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Adata's XPG SX930 240GB SSD reviewed

Another 16-nm Micron MLC challenger appears

Solid-state storage coverage often tends to be driven by the latest and greatest from Samsung, Crucial, and OCZ. That's because Samsung, Micron, and Toshiba own and operate the lion's share of the world's NAND fabrication capacity. It's only natural that the latest innovations and freshest products trickle into those companies' consumer brands before becoming more widely available.

Even so, there are plenty of smaller manufacturers binning other companies' NAND and assembling SSDs to avoid weighty research and fabrication costs. We recently covered Transcend's SSD370, the product of one of the "fabless" OEMs steadily churning out SSDs on good old planar flash. Today we turn our attention to Adata, which operates in a similar fashion. We've got our hands on the XPG SX930 240GB, that company's highest-end SATA SSD.

XPG, or "Xtreme Performance Gear," is Adata's gamer-focused model line. It's a little odd to try to sell storage products as "ultimate weapons for victory," but Adata is certainly not alone in the attempt. Gamers spend a lot of money on hardware, so whether it's a specific sub-brand like XPG or Kingston's HyperX, a skull logo randomly slapped on a drive, or a rather amusing graph from OCZ promising everything but the kitchen sink, many OEMs go to great lengths to entice fraggers to buy their products.

In keeping with its gamer-friendly aesthetic, the XPG SX930 sports something resembling an iTunes visualizer or a flickering flame on its sticker. I've seen far more unsightly gamer-targeted styling. The XPG SX930 is almost understated as far as this market is concerned. The XPG SX930 comes in 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB capacities, with the usual minor variations in performance claims.

Adata XPG SX930
Capacity Max sequential (MB/s) Max random (IOps)
Read Write Read Write
120GB 550 460 70k 45k
240GB 550 460 75k 70k
480GB 540 420 75k 72k

Once we crack open the XPG SX930, we are treated to a relatively rare sight: a JMicron controller. The JMF670H supports the usual mix of features you'd expect out of a modern SSD controller: TRIM, NCQ, and a gamut of BCH error-correcting codes. The controller also lets the drive utilize a pseudo-SLC caching mechanism to increase burst performance, which is a feature we often find in TLC drives but is rather uncommon in an MLC drive.

Turning to the NAND itself, which Adata calls "Synchronous MLC plus NAND Flash," one might be puzzled to see that the packages bear Adata's name. The inside scoop is that they're actually Micron 16-nm MLC chips. After Adata gets the chips from Micron, it bins and packages the NAND in-house. That's why Micron logos are conspicuously absent.

The XPG SX930 240GB retails for $79.99 on Amazon at the time of this writing. That's lower than one might expect for an enthusiast-oriented drive. Then again, the XPG SX930 has been available for a while now. One of the drive's stronger selling points is its warranty. Adata doesn't rate its drive for a total-bytes-written endurance spec, but it does back its drive for five years. Update: Adata got back to us with a TBW rating. The XPG SX930 240GB is good for 280TB, which is far more than enough to cover the usable lifetime of a drive this size.

Now that we've examined the XPG SX930's vitals, it's time to dive right into testing. Let's hope that fablessness doesn't preclude fabulousness.