ADATA XPG SX910 128GB Solid State Drive

Storage
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Energy Efficiency

With the latest improvements in notebook hard drive energy efficiency, using an SSD in a laptop doesn't improve battery life as much as it used to. Still, it's a substantial improvement if you require a performance drive. Sitting idle, the SX910 consumes about 0.55 W, a moderate amount for a SSD, but half that of a typical 7200 RPM notebook drive. It also has a signficant advantage when the drive is seeking as well.

Noise

As solid state drives have no spinning platters or moving parts of any kind, they are effectively silent storage devices. It is possible that there could be a tiny bit of electronic noise (typically a high pitched squeal) being emitted, either intermittently depending on task, or continuously, but the ADATA XPG SX910 is completely silent. In fact, the only SSD we've ever tested that made any audible noise was the Zalman S Series 128GB model which produced an odd high frequency squeal whenever it was accessed.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Though we haven't had any other experience with second generation SandForce drives, the ADATA XPG SX910 128GB is pretty darn fast compared to the various consumer grade SSDs we reviewed in 2011. It even came close to topping the OCZ RevoDrive, a PCI Express 4x SSD powered by a pair of first generation SandForce controllers running in RAID 0.

The SX910 being a SATA 6 Gbps drive will undoubtedly placate users who fear bottlenecking when using a SATA 3 Gbps interface. While it's certainly capable of exceeding the limitations of SATA 3 Gbps, we didn't find any tangible difference in our real world performance tests. Our test suite isn't heavy on easily compressible data which may have effected the results, but to be frank, such is the world; most data found on modern computer systems is compressed to some degree.

According to our best information, the SX910 128GB will sell for approximately US$190, making it very pricey compared to most 120/128GB SandForce drives on the market. The SX910 does have a few benefits over the multitude of consumer grade SSDs using the same SF-2281 controller. The SX910 offers a bit more capacity (most SandForce drives have even capacities, e.g. 60GB, 120GB, 180GB, etc.), a 5 year warranty compared to 3 years for most models, and its NAND chips are speed-binned. It's unclear how much difference the latter makes and whether all these superlatives as a whole justify the higher cost.

Many thanks to ADATA for the XPG SX910 128GB solid state drive sample.

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