By: Jonathan Kwan
January 14, 2022
"That is so unnecessary," my friend would say whenever she does not know how to respond. She would then follow up with another line, "You know what else is unnecessary? You." To be honest, after hearing it so many times, I still have no idea why saying "that is so unnecessary" is an appropriate response in pretty much every situation, and why asserting I am unnecessary is somehow considered a sassy comeback. However, when XPG sent along their latest NVMe PCIe 4.0-based budget SSD, the Atom 50 1TB, I cannot help but imagine some engineers sitting around the table product planning and talking like my friend. "This is so unnecessary. You know what else is unnecessary? DRAM." Just for background, SSD DRAM is used as a cache for writing data to the drive and storing a table that maps where each logical block address is physically located on the NAND flash memory. However, DRAM chips are not cheap even if you only need 1GB of DRAM per 1TB of storage, so budget SSDs often omit it to cut cost. Instead, DRAM-less SSDs store the mapping data on the NAND flash itself, which affects performance, as flash memory is orders of magnitudes slower than DRAM. To compensate, the NVMe interface supports something called the Host Memory Buffer, which allows the use of some of your computer's RAM to cache the mapping data. This is not as fast as an SSD having its own DRAM, but still much faster than the SSD's NAND flash memory. With recent improvements in controller design, caching algorithms, and interface speed, will the XPG Atom 50 1TB actually be a good performing NVMe PCIe 4.0-based budget drive to find DRAM so unnecessary as my friend would say? Read on to find out!
Our review unit of the XPG Atom 50 1TB arrived in a small brown corrugated cardboard box from the ADATA's American headquarters in Brea, California. Using FedEx International 2day, the package arrived in excellent condition to us here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for our review today.
Our review unit of the XPG Atom 50 1TB came in its retail packaging. Like all the XPG products we have recently reviewed, they do not advertise the ADATA brand on the Atom 50 1TB's retail packaging. Their enthusiast sub-brand, XPG, takes center stage. The XPG Atom 50 1TB's retail box is predominantly black with red and white text. A photo of the drive itself is in some prime real estate in the middle. XPG's logo along with the model name and product description is placed at the top left corner. The drive capacity is found at the opposite corner at the bottom. Its speed rating of up to 5000MB/s is advertised along the bottom as well.
Before we move on, let us take a look at the specifications of the XPG Atom 50 1TB, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:
Form Factor: M.2 2280
NAND Flash: 3D NAND
Controller: InnoGrit IG5220
Dimensions (L x W x H): 80 x 22 x 3.13mm / 3.15 x 0.87 x 0.12inch
Weight: 9g / 0.32oz
Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4
Sequential Read (Max): Up to 5,000MB/s (PC/Laptop), Up to 5,000MB/s (PS5)
Sequential Write (Max): Up to 4,500MB/s
4KB Random Read IOPS(Max): Up to 650K
4KB Random Write IOPS(Max): Up to 600K
Operating Temperature: 0°C - 70°C
Storage Temperature: -40°C - 85°C
Shock Resistance: 1500G/0.5ms
MTBF: 2,000,000 hours
Terabytes Written (TBW)(Max Capacity): 650TB
Warranty: 5-year limited warranty
Opening the box reveals the XPG Atom 50 1TB itself and a thin aluminum heatsink placed on a clear plastic tray. This is it -- out of the box, you will get nothing more than what you need; not even a manual or any type of product literature. Not that we need them anyway, of course.
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 8.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 5.70
7. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 10
8. Benchmark: PCMark 10
9. Benchmark: 3DMark