The MyDigitalSSD SBX SSD Review: NVMe On The Cheapby Billy Tallis on May 1, 2018 8:05 AM EST
MyDigitalSSD's business model revolves around selling drives based on Phison reference designs. Like any other small SSD brand, MyDigitalSSD lacks the resources to develop their own SSD controller or even write their own firmware from scratch. The way MyDigitalSSD distinguishes themselves from the many competing brands is by offering drives for substantially lower prices and by being one of the first to market with new controllers from Phison. The SBX checks both boxes: it is priced below the Samsung 860 EVO SATA SSD, and it hit the market in December 2017 as the first Phison E8 drive to ship and one of the earliest retail SSDs to feature Toshiba/SanDisk 64-layer 3D NAND.
As one of the cheapest NVMe SSDs on the retail market, the MyDigitalSSD SBX is a good indicator of the progress NVMe drives have made toward replacing SATA SSDs instead of merely coexisting as a premium high-end alternative.
The Phison E8 controller is one of Phison's low-end options from their second generation of NVMe SSD controllers. The E8 features just two PCIe lanes instead of the usual 4 enabled by an M.2 slot, and a four-channel interface to the NAND—half what is typical for high-end NVMe SSDs. These restrictions combined with a 40nm fabrication process allow the E8 to be a much smaller and cheaper controller than those aiming for the high-end part of the market. To cut costs even further, drive makers can opt for the Phison E8T variant that drops the external DRAM interface. The E8T supports the NVMe Host Memory Buffer feature to mitigate the performance impact DRAMless SSDs usually suffer from, but the E8T hasn't caught on in the consumer SSD market yet.
Despite its low-end role, the Phison E8 is in several ways more advanced than Phison's E7, their first NVMe SSD controller. Major improvements to the error correction capabilities have allowed the E8 to support 3D TLC NAND instead of being confined to the 15nm planar MLC used by E7 drives. The E8 and E8T controllers will also be joined by a high-end E12 controller later this year to round out Phison's second generation of NVMe controllers.
|MyDigitalSSD SBX Specifications|
|Capacity||128 GB||256 GB||512 GB||1 TB|
|Form Factor||M.2 2280|
|Interface||PCIe 3.1 x2, NVMe 1.2|
|NAND||Toshiba BiCS3 64-layer 3D TLC|
|Sequential Read||1600 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||1300 MB/s|
|4KB Random Read||240k IOPS|
|4KB Random Write||180k IOPS|
|Max Power||5 W|
|Write Endurance||120 TB
|Amazon Price||$52.99 (41¢/GB)||$84.99 (33¢/GB)||$157.99 (31¢/GB)||$309.99 (30¢/GB)|
This review will primarily compare the SBX against other recent NVMe SSDs, but a few SATA results are included for context. As the cheapest NVMe SSD we have tested so far, the SBX isn't quite in direct competition to all the NVMe SSDs it is being compared against. We have other low-end NVMe SSD reviews in the works including Kingston's A1000 (their take on the Phison E8 platform), and the HP EX900 featuring Silicon Motion's low-end SM2263XT controller. ADATA's SX6000 is the main alternative to the SBX for a NVMe drive in this price range, but we have not had the chance to test the SX6000 or any other drives using Realtek's SSD controller.
We did not test the MyDigitalSSD BPX, the SBX's predecessor based on the Phison E7 platform with 15nm planar MLC NAND. Instead, we have results from the Patriot Hellfire and Team T-Force Cardea, two other M.2 drives based on the same reference design.
|AnandTech 2017/2018 Consumer SSD Testbed|
|CPU||Intel Xeon E3 1240 v5|
|Motherboard||ASRock Fatal1ty E3V5 Performance Gaming/OC|
|Memory||4x 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR4-2400 CL15|
|Graphics||AMD Radeon HD 5450, 1920x1200@60Hz|
|Software||Windows 10 x64, version 1709|
|Linux kernel version 4.14, fio version 3.1|
- Thanks to Intel for the Xeon E3 1240 v5 CPU
- Thanks to ASRock for the E3V5 Performance Gaming/OC
- Thanks to G.SKILL for the Ripjaws DDR4-2400 RAM
- Thanks to Corsair for the RM750 power supply, Carbide 200R case, and Hydro H60 CPU cooler
- Thanks to Quarch for the XLC Programmable Power Module and accessories
- Thanks to StarTech for providing a RK2236BKF 22U rack cabinet.
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Samus - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - linkDitto. I think it'd crazy to use a 2.5" over an M2 if you have the M2 slot available, especially since M2 SATA drives are often cheaper than 2.5" drives (because they are less expensive to manufacture, and the OEM market is larger.)
And as far as SATA M2 drives, if you have an M2 slot that supports NVMe, it's hard to justify not using an NVMe SSD when the cost difference is less than 20%...I picked up the WD Black 512GB NVMe drive last week for $150. A decent 540GB class SATA M2 SSD is at least $120.
Death666Angel - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - linkIf every dollar counts and the performance increase is small or won't be used, it's pretty easy to justify getting a SATA M.2 drive instead of an NVME one.
Death666Angel - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - linkEspecially since small capacities are likely to be very close in speed, when comparing NMVE and SATA M.2.
Byte - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - linkAs someone who does a lot of testing/tweaking, i love the easy formfactor, but hate having to screw and unscrew. We really need a tooless update.
MajGenRelativity - Thursday, May 3, 2018 - linkHonestly, I find it about the same amount of time/difficulty to (un)screw an M.2 drive as it is to work with even a toolless 2.5" drive. Unless the M.2 drive is under the GPU, in which case that really annoys me
leexgx - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - linkStill £/$30 more for a customer who is not going to benefit from the nvme ssd (and less money for you)
I hardly notice the difference between the sata and nvme ssd my self, main difference is them above 1GB/s speeds but day to day usage I don't really notice much the difference between them unless I am looking for the difference (as long as it's Not a HDD even a slow ssd is many times faster then a hdd)
Do Samsung 850 evo have am issue if they have been left on for to long (like 30 days) as my 850 evo just crap it self out smart fail at Bios and can't read it (only done basic not hirions boot CD yet)
MajGenRelativity - Thursday, May 3, 2018 - linkActually, I'd technically make a little more money if I sold them an NVMe SSD (my labor cost scales with price of parts), but they wouldn't benefit from it, so I generally don't recommend them. 850 Evo's don't normally have that issue.
peevee - Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - linkAT, how about a couple of user-reproducible, real life tests? Compilation of a large software package. Unzipping a large archive. Recoding video. Just to demonstrate the scale of improvement the buyers could actually SEE.
SanX - Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - linkTwo reasons come instantly. Because only salespeople left in IT. No one even discuss calling lawyers for such confusing people blatant claims like 1600MB/second read speed this product has. And because Windows for example will load something like in 17.6 seconds instead of 17.9 with this drive vs SSD.
Funny also is that 2-3 times slower drive which does not deliver at all is just 25-30% cheaper then the leaders.
peevee - Friday, May 4, 2018 - linkThis site is often for people for assemble their own PCs and/or choose what to buy for their companies. I'd think a few reproducible, real life tests vs proprietary and compressed tests would show the value of improvements.
Maybe it is what AT really is afraid of, because tests show the improvements which do not exist in real life?