In a Nutshell
Featuring incredibly high read and write speeds, the Gigabyte’s AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD will be very appealing to high-end users and content creators who own motherboards that support PCIe 4.0 data interface.
Featured image credit: Gigabyte
Today, almost all manufacturers offering solid state drives with support for the Gen4 interface (or PCIe 4.0 protocol) use the same PS5016-E16 controller made by Phison company. For most manufacturers, Phison’s controllers are their first choice, since they can boast with great performance and reliability. However, support for Gen4 devices is quite limited, in fact, only motherboards based on AMD’s X570 chipset support such devices. None of Intel’s CPU platforms still support PCIe 4.0 standard, but this should change by the end of this year. When speaking of SSD storage, the key advantage of using the Gen4 interface lies in much higher sequential read and write speeds. In this review we are going to examine Gigabyte’s AORUS NVMe Gen4 1TB SSD, which comes with support for Gen4 data interface.
Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 1TB SSD Specifications
|Interface||M.2 2280 NVMe x4 Gen4|
|Total Capacity||1000 GB|
|Memory Type||TLC NAND flash|
|Sequential Read Speed||Up to 5.000 MB/s|
|Sequential Write Speed||Up to 4.400 MB/s|
|Random Read/Write Performance||750.000/700.000 IOPS|
|Dimensions||80.5 x 23.5 x 11.4 mm|
|Warranty||Limited 5-years or 3600TBW|
Since AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD is an extremely fast device, Gigabyte decided to include it in its AORUS products line-up, which is primarily oriented toward high-end users and gamers. Most AORUS products feature RGB lightning, however, that is not the case with this device. The only special addition to this solid state drive is an optional copper heatsink of rather imposing dimensions and design. The heatsink covers the whole SSD from top to bottom, and is designed to provide excellent cooling performance. The upper part of the heatsink, which is much thicker, covers the controller, flash memory and auxiliary DRAM memory, while the lower part covers flash and DRAM. Gigabyte produces 512GB, 1TB and 2TB models of this SSD, however, not all models have chips from both sides.
The removable heatsink is a great feature of this SSD, as it allows owners of high-quality motherboards to remove it and easily insert the SSD into an M.2 slot, and cover it with the motherboard’s SSD heatsink. If you don’t possess such board, or you really want to use Gigabyte’s massive heatsink, you need to remove the sticker from the thermal pads, insert the SSD in the appropriate place and fix the two halves of the cooler with six included cross screws. The SSD with cooler has dimensions of 80.5 x 23.5 x 11.4 millimetres.
Besides the Phison’s controller, the SSD also contains Toshiba’s BiCS4 TLC flash memory, and 2GB of DDR4 memory which serve as a cache. The NAND TLC flash memory module features 96 layers. Like all the other reputable manufacturers, Gigabyte offers a 5-year warranty on this SSD, but what really fascinates is the declared durability of 3,600 TBW. In other words, in order to completely “deplete” SSD’s life, it would be necessary to write about 2TB of data to the SSD every day for the next 5 years. By comparison, the 2TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus has three times less declared durability. The included software package for this SSD has a very uncreative name called SSD Tool Box. In essence, it is a Phison’s SSD utility which features just Gigabyte’s own skin. The tool reads various SMART parameters and offers the possibility of secure deletion. In short, it’s nothing special.
CrystalDiskMark Test Results
|Test||Read Speed||Write Speed|
|Sequential Q32T1||4980 MB/s||4250 MB/s|
|4KiB Q8T8||1750 MB/s||2900 MB/s|
|4KiB Q32T1||665 MB/s||600 MB/s|
|4KiB Q1T1||56 MB/s||245 MB/s|
Speaking of performance, this SSD drive is a beast. Using the CrystalDiskMark utility, we were able to record a sequential read speed of almost 5,000 MB/s, and write speed of 4,250 MB/s. Overall, it is one of the fastest SSDs currently available on the market. The performance in small 4KB files test was also very good, however, the 4KB Q1T1 read performance wasn’t very impressive, especially when considering how these operations are common in everyday use. The next test was performed using the PCMark 10 storage benchmark. This is a very modern test which replicates the disk access mode of various applications and games, and is optimized to run on NVMe SSDs. Here, Gigabyte’s SSD scored excellent results, although from the figures seen in CrystalDiskMark it could be said that they should’ve been even better. Some NVMe Gen3 SSDs with TLC memory offer similar performance thanks to firmware optimizations for running standard applications rather than scoring large numbers in synthetic tests (i.e. Kingston KC2000). In this test, the controller temperature reached a maximum of 62°C, which is slightly higher but still a very acceptable value.
Finally, in last test we examined the performance of constant sequential writing and maximum temperature warm-up. Using the IOmeter tool, we set up 10-minute sequential writing test in 128KB blocks, with the maximum number of commands that the controller can execute. In other words, settings for maximum write performance, as long as the SSD can withstand it. The endurance capabilities of this SSD were excellent. Writing at maximum performance took about three minutes, which resulted with the recording of about 650 gigabytes of data. After that, the performance started dropping drastically, and stabilized at about 540 MB/s. The controller temperature didn’t go above 74°C. In short, the SSD performed amazingly, and the only significant drawback was the low write speed when the whole SLC buffer was used up. However, when considering how huge this buffer is, there is a very small chance of encountering this problem in everyday operations.
Like all NVMe Gen4 SSDs, Gigabyte’s AORUS has a slightly higher price than the average Gen3 NVMe TLC SSD of the same capacity. This is, however, compensated with an outstanding performance and excellent cooling. It should be noted that this SSD needs extra cooling, as the Phison Gen4 controller heats up quite a lot under full load. It is up to you to decide whether you want to cool this SSD with the provided heatsink. or the heatsink implemented in your motherboard.