Adata XPG SX8200 Pro review: Our new favourite NVMe SSD
Not only is this one of the best-value NVMe SSDs around, it’s also one of the fastest
Falling NAND prices have been making it easier than ever to find swift NVMe SSDs at low prices. Contenders like the WD Black 1TB have been offering impressive price-per-GB ratios and delivering very creditable speeds to boot.
The XPG SX8200 Pro, however, might just deliver the best balance of high speeds and affordable pricing we've seen yet. Its official performance numbers - 3,500MB/sec read speed and 3,000MB/sec write speed - match (or, in the case of write speed, exceed) what Samsung claims of the 970 Evo, and yet Adata's SSD is cheaper across all its available capacities. The largest 1TB model (which we're testing) works out at 18.5p per gigabyte, while the 512GB and 256GB versions are 20.5p and 23.4p - all lower than their 970 Evo equivalents, which range from 21.4p for the 500GB model and go up to 23p for 1TB and 30.8p for 256GB.
Adata XPG SX8200 Pro review: Capacity and speeds
True, it's not quite as cheap as the Crucial P1, but it is a step up on specs. It uses 3D TLC memory instead of QLC, so should already be able run faster and last longer than the P1. A lot longer, in fact: Adata rates the XPG SX8200 Pro's durability at 160TBW (terabytes written) for the 256GB model, 320TBW for the 512GB model and 640BTW for the 1TB model, while the P1 is only guaranteed for 100TBW at 500GB and 200TBW at 1TB. Even the 970 Evo doesn't quite keep up, claiming 600TBW for its own 1TB model, though in fairness it's unlikely most users will come anywhere close to writing this much data.
So far, so good, at least theoretically. But the XPG SX8200 Pro quickly proved that it wasn't just talking the talk: in the standard CrystalDiskMark sequential test, it achieved searing scores of a 3,522.1MB/sec read speed and a 2,917.9MB/sec write speed. That's more than a match for the 970 Evo, which managed 3,568.4MB/sec in the read test and 2,514.6MB/sec in the write test.
In the more challenging 4K test, the XPG SX8200 Pro actually beat the 970 Evo on both read and write speed. Its 365.6MB/sec read result and 267.4MB/sec write result are modest advantages over the Samsung drive's respective 334.4MB/sec and 245.2MB/sec, but significant considering the much cheaper cost of Adata's SSD.
Adata XPG SX8200 Pro review: Performance
The good news continued into our own file transfer tests. Starting with the easiest huge file test, the XPG SX8200 Pro managed a 1,137.8MB/sec read speed and a 1,225.1MB/sec write speed - so it can't avoid the usual performance drop compared to a synthetic sequential test, though it did once again outpace the 970 Evo, which scored a 1,073.1MB/sec read and a 1,115.6MB/sec write.
Read speeds barely fell in the more intensive large files test, ending up at 1,126.8MB/sec - another victory over the 970 Evo, which produced 995.3MB/sec in the same test. The XPG SX8200 Pro's 1,027.1MB/sec write speed is slightly faster too, albeit after taking a larger drop compared to the huge test.
Finally, the toughest small files test saw the XPG SX8200 Pro manage a read speed of 413.2MB/sec and a write speed of 438.5MB/sec. These may look low but they're very good indeed for shifting as many little files as this test requires, and since the 970 Evo only managed a 373MB/sec read speed and a 363.8MB/sec write speed, it's another great showing for the newer SSD.
In fact, it's been a long, long time since any NVMe SSD has performed so well in our tests, least of all one that can cost less than 20p per gigabyte. As far as we can tell, the only reason to consider the 970 Evo superior is if you need a larger capacity: Samsung offers 2TB and 4TB options, whereas the largest XPG SX8200 Pro model we can find is 1TB. A 2TB version is listed on Adata's website, but is curiously absent from any online retailer outlets.
Adata XPG SX8200 Pro review: Verdict
Still, the appeal of this SSD isn't anything to do with size: it's all about top-tier performance at even lower prices than Adata's own value-minded alternatives, namely the XPG SX6000 Pro. It even has a neat little extra in its stick-on heat spreader, which comes pre-applied with thermal compound. SSD heatsinks tend to be a peace-of-mind measure rather than something that can significantly boost performance and working lifespan, and there's no reason to believe this is different, but it's easy to attach and gives the drive a cleaner look, so it's a welcome inclusion.
Fast, cheap and durable, the XPG SX6000 Pro is our new favourite NVMe SSD, and the first one you should consider when building a PC or upgrading a laptop.
Matching blazing speeds with a very thrifty price, the Adata XPG SX8200 Pro goes toe-to-toe with Samsung's excellent 970 Evo - and comes out on top. You'll be hard-pressed to find a better-value NVMe SSD.
Cost Per Gigabyte
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