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April 29, 2016

Unboxing & Review: ZOTAC 240GB Premium Edition SSD


Just a couple of months ago, the renowned NVIDIA partner ZOTAC join in the already crowded SSD market with the announcement of its T500 and Premium Edition SSD. Out of curiosity, we've decided to contact ZOTAC Malaysia for inquiry on the SSD(s) and here we are today at Tech Critter's lab, presenting you our review on one of them, the Premium Edition SSD.  Mighty thanks to ZOTAC Malaysia for the review unit that makes this review possible. 




The Premium Edition SSD does comes available at a pretty competitive price of RM229 for the 120GB model and RM369 for the 240GB model, but just how will it fare against the other SSD we've tested to date? 

Specifications
Form Factor
2.5"
Interface
SATA III 6.0 Gb/s
Flash Type
MLC
DRAM Cache
256MB DDR3
Capacity
240GB
Sequential Read
up to 520 MB/s
Sequential Write
up to 500 MB/s
Random Read
up to 350 MB/s
Random Write
up to 330 MB/s
Power Consumption
Read: 2.556W
Write: 5.010W
Idle: 0.570W
Thickness
7mm
Supported OS
Windows / MacOS / Linux
MTBF (hours)
2,000,000
Accessories
User Manual
Warranty Card
Form Factor
2.5"
Interface
SATA III 6.0 Gb/s
Flash Type
MLC

Unboxing

The ZOTAC Premium Edition SSD comes in a minimalist design package where only necessary details are printed on the box. The ZOTAC 240GB Premium Edition SSD is expected to perform at 520MB/s for sequential read and 500MB/s for sequential write and it's covered with a standard 3 year limited warranty from ZOTAC.


At the back of the box, you'll find a brief introduction of ZOTAC's SSD and the list of the content of the box.


As this unit is a review sample from ZOTAC, it the absent of warranty card as stated on the box is understandable - rest assured, it will be available in the retail package. 


Like most manufacturer that prefers a minimalist look, ZOTAC as opted for the black aluminum enclosure with only ZOTAC logo printed on top.


The back of the enclosure is the label sticker with the SSD's product serial number, model name, capacity and a fair warning of not to tamper with the seal on the enclosure.  


The ZOTAC Premium Edition SSD is made up of Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND that comes with a raw capacity of 64GB each and it's powered by the Phison S10 controller and is cached with the Nanya 512MB DDR3 RAM package. Once formatted, the usable capacity of the 240GB SSD will become 223.1GB.

Synthetic Benchmark

AS SSD Benchmark
Widely used SSD benchmarking utility that uses incompressible data to simulate the worst possible scenario for an SSD and thus giving a much lower sequential read and write speed result than what has been stated by the manufacturer as the result of the heavy workload. 


As incompressible data is used, lower sequential read and sequential write result are expected. Sequential read peaked at 527.02MB/s and sequential write performance peaked at 506.75MB/s. 4K read and write performance is bearable, with 49.45MB/s for 4K read and 136.70MB/s for 4K write.


ATTO Disk Benchmark
The most frequently used benchmarking utility by many manufacturers for performance specification. As ATTO Disk Benchmark uses compressible data rather than compressible data, it results in higher benchmark scores. We've run the benchmark with transfer size ranged from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length of the test to be 256MB.


The result seems pretty good with sequential read performance peaked at 564.467MB/s and sequential write performance peaked at 544.125MB/s. 

Anvil's  Storage Utilities
By far the most complete SSD Benchmark utility available. The Anvil's Storage Utilities not only comes with the standard SSD Benchmark function, it also includes other functions such as endurance testing and threaded I/O read, write and mixed tests and option to configure the compressibility of the test data.


The result we get from Anvil is pretty close to both CrystalDiskMark and Atto, with sequential read performance peaked at 531.53MB/s and sequential write performance peaked at 504.93MB/s. 

CrystalDiskMark
Developed by a Japanese coder that goes by the nickname Hiyohiyo, CrystalDiskMark is one of the most frequent used SSD Benchmark utility to measure SSD's read and write performance. There's 2 option for the test data used, compressible (0 fill) and incompressible (1 fill).


We've selected 1 fill as our test data and the result isn't bad either. The result shows a sequential read performance peaked at 549.6MB/s and sequential write performance peaked at 534.2MB/s. Both 4K read and write performance seems pretty decent, with 37.46MB/s for 4K read and 149.1MB/s for 4K write.

Software
The ZOTAC Premium Edition SSD did come with a software, but from the looks of it, the developer might have forgotten to rename the software to what's supposed to be under ZOTAC. 


Both summary and SMART is mainly for displaying necessary details which can be exported to a file for analysis purposes. 


SSD optimizer and Secure Erase is a commonly seen feature of SSD software; the SSD optimizer helps to auto configure the necessary operation that can improve both performance and lifespan of the SSD, while the secure erase function allows you to wipe the SSD clean not only for security purposes, but also to restore the SSD's performance to it's default state for better performance.


Real World Performance
We've run several test using several SSD with at least 40% capacity occupied with various commonly used software to simulate the real world scenario. 



There isn't much performance gap seen but from the result above, we can see that the ZOTAC Premium Edition SSD is doing pretty well overall. It's not the best performing SSD in the chart, but it's definitely not the one that bottoms the list. 

Verdict
So, is the ZOTAC Premium Edition SSD a worthy SSD to invest your money for? Its seemingly balanced performance from the result of our tests makes it a worthy contender when the price over performance and capacity value is your focus.Paying RM369 for a SSD with capacity of 240GB seems to be a fair deal, especially when it's using MLC NAND instead of TLC NAND.

Pros
  • Comes with a standard 3-year warranty
  • Decent performance
  • Competitive pricing
Cons
  • No additional accessories included
  • The software is rather slow when executing secure erase and optimization 

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