Good but not exciting: ADATA SU800 256GB SSD Review


We have apparently reached a point in traditional 2.5-inch SATA3 solid-state drive technology where we’re no longer seeing massive leaps in performance, and as a result, one 2.5-inch SSD is becoming very much like another. These drives are hamstrung by the limitations of the SATA bus, and thus have hit the speed ceiling of around 500MB/s or so.

Price, then, is where these drives differentiate themselves, because they just can’t compete with the performance or longevity of newer m.2 NVMe SSDs or more advanced memory technologies that are faster and last longer than the Flash memory of traditional 2.5-inch SSDs, 3D VNAND or not.

Intel’s 3D XPoint memory, for example, increases the density of SSD memory chips and the speed at which data can be written to and read from them; Samsung is busy perfecting its own proprietary 3D NAND Flash memory with its own advances, and the PCI Express bus is allowing data to flow to and from the CPU in ever-widening torrents.

This drive uses 3D NAND Flash memory, which extends the life of the memory cells and ensures fast read and write speeds, and connects to the PC via a SATA3 connection. This is therefore little more than a by-the-numbers SSD that delivers the kind of performance one would expect from a device in this category, without adding much to get excited about.

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The good

While not great from a reviewer’s perspective, from a consumer’s perspective it’s pretty good: this drive is very affordable (RRP is R1235), and for the money you’re getting read and write speeds in excess of 500MB/s – yes, megabytes per second – which is exactly what you need from a boot and OS drive to make Windows start up and run faster, or a drive for the games you play if you hate long loading times.

You want this drive for its balance of speed and affordability. Sure, you’re not getting the 2000MB/s and up that’s possible from more advanced NVMe SSDs, but you’re also not paying through the nose for it, either.

Here are the SU800’s CrystalDiskMark figures I recorded on my benchmark rig:

ADATA SU800 SSD CrystalMark Scores

ADATA-Specific Features

It features “New Generation 3D NAND Flash” (it’s fast), ADATA’s “Intelligent SLC Caching and DRAM cache buffer” (an algorithm that boosts read/write performance), its “Advanced LDPC ECC Engine” that reduces data errors and improves data integrity, and its “RAID Engine and Data Shaping for Ultimate Protection” that extends the lifespan of the drive’s memory cells. ADATA’s SSDs carry a 3-year warranty, too, so expect the drive to last at least that long.

Easy to set up

There’s also some proprietary software to help the migration process go smoothly. It’s incredibly easy to use – simply install the software by following the in-package instructions (a download is required), fire it up and follow the on-screen prompts until you’re done. It really couldn’t be simpler; the only “skill” you might need to have is knowledge of how to install a new storage device in your system and select the correct boot drive in your BIOS, but thankfully, that’s just an instructional YouTube video or call to your family IT guy away.

Should you get one?

Is this a good drive? Sure. Is it a GREAT drive? Well, no, because it’s old tech – other advances have come along that make it look positively stone-aged by comparison.

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But it’s still a solid SATA3 drive as it pushes that older standard to its limits, and that’s exactly what I like to see at this stage of SATA3’s existence.

The recommended retail price of this 256GB drive is R1235 including VAT, but I’ve found it online for considerably less (R708 at Colcopcshop.co.za, for example). So while it won’t set the world on fire with excitement, it’s certainly still a solid and affordable upgrade that will dramatically outperform any HDD.

So yes, if you’re in the market for an SSD and you’re on a budget, or your system doesn’t support those fancy new M.2 NVMe drives, this is a solid buy.

We have apparently reached a point in traditional 2.5-inch SATA3 solid-state drive technology where we’re no longer seeing massive leaps in performance, and as a result, one 2.5-inch SSD is becoming very much like another. These drives are hamstrung by the limitations of the SATA bus, and thus have hit the speed ceiling of around 500MB/s or so. Price, then, is where these drives differentiate themselves, because they just can’t compete with the performance or longevity of newer m.2 NVMe SSDs or more advanced memory technologies that are faster and last longer than the Flash memory of traditional 2.5-inch SSDs, 3D VNAND or not. Intel’s 3D XPoint memory, for example, increases the density of SSD memory chips and the speed at which data can be written to and read from them; Samsung is busy perfecting its own proprietary 3D NAND Flash memory with its own advances, and the PCI Express bus is allowing data to flow to and from the CPU in ever-widening torrents. This drive uses 3D NAND Flash memory, which extends the life of the memory cells and ensures fast read and write speeds, and connects to the PC via a SATA3 connection. This is therefore little more than a by-the-numbers SSD that delivers the kind of performance one would expect from a device in this category, without adding much to get excited about. The good While not great from a reviewer's perspective, from a consumer's perspective it's pretty good: this drive is very affordable (RRP is R1235), and for the money you’re getting read and write speeds in excess of 500MB/s – yes, megabytes per second – which is exactly what you need from a boot and OS drive to make Windows start up and run faster, or a drive for the games you play if you hate long loading times. You want this drive for its balance of speed and affordability. Sure, you’re not getting the 2000MB/s and up that’s possible from more advanced NVMe SSDs, but you’re also not paying through the nose for it, either. Here are the SU800's CrystalDiskMark figures I recorded on my benchmark rig: ADATA-Specific Features It features “New Generation 3D NAND Flash” (it’s fast), ADATA’s “Intelligent SLC Caching and DRAM cache buffer” (an algorithm that boosts read/write performance), its “Advanced LDPC ECC Engine” that reduces data errors and improves data integrity, and its “RAID Engine and Data Shaping for Ultimate Protection” that extends the lifespan of the drive’s memory cells. ADATA’s SSDs carry a 3-year warranty, too, so expect the drive to last at least that long. Easy to set up There’s also some proprietary software to help the migration process go smoothly. It’s incredibly easy to use – simply install the software by following the in-package instructions (a download is required), fire it up and follow the on-screen prompts until you’re done. It really couldn’t be simpler; the only “skill” you might need to have is knowledge of how to install a new storage device in your system and…

TL;DR

Score - 7

7

Solid

This by-the-numbers SATA3 SSD performs as well as it can, and it's pretty affordable. It's not exciting, but it gets the job done.

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