Adata XPG Gammix S70 Blade SSD review: A worthy Samsung 980 Pro rival

Adata XPG Gammix S70 Blade SSD review: A worthy Samsung 980 Pro rival

The Adata XPG Gammix S70 Blade is the second-fastest NVMe SSD we’ve tested, just edging out Samsung’s superb 980 Pro, which it replaces in second place. It’s also PlayStation 5 compatible, and it outperforms its predecessor, the previously reviewed and fast-in-its-own-right XPG Gammix S70, in real-world performance.

Design and features

The Blade does away with the earlier S70’s huge, permanent (in terms of the warranty) heat sink, which rendered it unsuitable for laptops. Instead, it uses a narrow heat spreader that comes with the package but isn’t attached. The second major modification is the transition to 176-layer TLC NAND, which replaces the S70’s 96-layer NAND. Aside from that, it’s the same M.2 2280 (22mm wide, 80mm long) SSD with the same Innogrit IG5236 controller.

There’s still 1GB of DRAM cache per terabyte of NAND, and around a third of the NAND—333GB for the 1TB version and 666GB for the 2TB one I tested—can be treated as SLC for secondary caching purposes. Those figures decrease as the drive fills up.

S70 Blade

The drive comes in two capacities, as you might have guessed from the last paragraph: 1TB (currently around $150 on Amazon) and 2TB (currently around $300 on Amazon). Both have a five-year warranty and are certified for 740TBW and 1480 TBW, respectively.

Performance

Though it couldn’t quite equal the huge (and quite pricey) Seagate FireCuda 530 in terms of overall performance, the Adata S70 Blade outperformed it in the written test of CrystalDiskMark 6. In a number of other tests, it held its own against Samsung’s superb 980 Pro, and in some of them, it bested or ran neck and neck with it.

S70 Blade

The Adata S70 Blade came in third place in the 48GB transfer tests displayed below. The 980 Pro is only a smidgeon behind the FireCuda 530.

S70 Blade

Those PCIe 4 scores are also a significant upgrade over the previous S70, whose real-world performance on the latest generation of transport technology didn’t quite match its flashy synthetic benchmark results. See the list below.

S70 Blade

Our long 450GB write test was where the XPG Gammix S70 Blade actually knocked the Samsung 980 Pro out of the second position. Continuously writing this much data reveals when the secondary cache is full. It doesn’t on better drives like the FireCuda 530, Samsung 980 Pro, and S70 Blade. At least not on a 2TB drive that isn’t full.

S70 Blade

Over PCIe 3, the S70 Blade nearly matched the FireCuda 530, as you can see above. In this test, a one-second difference is well within the margin of error.

The PCIe 3 tests run on a Core i7-5820K/Asus X99 Deluxe system with four 16GB Kingston 2666MHz DDR4 modules, a Zotac (NVidia) GT 710 1GB x2 PCIe graphics card, and an Asmedia ASM3242 USB 3.2×2 card, all running Windows 10 64-bit. The 48GB read and write testing, it also includes a Gigabyte GC-Alpine Thunderbolt 3 card and Softperfect Ramdisk 3.4.6.

The PCIe 4 testing was performed on an MSI MEG X570 motherboard with an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-core CPU and the identical Kingston DRAM, cards, and software as the previous tests. Every series of tests is run on an empty or nearly empty drive, which is TRIM’d after each round of tests. As the drive fills full, performance will suffer.

Conclusion

The Adata XPG Gammix S70 Blade is clearly superior to the earlier S70 and one of the best NVMe SSDs on the market. In terms of performance, it’s on par with the Samsung 980 Pro, and it’s almost the same price.

Of course, the S70 Blade isn’t a Seagate FireCuda 530, but neither is any other SSD—and as a result, the FireCuda is significantly more expensive. Unfortunately, the 530 was not available at the time of publishing. The S70 Blade, thankfully, is. It will save you some money and is really quick in its own right.

 

 

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