REVIEW: ADATA XPG Spectrix S40G 512GB – Introduction of ADATA XPG Spectrix S40G SSD and test set

It’s been some Friday that I tested the SSD and now I’m going back to it. I have recently decided to change the testing methodology, mainly in favor of writing tests of large amounts of data. Modern PCIe NVMe disks do not have problems reading sequentially or randomly at high speed, writing is typically problematic. My goal is to exhaust various DRAM caches, SLC caches and so on. There will also be graphics from some common benchmarks and also some quick testers in Linux. I plan to improve and expand the testing methodology, however, it is not something that will be done now or in the near future.

ADATA sells the tested SSD for 1990 CZK with VAT, which puts the disk in a special vacuum, because in this price category another 512GB SSD with DRAM cache more or less does not exist, except for the WD SN550 Blue, but it is a paper slower SSD. Forks of various summer events throw a bit into it (in some e-shops, the tested S40G can be found for 1800 CZK with VAT), so it is possible to buy a very good Samsung 970 EVO 500GB for this price, but it will not last forever. ADATA has the primary advantage that it sells SSDs with a heat sink attached, which has built-in RGB LEDs, which some users may like in their Forklite glass case, some may not care, others will clearly mind. The main problem with the heatsink is that it is stuck and it may not be easy to peel it off.

The SSD itself has a minimalist package, in which we can find more or less everything we need, ie the SSD itself, the manual and other software can be easily downloaded from the Internet.

The ADATA XPG Spectrix S40G is a slightly better SSD than the previously tested S20G model, mainly due to the presence of DRAM cache and slightly higher capacity. This SSD is used by the Realtek RTS5762 controller, it is an available controller from 2018 and there is a full 64MB DDR3 DRAM cache. At first I thought I missed it, but the chip is really some older NDR3 module from Nanya with the year 2016 printed. I’m glad the SSD has a DRAM cache, but 64MB seems to me very little, 512MB would make more sense, ideally even faster DDR4 memory instead of slower DDR3.

The Realtek controller supports the NVMe 1.3 standard, has four channels for NAND memory, and supports TLC and QLC NAND memory. The controllers also support AES256 encryption, which is not quite common with cheaper controllers, but I’m not sure how much it makes sense, as most users will still encrypt with BitLocker, VeraCrypt, or something else. The main problem of this controller is its age, it went on the market in 2018.

The SSD allegedly uses NAND chips from Micron and these are 3D TLC chips, but I don’t know exactly which ones. There is also an SLC cache, but I do not know its size, because it is dynamic.

In terms of performance, ADATA claims that the SSD can read up to 3500 MB / s sequentially and write up to 1900 MB / s sequentially in terms of transcripts, listing 320 TBW for the 512GB version, which I consider sufficient given the capacity and price . In addition, the warranty is five years, provided that we do not write over 320 TB of data, which is not bad at all, many competitors will offer a maximum of three years.

ADATA offers the ADATA SSD ToolBox program for its SSDs, in which we can perform relatively traditional things such as firmware upgrades, find out the health of the SSD, Secure Erase and so on.

Test set

I will present the test set in speed, I tested on the GIGABYTE X570 I AORUS PRO WIFI motherboard. The Gigabyte AORUS 7000s Gen4 2TB SSD was only partially tested, as I do not have two identical pieces, so I performed write tests compared to the older Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD 500GB (for the 205 and 447 GB data write test). The SSD served as the source read disk for other SSDs and will continue to do so.

For the best performance of the tested SSD, I always connect to the main M.2 slot, which is connected to the processor by four fourth-generation PCIe lines. This upper slot has an AMD X570 chipset cooler above it, there is also a small fan, which normally only spins around 2000 RPM. To improve the performance of all tested SSDs, I changed its behavior to “Standard”, so that the fan is constantly rotating at some 3500-4400 RPM and blowing the PCIe NVMe disk controller.

The Gigabyte AORUS 7000s 2TB resides as a system drive in the second lower slot of the motherboard, which is connected by four PCIe Gen4 lines to the AMD X570 chipset. During testing, I don’t have any devices connected, except for a keyboard and mouse, that would take up connectivity between the chipset and the CPU. I test without a network and without WiFi and other USB devices. The Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 550 2GB serves as the graphics card, as I don’t need an extremely fast GPU, and it’s also because the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X processor doesn’t have an integrated graphics core, which could negatively affect performance in some tests. The processor cools the Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 heatsink with the Noctua NF-F12 iPPC-2000 fan. The set is powered by the Corsair HX1200 power supply and the primary operating system is Windows 10 Pro v20H2.

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