HP EX920 SSD Review: Affordable And Fast Mainstream NVMe

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Evolution2001

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So this poses an interesting and quite timely question.
I'm about to upgrade a new laptop from it's OEM 256GB to a 480/512GB NVMe PCIe drive.
Battery life matters, but it's not the only consideration.
The MyDigitalSSD BPX 480GB is currently listing for $180. But has pretty horrible impact on battery life. Almost a full 90 minutes compared to the top performers. 90 minutes is a lot when AC power is not an option.
The HP, receiving an Editors Choice, seems on par performance-wise, AND ups the ante on battery life. Selling for $200.
Overall, this would appear to dethrone the BPX 480 for "best buy". Equal performance, more storage, and better battery life.

But now Samsung throws this wrench into the mix.
Samsung.com and other reputable vendors have the Samsung 970 PRO 512GB for $250. For an additional $50 over the HP EX920, is it a no-brainer to go with the 970 PRO if you can afford it without much hesitation? I'm thinking "Yes!"

What do the rest of you think?
 

AgentLozen

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The benchmarks from the HP EX920 review show the 970 Pro as the better solid state drive (although the EX920 performs admirably). You're asking if it makes more sense to just buy a 970 Pro if its only a few dollars more. I would say stick with the less expensive EX920.

Although the benchmarks paint a favorable picture of the 970 Pro, the real world performance tests indicate that there is no appreciable difference between drives. It doesn't make sense to buy a more expensive product when you can't perceive the benefit.
 

CRamseyer

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Sorry for being late to the comment party. I'm out of town but I normally try to stay on top of these.

The HP uses a dual core controller that runs very cool. It's possible to push the drive to throttle but not with a typical consumer workload. Samsung uses five cores while Phison and Toshiba use quad cores, respectively.

Silicon Motion's strategy is to do more with less by building a more efficient controller. Unless you plan to beat on the drive (write a lot of data in a very short period of time) in a plastic notebook, it won't be a problem.
 

Maxxify

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"Any temperature data for these HP NVME drives? NVME gets hot in the confined spaces so this info is very important."

In my testing so far, I reached a maximum temperature of 34C while gaming (drive is in the GPU's M.2 slot), 39C while reading (100% linear read in AIDA64), and 44C with multiple operations and writing (several drives/RAIDs writing to/from it simultaneously for 30+ minutes). This is with a small BGA ramsink on the controller, though (pulled it off an old GPU memory - I use them on RPi 3s which also are quad-core ARM chips at heart). A colleague of mine who got in on the same deal as I did reported a maximum temperature of 59C and I've seen benchmarks with the same layout (controller/flash) hit 57C during testing so it's likely my heatsink is dropping temps (it does drop the RPi 3 cores up to 15C). Note that according to the SM2262's documentation the maximum/throttling temperature is 70C. 10+C overhead is acceptable but it's easy to cool these. This drive is double-sided so you cannot use the most popular heatsinks for M.2 (e.g. EK) without modification and certain motherboard ones (MSI's infamous "shield") may do more harm than good; in either case, I find that cooling of the controller (which measures roughly 16x18mm - my ramsink is 13x16 but 20x20 will suffice, using thermal tape) is sufficient. Don't worry about the cache/flash.
 

Nintendork

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Sorry to say, but unless you work editing videos or any task that requires huge amounts of data to be moved fast (either to a ram cache or other SSD drive) THERE IS ZERO difference going from sata to nvme.

Boot times are the same, launching time the same, snapiness the same, it costs more and in laptop land you will get lower battery life and more heat. People are a bit too fixated on getting the "superior" NVME drive even when they don't have a need for it.

It's like putting race grade calipers and tires on a corolla.
 
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