ADATA likes to produce a broad range of SSDs, sampling from all the controller and NAND manufacturers. To that end, they have wholeheartedly embraced the use of 3D MLC NAND even as most brands are using the 3D NAND transition to entirely remove MLC from their consumer product lines or relegate it to niche models instead of treating it as the mainstream default. ADATA is selling multiple SATA and NVMe models using Micron's first-generation 3D MLC NAND. On the SATA side of things, they have the Ultimate SU900 and XPG SX950 as the MLC models (positioned above the SU800 and SU700 using 3D TLC). For the NVMe market, they have the XPG SX8000 and XPG SX9000 pairing 3D MLC with Silicon Motion and Marvell controllers respectively. So far, all of their 3D NAND SSDs have relied on Micron's first-generation 32-layer 3D NAND, the only 3D NAND available in volume on the open market.

The ADATA XPG SX950 is their top of the line SATA SSD. Technologically, it is very similar to their Ultimate SU900: both use the same Micron 3D MLC NAND and Silicon Motion SM2258 controller. The SX950 is distinguished by reserving more spare area (yielding usable capacities like 480GB instead of 512GB) and a six-year warranty instead of five. There may be significant firmware tuning differences, but there are no obvious signs such as one model providing TCG Opal encryption support (both lack that feature). ADATA did their own NAND packaging for the SX950, so it may be using flash binned for better endurance. The SU900 has a 2TB model listed but not yet available, while the SX950 line only goes up to 960GB, with limited availability of the largest model.

ADATA XPG SX950 Specifications
Capacity 240 GB 480 GB 960 GB
Model Number ASX950SS-240GM-C ASX950SS-480GM-C ASX950SS-960GM-C
Controller Silicon Motion SM2258
NAND Flash Micron 256Gbit 32-layer 3D MLC NAND
Sequential Read 560 MB/s
Sequential Write 520 MB/s 530 MB/s
Random Read IOPS 80k IOPS 90k IOPS 90k IOPS
Random Write IOPS 90k IOPS 90k IOPS 85k IOPS
TCG Opal Encryption No
Power Consumption Active: 0.82 W
Slumber: 0.41 W
Warranty 6 years
Write Endurance 200 TB 400 TB 800 TB
MSRP $139.99 $249.99 $449.99

The construction of the ADATA XPG SX950 is similar to ADATA's other recent SATA SSDs: a metal base and plastic lid are joined by a single screw through the center of the drive. The PCB occupies only half of the case, and has pads for eight NAND packages and two DRAM packages. On our 480GB sample, all eight NAND pads are occupied with dual-die packages, for a total raw capacity of 512GB.

Micron recently re-introduced MLC NAND to their consumer product line with the Crucial BX300, using their 32L 3D MLC and the SM2258 controller. The Crucial BX300 is positioned as more of an entry-level model, with a focus on lower capacities that cannot perform well when using their 3D TLC. The ADATA SX950 has twice the warranty period and up to five times the rated write endurance, but any performance differences will come down to firmware tweaks, and ADATA hasn't updated the firmware since the SX950 launched earlier this year. Current pricing for the SX950 shows that ADATA has not responded to the introduction of the BX300: for the two capacities where the models match up, the ADATA is more expensive by 25% and 45%. That's quite a premium for a longer warranty.

AnandTech 2017 SSD Testbed
CPU Intel Xeon E3 1240 v5
Motherboard ASRock Fatal1ty E3V5 Performance Gaming/OC
Chipset Intel C232
Memory 4x 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR4-2400 CL15
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 5450, 1920x1200@60Hz
Software Windows 10 x64, version 1703
Linux kernel version 4.12, fio version 2.21
AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer
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  • Lord of the Bored - Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - link

    Nanu-nanu, as you centaurians say.
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - link

    *beep-borp* I am an alien. I am superior. *borp-borp-beep*
  • svan1971 - Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - link

    I stopped reading after I don't identify as human. To much self loathing from a no doubt educated idiot.
  • svan1971 - Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - link

    LMAO Perfect...
  • Samus - Monday, October 9, 2017 - link

    Even if the SU950 was cheaper than the BX300, I'd still rather have the BX300. I've never had to send a drive in to Crucial for warranty. Ever. Intel and Crucial have a 0% defect rate in my workplaces.

    Samsung had a number of 840 EVO's go sour years ago that resulted in a number of drive being sent in and replaced with new drives with new firmwares. In 2014 an 840 Pro even went bad, although I realize that is quite an anomaly for Samsung. The 840 EVO's were well documented to have issues.

    I've seen a number of ADATA SP500's fail, they just drop and stop detecting at POST. Before Barefoot 3, OCZ drives had all the typical issues Sandforce drives were notorious for having until the SF-2281 launched and firmware matured. Recent OCZ drives, even the ARC100 (the cheapest Barefoot drive) is reasonably reliable. One was mailed in a few months ago for warranty due to Windows detecting SMART errors. The drive didn't fail, and data was cloned to an advance replacement OCZ mailed out next-day. The OCZ warranty process was excellent, but that doesn't help a drive began to fail.

    Two Mushkin Reactors suffered the same issue seemingly years apart, they would randomly not detect, give a BSOD, and so on. The data was cloned to replacement SSD's and the Mushkin drives were RMA'd (which was a complete pain in the ass compared to OCZ with a 2 week turnaround no less) and the drives were fleabayed.

    Granted, even Intel isn't immune to problems. Fortunately I have no SSD535's out in the field. These drives are notorious for self destructing from write amplification wear, and even though a firmware was issues to fix it recently, most of those drives have already killed themselves, and if you have an OEM model like a Lenovo, you can't apply the firmware (and Lenovo - reflecting their typical "quality" support - hasn't issued a firmware update even a year after Intel made it available.)

    Overall, my point is, why would anybody buy a drive from someone other than Intel, Micron/Crucial, or Samsung? It's just a ridiculous gamble and is unlikely to save you money. There are niche drives like the Reactor that is still the cheapest 1TB SSD, so there are exceptions, but what exactly is ADATA bringing to the table that Samsung isn't with the 750, Crucial isn't with the BX300, and Intel isn't with the 600p?
  • ddriver - Monday, October 9, 2017 - link

    You poor peasants and your precious money. One's social standing is measured by how much one has spent on hardware, not the actual value of the purchase, and of course, how much RGB LEDs it has.

    Silly ADATA, still haven't figured out how to justify the higher cost of ownership due to the lack of vertical integration. 9 letters - RGB LED FTW. Why is the industry sleeping, we have RGB LEDs on mobos, coolers, ram, mice, keyboards, but not on SSD? Or maybe they are saving that for the next quantum leap in technology that's gonna leave people dazzled.

    What intel brings with the 600p is hard to topple, it sure ain't easy to make an NVME drive that lousy. I also like how certain fairly expressive enterprise intel ssd drives behave when they run out of write cycles. While other vendors drives remain read-only, giving you the possibility to retrieve or use the existing data at your leisure, intel had the ingenious idea that such drives should brick themselves on the next post cycle. Such a great and highly useful feature. Who wouldn't want that?
  • Reflex - Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - link

    @samus You poor peasant! You poor poor peasant!
  • Golgatha777 - Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - link

    Anecdotal evidence to support your last paragraph. I have probably 20 or so Intel, Crucial, and Samsung drives (75%+ being Crucial drives) spread around laptops, desktops, and even a couple of game consoles. Not one failure in the bunch. I did have to flash one of my M500 drives due to a post error, but the issue was well documented and a fix was issued within a month of it being reported by Crucial. I do own a couple of Sandisk drives, but I did my research and they use Marvell controllers and Micron RAM, so I felt like those weren't a gamble.
  • Golgatha777 - Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - link

    That should be Sandisk RAM for the Sandisk drives (Ultra IIs), not Micron.
  • leexgx - Monday, October 16, 2017 - link

    but this is a MLC drive so probably outlast most other drives

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