Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System
I know this is not our first M.2 drive in our hands before, as that honor technically goes to the Kingston HyperX Predator my colleague Jonathan Kwan reviewed back in 2015. Even so, I have always been fascinated at the small size of this form factor. Considering it is about the size of some sticks of gum, it floors me with the diminutive size. The Gigabyte SSD is an M.2 2280 size, which means it is 22mm by 80mm, hence its numerical designation. The Gigabyte M.2 PCIe SSD 256GB works on the NVMe 1.3 logical device interface and plugs into compatible motherboards directly. Electrically, M.2 NVMe interfaces with PCIe 3.0. The Gigabyte M.2 PCIe uses two lanes for up to 2000MB/s bandwidth in each direction compared to four lanes for higher-end NVMe drives. From the label, you can see this Gigabyte SSD is made in Taiwan.
On the underside of the Gigabyte M.2 PCIe SSD 256GB, you will find no components to be interested in. A label directly on the back of the drive shows miscellaneous information, including all the certification and disposal information symbols. From the left label, you can see again we have the 256GB capacity printed here. One interesting thing I have noticed is the fact the Gigabyte labels on both sides reminds me of some of the Samsung M.2 drives, at least with its color scheme. Otherwise, there really is not much else to be interested in here.
Peeling the top label back, we can see there are two major different components underneath. The first is a Phison PS5008-E8T. This controller is actually designed to be used without any onboard memory, and to mitigate the negative performance effects of such a design, the NVMe Host Memory Buffer feature was added. As such, we do not have any DRAM chips here. Otherwise, the PS5008-E8T is fabricated on the 40nm process, and is a dual-core chip with End-to-End Data Path Protection, StrongECC, SmartECC, SmartFlush, GuaranteedFlush, and Built-in Static and Dynamic Wear-Leveling support. According to Gigabyte, the rated power consumption is 0.05W idle, 2.2W read, and 2.1W write.
The other major component to take note of are the four NAND flash nearby. It is marked 'KA19G54AOE'. According to the manufacturer, this is either Toshiba BiCS3 or Spectek/Micron B16. Both of these are 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash chips. Personally, I think this looks more like Spectek/Micron, especially since Toshiba TLC NAND flash are usually marked differently. With some quick math, we can see that each of the NAND flash chips are 512Gb or 64GB in size, making up the full 256GB size together. Its rated write endurance is 200TB, which equates to over 182GB per day during the three years of coverage. This is pretty good for a drive of this capacity. In the Windows OS, you will see 238GB available for use. Overall, the whole package has a rated mean time between failures of 1.5 million hours. As we already mentioned, the Gigabyte M.2 PCIe SSD 256GB is backed by a three year warranty.
Our test configuration is as follows:
CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K
CPU Cooling: CRYORIG C7
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5
RAM: Patriot Viper Elite PC4-24000 2x8GB
Graphics: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 2GB
Chassis: NZXT H200i
Storage: Patriot Ignite 480GB, Gigabyte UD PRO 256GB
Power: Seasonic PRIME 600 Titanium Fanless 600W
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
4. Benchmark: ATTO Disk Benchmark
5. Benchmark: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tach 126.96.36.199
7. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 4.60
8. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 9.0
9. Benchmark: PCMark Vantage
10. Benchmark: PCMark 8