I (sort of) understand the difference between TLC and QLC, (bits per cell) but that's about it.

(SKHynix seems to have the most problems)

EDIT: And, does the difference in NAND types really matter for a home user? Gaming, surfing, light MS Office work, etc.
I cover these topics extensively on my subreddit and discord; just search my name. I have a section entitled "SSD Basics" that covers the technical aspects, albeit imperfectly.

Hynix is actually one of the better brands. Good OEM drives, and their P31 & P41 drives are excellent.

You mostly just find TLC and QLC for consumers drives and it doesn't matter too much. TLC is preferred.
 

BoomerD

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I cover these topics extensively on my subreddit and discord; just search my name. I have a section entitled "SSD Basics" that covers the technical aspects, albeit imperfectly.

Hynix is actually one of the better brands. Good OEM drives, and their P31 & P41 drives are excellent.

You mostly just find TLC and QLC for consumers drives and it doesn't matter too much. TLC is preferred.
I've been avoiding SK Hynix because of all the reviews I've seen that say (to the effect) that if you have a problem, Hynix refers you to the seller...who, after their normal return period, says to contact the manufacturer...who tells you to contact the seller........

Oh, and the P41, which I actually like, is reputed to be a real cooker...possibly requiring a good heatsink. (seems like if it gets THAT hot, the manufacturer should provide one)
 

BoomerD

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So, lots of things have (not surprisingly) sold out on Amazon...the SK Hynix P41 @ $207, the WD SN850 (heatsink model) @ $204, leaving me with the Samsung 980 Pro @ $195, ($184@ Newegg, (but the faster shipping kills the deal) The Samsung 970 EVO Plus @ $189, or the SK Hynix P31, currently at $159, the WD SN770 @ $179, the non-heatsink version of the WD SN850 @ $180. Just not much difference in price. Yes, the P31 is $20-$35 cheaper, but how do the various software packages compare? WD's software used to be pretty damned good. Never used Samsung's software beyond what they provided for ODD's.

In MOST of the benchmark categories, there's not a whole lot of overall difference. This drive is slightly better than that one or the other in this test, That drive smokes all of them in another test, etc.

IIRC, MOST of those are Gen4 x4 drives, something my board won't be able to take full advantage of...but if the prices are so close, it just doesn't matter.
 

Tech Junky

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@BoomerD

Side note on heat.... if you're just doing day to day stuff most NVME drives don't get that hot. It's when you're copying or reading data that maxes out the bandwidth / controller that you start seeing those higher temps. For instance running a DB with high transactions per second would probably cause it to heat up. Surfing the web, gaming, etc. not so much.

1657657112742.png

This is the new SN770 as my secondary drive. My primary sensors aren't working on the SN850 for some reason. The 850 though usually run s about 40-50C though in the laptop.
1657657382134.png

Here's the SN850 in my Server though sitting nice and chilly at 40C

1657657223272.png

A lot of the hype over drive temps is a bit much. When testing my drives for the TB enclosure I picked up I was really pushing them w/ R/W traffic to make sure the speeds were consistent.

When doing my abnormal punishment to the drives I noted the temps anywhere from 25C - 80C. Average though under load constantly usually was hovering around 60C. I wouldn't get too hung up on temps and focus more on the end user reviews or info you find here from other users. Some controllers do heat up more than others tough and some controllers bottleneck the speeds. DRAM \/ HMB - since the 770 doesn't use DRAM on the PCB it's using the system RAM as tis buffer and this appears to be the reason why it performs so well when I was stress testing it compared to other drives that did have DRAM on them.


In a Gen3 x4 slot I was able to internally get 3.5x3.4GB/s and the drive can also get Gen4 x4 speeds as that's what it's designed for. For $100/TB it's a good deal. I picked up 2 used ones for $200 shipped on Amazon for this testing. All the info is in the thread linked above.
 
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Tech Junky

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Kinda counter-intuitive.
It's mostly related to the CHIA crap that people are/were doing and destroying drives. They dropped the warranty specs to a reasonable level to not have to keep replacing stupid.

Normal use on SSD/NVME drives should last ~20 years, Reasonable people though would typically replace them every 5 years as they replace devices. Some of us though replace / swap things quite a bit more frequently.

I considered going 2TB when looking at the TB3/4 options but, since I have a NAS setup for bulk storage it doesn't make much of an argument to spend more on capacity. For the sake of talking about 4TB/8TB SSD/NVME drives they also get stuck at Gen3 speeds and the prices elevate a bit more than the $100/TB level. Whereas on the spinner side you can get $20/TB on a 20TB drive at the sacrifice for speed unless you stack the into a Raid setup.
 
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