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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 05 September 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
ADATA XPG SX900 Solid State Drive
Closer Look: ADATA XPG SX900 SSD
Features and Specifications
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
PCMark Vantage HDD Tests
ADATA XPG SX900 SSD Conclusion

ADATA XPG SX900 Solid State Drive Review

Manufacturer: ADATA Technology Co., Ltd
Product Name: XPG SX900 Solid State Drive
Model Number: ASX900S3-256GM-C (256GB Capacity)
UPC: 713435794739 (256GB) 713435794746 (512GB)
Prices: 64GB (Newegg / Amazon), 128GB (Newegg / Amazon), 256GB (Newegg / Amazon), 512GB (Newegg / Amazon)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by ADATA.

Until recently, all SandForce-based solid state drive storage products came with a reserved NAND flash capacity referred to as 'Over Provisioning', used for low-level tasks by the SSD controller. Available now with the ADATA XPG SX900 series, a LSI-SandForce 2281-based solid state drive, capacity grows 7% larger thanks to new firmware that specifies binary capacity points while preserving performance. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the value-priced 256GB ADATA XPG SX900 SSD (model ASX900S3-256GM-C).

ADATA knows that SandForce-driven SSDs are a win-win combination of performance and speed. In this article, Based on the popular SandForce SF-2281 SATA 6Gb/s controller and fast IMFT-branded NAND flash components, ADATA claims the SX900 is capable of 550 MB/s read and 530 MB/s write speed with 4K random write speeds as high as 90,000 IOPS in real world testing. We test these claims, and compare performance to competing storage solid-state solutions in this review to find out which SSD is best.

The second-generation SF-2281 SSD processor maintains all of the original core technology SandForce originally introduced in the SF-1200 series, but now improves SSD performance with 20% faster IOPS and 40% faster sequential read/write throughput. They've enhanced BCH ECC capability, and the new processor now supports ATA-7 Security Erase. Finally, the new SF-2200 series implements cost-effective 20nm-class NAND flash from all leading flash vendors with Asynch/ONFi1/ONFi2/Toggle interfaces.

ADATA-XPG-SX900-SSD-Corner.jpg

Solid State vs Hard Disk

Despite decades of design improvements, the hard disk drive (HDD) is still the slowest component of any personal computer system. Consider that modern desktop processors have a 1 ns response time (nanosecond = one billionth of one second), while system memory responds between 30-90 ns. Traditional hard drive technology utilizes magnetic spinning media, and even the fastest spinning mechanical storage products still exhibit a 9,000,000 ns / 9 ms initial response time (millisecond = one thousandth of one second). In more relevant terms, the processor receives the command and must then wait for system memory to fetch related data from the storage drive. This is why any computer system is only as fast as the slowest component in the data chain; usually the hard drive.

In a perfect world all of the components operate at the same speed. Until that day comes, the real-world goal for achieving optimal performance is for system memory to operate as quickly as the central processor and then for the storage drive to operate as fast as memory. With present-day technology this is an impossible task, so enthusiasts try to close the speed gaps between components as much as possible. Although system memory is up to 90x (9000%) slower than most processors, consider then that the hard drive is an added 1000x (100,000%) slower than that same memory. Essentially, these three components are as different in speed as walking is to driving and flying.

Solid State Drive technology bridges the largest gap in these response times. The difference a SSD makes to operational response times and program speeds is dramatic, and takes the storage drive from a slow 'walking' speed to a much faster 'driving' speed. Solid State Drive technology improves initial response times by more than 450x (45,000%) for applications and Operating System software, when compared to their mechanical HDD counterparts. The biggest mistake PC hardware enthusiasts make with regard to SSD technology is grading them based on bandwidth speed. File transfer speeds are important, but only so long as the operational IOPS performance can sustain that bandwidth under load.

Bandwidth Speed vs Operational Performance

As we've explained in our SSD Benchmark Tests: SATA IDE vs AHCI Mode guide, Solid State Drive performance revolves around two dynamics: bandwidth speed (MB/s) and operational performance (IOPS). These two metrics work together, but one is more important than the other. Consider this analogy: bandwidth determines how much cargo a ship can transport in one voyage, and operational IOPS performance is how fast the ship moves. By understanding this and applying it to SSD storage, there is a clear importance set on each variable depending on the task at hand.

For casual users, especially those with laptop or desktop computers that have been upgraded to use an SSD, the naturally quick response time is enough to automatically improve the user experience. Bandwidth speed is important, but only to the extent that operational performance meets the minimum needs of the system. If an SSD has a very high bandwidth speed but a low operational performance, it will take longer to load applications and boot the computer into Windows than if the SSD offered a higher IOPS performance.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: ADATA XPG SX900 Solid State DriveServando Silva 2012-09-06 22:30
I'm using a pair of SX900 on RAID 0 mode with my P8Z77-I Deluxe and it's a total pleasure.
Maximum Read for seq. files is around 1,100 MB. I couldn't be happier. Before those, I had an Agility 2, and before Intel X-25M, G Skill Phoenix Pro and OCZ Agility 1.

Thank you for the review, Olin.
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# RE: ADATA XPG SX900 Solid State DriveDavid Ramsey 2012-09-10 12:24
Holy crap! Newegg's selling the 512G version for $339!
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# Eggzactly!RealNeil 2012-09-11 07:01
They do have some outstanding sales at the Egg, but that's usually ~after~ I've spent all of my monthly mad money.
I have an ADATA 120GB SATA-II SSD on my old i7-870 Lynnfield system that is still damn fast. I've had no problems with it and have been using it for a long time. The price was good when I bought it too.
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# RE: ADATA XPG SX900 Solid State Drivev1ewr 2012-09-12 01:43
Why doesn't anybody test the Mushkin Chronos 240GB SSD [MKNSSDCR240GB] to compare the others with?
Maybe because it rates as high or higher than most SSDs of same capacity? ;-) And it's also cheaper than most:
##newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226237
I got 2 of these, and I'm very happy with their performance.
CrystalDiskMark: 508, 238, 463, 223, 35, 17, 128, 57
AS SSD Benchmark: 516, 236, 22, 17, 125, 41, score 380
Testbed PC [relevant parts]:
CPU: Intel i7-3960X @ 4.2GHz
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 liquid cooled
RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance 1866 CMZ16GX3M4X1866C9R XMP Profile 1
AHCI enabled in BIOS.

HTH [hope this helps]
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# RE: RE: ADATA XPG SX900 Solid State DriveDavid Ramsey 2012-09-12 07:41
Probably because Mushkin hasn't sent out any review samples.
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# RE: RE: ADATA XPG SX900 Solid State DriveOlin Coles 2012-09-12 07:42
Good to hear you found a bargain on SSDs in the Mushkin Chronos series. Unfortunately, Mushkin's marketing team is given very few product samples, and they only ship them to sites that give favorable reviews. We're not on the top of their list.
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# Raid 6mikeinnyc 2012-09-12 20:23
Read - 791 mb/s Write - 813.2 mb/s in Raid 6 Configuration(Don't use 0)

I have a SuperComputer(micro) Intel E7-8860 with 4 CPUS. I needed faster speeds for my VMs. In the VM world spindles are garbarge even in raid 0. Multitasking and opening up 10 in a row is now no problem. Easily detected in BIOS and configured 123 with external backup.

I use 10 VMs for algo development and replication of results in D:\ drive.

Smoked my OCZ Vertex 3 Badly which is fast and is my C drive... for now.

Note: install SSD with proper harddrive casing (if Raid)otherwise the 3 1/2" casing won't fit. Holes are off by 2cm. It will work in regular computer not in enterprise. The SSD were an exact fit of my Raptors so I was able to install it in hdcasing no problem. So far so good. All 5 drives tested ok. Also this is my first Adata purchase... never heard of them but I guess you all will. Fastttttttt.
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# I need this!!!Anthony Moore 2012-09-18 14:48
Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, Borderlands 3...They take up a lot of space. I need one of these badly!
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