Lite-On MU-X SSDs continue the affordable NVMe onslaught

To the average gerbil, Lite-On is a name that's more likely to evoke memories of DVD writers than solid-state drives, but the company has a number of enterprise and consumer storage products. Its latest M.2 PCIe SSD is the Lite-On MU X, and it's targeted at "entry-level PC gaming."

The MU X drives come in 128 GB and 256 GB capacities. They use Toshiba BiCS 3D TLC flash and a relatively low-end Phison PS5008-E8 controller that supports NVMe 1.2. According to Anandtech, Phison sampled the controller to partners over the past year, and the MU X drives seem to be the first commercially-available offering carrying it.

The SSDs post healthy (if not particularly impressive) performance figures. The 128 GB can read at up to 1500 MB/s and write at 450 MB/s. That write figure is clearly in SATA drive territory, but the random I/O figures kick things up a notch, at 91,000 IOPS for reads and 110,000 IOPS for writes. The bigger 256 GB drive is where it's at, though. This variant can do 1600 MB/s reads and write at a far-speedier 850 MB/s. Random I/O figures for this model are suitably higher: 145,000 IOPS on reads and 140,000 IOPS on writes.

AnandTech says the MU X drives will hit stores "in the coming weeks." There's no pricing info, but given the performance characteristics, we'd expect them to be on the affordable end of the NVMe drive spectrum. Lite-On offers three-year warranty coverage.

Comments closed
    • geniekid
    • 2 years ago

    The headline claims the SSDs “continue the affordable NVMe onslaught” and the article ends with “there’s no pricing info”.

    Come on…

      • rrrhal
      • 2 years ago

      It is available on-line for 2877 Czech Koruna (~ $132) for the 256GB.

      • ronch
      • 2 years ago

      It’s affordable. Nuff said.

      • albundy
      • 2 years ago

      ROFL! I clicked on the article just for the comments. Lite-on made some awesome dvd burners back in the golden days of plastic circles.

      • strangerguy
      • 2 years ago

      It will be the usual $10-20 cheaper than the Samsung 960 EVO equivalent while everyone let outs a collective yawn.

        • davidbowser
        • 2 years ago

        If they are similarly priced to the Adata ones recently reviewed, then they will be a bit cheaper.

        $235 for 960 EVO 500GB
        $190 for Adata SX7000 512GB
        per Newegg

        So about 20% cheaper for TLC. Samsung wins hands-down on speed, so it is really a question of if you want to spend the extra $45 for the speed.

    • LowKeyHunter
    • 2 years ago

    Photo seems to be a bust on Lite-On’s part. That’s an SATA drive in the M.2 form factor, unless I’m missing something.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 2 years ago

    When does an average person stop perceiving benefit of spending more for better read, write, and I/O? We can get harsh towards these “low end drives” but I doubt MOST people would notice a difference between this and the best drive.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 2 years ago

      They probably wouldn’t — but they also probably wouldn’t notice the difference between this and a 2.5″ SATA SSD (which would be even cheaper and could have larger capacity).

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    I switched my OS drive from a 480GB Intel 730 to an NVMe SM961 I pulled from a new laptop that needed a terabyte.

    I honestly cannot tell the slightest difference at any point in any situation whatsoever. Machine feels absolutely identical in every way.

    Back in the mechanical days, disks were slow because of their low QD1 read IOPS:
    [list<] [*<]0.5MB/s was good for a mechanical drive [/*<][*<]Intel's X25-M shifted around 25MB/s - around a 50X performance increase. [/*<][*<]Fast forward nine years to my SM961 (960 Pro) and 4KR QD1 performance is only 35MB/s[/*<][/list<] [b<]In nine years we've made [i<]almost no progress[/i<] at 4KR QD1 where the biggest improvement was initially felt when moving off mechanical drives to SSDs.[/b<] Is Optane the answer, with 4KR QD1 performance of about 200MB/s? It's a whopping 500% increase, rather than the cumulative 40% increase we've seen since 2008, yet TR's own tests show that application performance and load times are single-digit percentage improvements, maybe 25% in the best-case scenarios. As far as I can tell, the only [i<]consumer[/i<] benefit to improved storage is going to be reducing costs so that people can fit everything they work with onto SSD. The bottlenecks truly lie elsewhere and the reality is that if you have an SSD. Literally [i<]any[/i<] SSD, you're already most of the way there in terms of performance and your efforts to speed up your platform should be spent elsewhere.

      • Rza79
      • 2 years ago

      Optane has much lower latency. Most reviews mention that Windows feels more responsive, even with the Optane cache.

      App load times are not going to improve with a faster SSD when the CPU is the bottleneck.

      • Goty
      • 2 years ago

      Read throughput is certainly not the only metric that is an indicator of performance. There was a significant difference in perceived performance when I moved from my 80GB X25-M G2 to my 240GB BX100, and again when I moved to my 250GB 960 Evo, so saying we’ve made no progress in one particular metric does not mean that real performance has not improved.

      • Wren
      • 2 years ago

      I tried a 900P for a while and I honestly couldn’t tell the difference in Windows or any games on it from a decent (PM961) M.2 PCIE SSD.

    • odizzido
    • 2 years ago

    For something aimed at gaming 1500 and 450MB/s is more than enough. I was running a ram drive for a while and while I can very easily tell the difference between an SSD or ram drive and my regular mechanical drive I cannot tell the difference between my SSD and the ram drive. At least in games. My SSD is way slower than this too.

      • TravelMug
      • 2 years ago

      The speed is enough, the capacity sadly no. Definitely not with the 128GB version and even the 256GB is on the limit. Current AAA games are 50GB+ and some even 80GB as I’m looking at my Origin folder for example. The 128GB one would only hold BF1 (70GB) for example. With Windows on it as well there would be no place for TF2 (4GB) or BF4 (68GB). The 256GB version is good for 2-5 AAA games tops.

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    There’s another [url=https://i.ndtvimg.com/i/2017-05/isuzu-mu-x_827x510_61493815876.jpg<]MU-X[/url<] and it's nothing like this. It's not available in the US though.

    • christos_thski
    • 2 years ago

    The burning question is : will Moore’s law ever resume for SSDs?

    Cost per GB has been stagnant for the better part of two years… Maybe we’ll have to wait until the chinese newcomers break the nand cartel ?

      • ronch
      • 2 years ago

      Moore’s law applies to all chipperies. No new node, no new SSD advancement.

        • just brew it!
        • 2 years ago

        Well, here’s the thing… we’ve hit a wall on our ability to scale down the size of NAND cells. Write endurance and data retention take too much of a hit. The interim solution has been V-NAND/3D-NAND, which allow density (on a per chip basis) to continue increasing without further decreasing cell size, by stacking multiple cell layers on top of each other. But this too will hit a wall (and we may even be getting close to it).

        Some new tech will come along eventually to break the stalemate, but I don’t see any good candidates on the horizon. So we’re probably at a plateau of sorts, for now.

          • R-Type
          • 2 years ago

          What gets me is there would be a lot of space to array NAND chips in a 3.5″ format, a manufacturer could use lower density modules which would be less expensive and slower, but in such a wide grid layout shouldn’t matter. The drive life would be vastly better than a 2.5″ format. Yet you see none in the consumer space. Seems like a huge gap that could be filled to get larger capacity and less expensive SSD’s out to the masses.

            • just brew it!
            • 2 years ago

            I assume you’re talking about going back to something like planar MLC? While the lower density parts might be less expensive [i<]per chip[/i<], they would be more expensive [i<]per MB[/i<], because of the reduced density. It's not like the 2.5" form factor is a limitation anyhow. Most of the inside of a typical consumer SSD is empty space, so we could easily cram in more chips without moving back to 3.5". I just don't see most consumers being willing to pay more to get better drive life, when drive life of existing products is good enough. Consumer market is almost purely cost-driven.

      • strangerguy
      • 2 years ago

      Lack of their own DRAM/NAND production is pretty much the only thing that is stopping China from achieving world domination in electronics. The moment they have volume production is the day we will have truly affordable SSDs. Sure it will be only 50% as fast as a Samsung but at 10% of the price, hardly any is gonna care about the performance.

      It’s just funny how we should be happy for a foreign state-propped enterprise doing their stuff against an international price fixing cartel.

      • MrJP
      • 2 years ago

      It’s worse than that – they’re significantly more expensive than they were 12 months ago. I saw an Amazon Black Friday deal on a Crucial SSD, clicked on the link and spotted that I’d bought one the same this time last year. Only it was about 30% cheaper back then. Some of that is currency fluctuation (thanks Brexit), but probably less than half that difference.

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    Coming from an 840 EVO that doesn’t feel like it’s slowing down after 4 years of use, I’d be ok with these things assuming they’re not going to suddenly brick out. I could use maybe 512GB though. 250GB seemed ok back then but now I’m beginning to feel the squeeze.

    • Captain Ned
    • 2 years ago

    Back when we cared about sheep, Lite-On was the CD writer to own.

      • just brew it!
      • 2 years ago

      IME they were fast and quiet, but had pretty lousy reliability. After a run of failed Lite-On drives I switched to LG.

      • ronch
      • 2 years ago

      They were ok, I guess, but I’ve mostly stuck with LG optical drives that still run great after 6-7 years up until I retire them (because they were still PATA) The one I’m using now is already 5 years.

        • just brew it!
        • 2 years ago

        Another LG fan, I see. 😀

          • ronch
          • 2 years ago

          I can vouch for LG. They’re not a particularly expensive brand but I’ve had all sorts of LG thingamabobs from CRT TVs to LCD TVs and monitors and speaker systems, fridges, DVD writers, DVD players, kitchen sinks, etc. and they all pretty much work fine even after I no longer use them anymore.

            • HERETIC
            • 2 years ago

            Recent conversation with my son re optical drives-LG were rejected as he reckoned they
            were always the noisiest.
            Trying to remember now-Who was the joint venture with LG optical?
            Think it was either Philips or Hitachi………………………

            • ronch
            • 2 years ago

            Hitachi-LG, Samsung-Toshiba, Liteon-Phillips (iirc), NEC-Sony (iirc).

            • HERETIC
            • 2 years ago

            Think Liteon had a dabble with Sony at one time too,probably in between Phillips and Plextor.
            Remember having a Liteon with Sony firmware.

            • just brew it!
            • 2 years ago

            I’ll take a little more noise if it means I can have a drive that doesn’t need to be replaced every couple of years. It’s not like my optical drive gets used much anyway these days; my next build probably won’t have one (I’ll just use an external when I want to rip CDs).

      • prb123
      • 2 years ago

      I though Plextor was the writer everyone wanted.

      Something like this: [url<]https://www.recycledgoods.com/plextor-px-65cs-6x-scsi-external-cd-rom/[/url<] Crazy beefy External SCSI interface cables and terminators...

        • LoneWolf15
        • 2 years ago

        Plextor during SCSI days, Yamaha during IDE, NEC and later NEC/Sony/OptiArc (all one label) for SATA.

        For non-writers in the IDE-CD days, we used Toshiba/HGST, and when those disappeared, several other brands. LiteOn drives depended on the model and firmware, a few were great, but it wasn’t predictable and they could be finicky. Quality control was also a crap-shoot.

        Bottom of the barrel for me was Philips. Lots of crap there. While Samsung had an okay reputation, I found them very loud spinning up to speed and didn’t use them.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 2 years ago

    LiteOn is famous for making DVD-RW drives that die after 18 months. Not sure I’d touch their SSDs.

      • Rza79
      • 2 years ago

      You don’t like Plextor SSD’s?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        Plextor lives on in name only, much like RCA.

          • Rza79
          • 2 years ago

          Yes but LiteOn makes those drives and they are of very good quality.

          • MOSFET
          • 2 years ago

          As far as these things go, SSD is a pretty safe place for the name to live on. Marvell has been marvelously consistent.

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