Review Silicon Power US70 M.2 NVMe SSD Review: The Ultra-Value M.2 Stick

Dec 18, 2020
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I'll never understand why tomshardware thinks a "blue PCB" or "boring looks" are of any importance for an SSD.
Agreed, I don't understand how this is even remotely relevant. The drive is most likely going to be slammed into a laptop, or placed under a heat spreader on a desktop motherboard. Nobody's ever going to see the thing.

And it's not like it got referenced once, it was referenced several times within the article.
 
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ajr1775

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I find the Pioneer APS SE20G to be a better value. Just built a 5600X/MSI B550 Gaming Carbon WiFi using this NVME.
 
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Co BIY

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Title underrates subject compared to the article.

Seems like the testing indicates a new value leader in PCIe 4.0 SSDs. Just below the leaders for much less.

"Penny-pinching" is negative and implies the bad side of being cheap.

Should definitely be moved to the value spot over the Adata. Adata needs to be placed in the review penalty box for the XPG fraud.

Adata damaged their reputation and that of all reviews on Tom's (and elsewhere).
 

NP

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Title underrates subject compared to the article.

Seems like the testing indicates a new value leader in PCIe 4.0 SSDs. Just below the leaders for much less.

Even so, this is still not good value. The class "PCIe 4.0 SSDs" is also quite arbitrary. It's a bit similar to a hypothetical class of "PCI 4.0 GPUs" in that it makes no sense as a review object delimiting criterion. Price, capacity and performance are meaningful criteria for identifying value in SSD. Or some technique or feature that creates added capabilities in a qualitative sense, like DLSS2.0 or encryption. Wider bus is not such capability, because it be reduced into the primary criterion of performance, which we are already considering for every equipment.

With these considerations in mind, the value leader in 1TB nor 2TB SSDs this one is clearly not. Current value leaders in 1TB-2TB range would be Intel's 665p and Pioneer APS SE20G.

In those (relatively niche) cases where you REALLY must have the extra performance, you are almost always better off purchasing a Samsung's 980 or similar level SSD, which this one is not. So basically, regardless of what you want, there is a better SSD option available for you. Because of this, it would be more accurate to say that this is not the (value) leader in any meaningful category of SSDs.
 

mrv_co

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Agreed, I don't understand how this is even remotely relevant. The drive is most likely going to be slammed into a laptop, or placed under a heat spreader on a desktop motherboard. Nobody's ever going to see the thing.

And it's not like it got referenced once, it was referenced several times within the article.
ditto, makes zero sense.
 

seanwebster

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Aug 30, 2018
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I'll never understand why tomshardware thinks a "blue PCB" or "boring looks" are of any importance for an SSD.
Agreed, I don't understand how this is even remotely relevant. The drive is most likely going to be slammed into a laptop, or placed under a heat spreader on a desktop motherboard. Nobody's ever going to see the thing.

And it's not like it got referenced once, it was referenced several times within the article.
ditto, makes zero sense.
Strange, I don't understand why someone would want an all blue or green PCB when black PCBs are available. Imagine if all the motherboards in the market still had green or blue PCBs - non-blacked out expansion slots, etc. Many motherboards still don't even come with M.2 heatsinks, so unappealing designs and colorful PCBs don't blend into an aesthetics-focused build - something many enthusiasts are sensitive to. Even sub $100 1TB M.2 NVMe SSDs have black PCBs.
 
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Nov 18, 2020
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What the heck does Tom's have against this drive? Or why the hard-on for the Gammix S50?

I took a few minutes to put together a spreadsheet of where each drive ranks (1-10 of the 10 compared) for all of the quantitative benchmarks (i.e. the ones with a score). The US70 had an average placement (rank) of 2.91, so basically it placed 3rd of 10 tested drives, on average. The S50? 4.95! (higher is obviously better) So at best the S50 is, according to Tom's Hardware's own tests, "middle of the road" (almost precisely), whereas the S70 is "better than average".

Factor pricing into it and the S70 beats the pants off the S50 with both a higher rank and lower price, whether at retail or, even more so, at actual market prices, since the S70 is currently on sale (on Amazon, at least). US70 is $175 retail and $148.00 street right now. S50 is $180 retail or $165 street (Amazon with a $15 coupon). The US70 should be the very clear budget performance pick, and yet... it's not. For reasons that are entirely unclear, except uh maybe the color of the PCB and lack of encryption?

WTF Tom's?

Update: my pricing on the S50 Lite is incorrect above. See my reply below where I address this in context.
 
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seanwebster

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What the heck does Tom's have against this drive? Or why the hard-on for the Gammix S50?

I took a few minutes to put together a spreadsheet of where each drive ranks (1-10 of the 10 compared) for all of the quantitative benchmarks (i.e. the ones with a score). The US70 had an average placement (rank) of 2.91, so basically it placed 3rd of 10 tested drives, on average. The S50? 4.95! (higher is obviously better) So at best the S50 is, according to Tom's Hardware's own tests, "middle of the road" (almost precisely), whereas the S70 is "better than average".

Factor pricing into it and the S70 beats the pants off the S50 with both a higher rank and lower price, whether at retail or, even more so, at actual market prices, since the S70 is currently on sale (on Amazon, at least). US70 is $175 retail and $148.00 street right now. S50 is $180 retail or $165 street (Amazon with a $15 coupon). The US70 should be the very clear budget performance pick, and yet... it's not. For reasons that are entirely unclear, except uh maybe the color of the PCB and lack of encryption?
Silicon Power's US70 is just a barebones Phison E16 reference designed SSD. The 8 channel controller is very good, but the SSD itself lacks AES 256-bit encryption support, has a hideous blue PCB and sticker, and runs hotter than the Adata. Although lacking in sequential performance, the Adata XPG Gammix S50 Lite still outperforms it in responsiveness in the final fantasy game load benchmark, when it comes to heavy workloads (almost as fast as the Samsung 980 PRO in SPECworkstation 3's storage test), comes with a sleek heatsink, is more power-efficient, features very responsive cache recovery (tho the Phison E16 drives recover fairly fast and predictably as well), and undoubtedly looks better.

At 1TB Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 is a better buy than the US70 atm given you register for its warranty. The Sabrent features the same components as the US70, is $5 cheaper, and looks much better - has a black PCB and copper heat spreader. At 2TB the US70 is the better deal since it is $50 cheaper than the Sabrent, you get what you pay for.

I just tried to check out both of these drives on Amazon and did not receive or see any coupon upon checkout. Silicon Power's US70 is not cheaper.

Street prices are as follows:
Adata XPG Gammix S50 Lite - $140 at 1TB & $260 at $2TB
Silicon Power US70 - $175 at 1TB & $320 at 2TB

As I mentioned in the conclusion - the choice depends on how much someone is willing to spend on their SSD - value is not only about performance or price alone. Value is the whole package. If you are willing to go without the Pros the Adata provides and spend the extra cash ($35 more at 1TB and $60 more at 2TB), the US70 is a great pick, but I just don't think it is as well rounded for that higher price tag, especially for those looking for a very cheap Gen4 SSD recommendation for OS or games library use cases. In most day-to-day use it's hard to even tell the difference between the fastest SSDs in the market and ones that are half as fast. The real-world difference between the Adata S50 Lite and Silicon Power US70 is very little. Because random responsiveness is so close and typically matters most of all, many even have issues telling the difference between an M.2 NVMe SSD and a plain old SATA SSD, at least until they move around larger files.
 
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Nov 18, 2020
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I appreciate you taking the time to reply to me directly. :) But I still strongly disagree. I'll go point by point as to why.

Silicon Power's US70 is just a barebones Phison E16 reference designed SSD.
This is basically irrelevant. Your knowledge of what hardware is under the hood should have no bearing on whether it is a good buy. What does matter is the performance (where, in your own benchmarks, it outperformed the S50 Lite in a large majority of the tests) and the price. This and the comments about its aesthetics are like being in a street drag race and betting on the cooler-looking car with the brand name "known to be fast". Doesn't matter when in the race the more basic-looking car is actually faster (which in this case is true most of the time, according to your own tests).

It is lacking AES 256-bit encryption support
This matters only to a portion of the audience. I'm not saying it shouldn't matter, in a situation where performance were roughly equivalent then you naturally need to look at other non-performance factors more closely. But I think it should reasonably be weighed less than raw performance when considering and recommending SSDs.

...has a hideous blue PCB and sticker.
And this matters why? You personally find it unattractive, great, but this is a piece of computer hardware, it has a job to do. And I actually like the blue color personally! And anyway for anyone who cares about aesthetics that much, they likely have an NVMe heatsink (was included with my sub-$100 motherboard, I mean come on), or are not looking at low budget options anyway.

Although lacking in sequential performance, the Adata XPG Gammix S50 Lite still outperforms it in responsiveness in the final fantasy game load benchmark, when it comes to heavy workloads (almost as fast as the Samsung 980 PRO in SPECworkstation 3's storage test), comes with a sleek heatsink, is more power-efficient, features very responsive cache recovery (tho the Phison E16 drives recovery fairly fast and predictably as well), and undoubtedly looks better.
Right, so you cherry pick two of the five tests where it did actually outperform the US70. Out of more than 20 benchmarks, where the US70 wins in 80% of them.

At 1TB Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 is a better buy than the US70 atm given you register for its warranty. The Sabrent features the same components as the US70, is $5 cheaper, and looks much better - has a black PCB and copper heat spreader. At 2TB the US70 is the better deal since it is $50 cheaper than the Sabrent, you get what you pay for.
Except that their performance is pretty much neck and neck in most of your tests, and the Sabrent is actually more expensive by a good margin in street prices (see below). So if anything a pure component-based consideration should be in the US70's favor. Except for that oh-so-pretty black PCB. 🙄

Not only that but the Sabrent doesn't have encryption either, yet you're not dinging it for that that like you are the US70! Really quite odd.

I just tried to check out both of these drives on Amazon and did not receive or see any coupon upon checkout. Silicon Power's US70 is not cheaper.

Street prices are as follows:
Adata XPG Gammix S50 Lite - $140 at 1TB & $260 at $2TB
Silicon Power US70 - $175 at 1TB & $320 at 2TB
You're right that the S50 price is lower, I was mistakenly looking at the S50 non-lite apparently, which on Amazon is an easy mistake to make. I'm curious why I haven't seen tests of that (it's the one that actually claims higher speeds). But you're wrong about the US70 price. It's $148 at 1TB, as shown here:
https://smile.amazon.com/Silicon-Power-NVMe-Gen4-SP02KGBP44US7005/dp/B089M1MSSC

But even with the lower price (lower by a whole $8), the fact that averaged across all the benchmarks the S50 Lite ranked 5th while the the US70 ranked 3rd still means the US70 wins on price/performance.

Also here's the Sabrent, quite a bit more expensive than the US70, but roughly equivalent performance.
https://smile.amazon.com/Sabrent-Internal-Extreme-Performance-SB-ROCKET-NVMe4-1TB/dp/B07TLYWMYW?sa-no-redirect=1

As I mentioned in the conclusion - the choice depends on how much someone is willing to spend on their SSD - value is not only about performance alone. Value is the whole package. If you are willing to go without the Pros the Adata provides and spend the extra cash ($35 more at 1TB and $60 more at 2TB), the US70 is a great pick, but I just don't think it is as well rounded for that higher price tag, especially for those looking for a very cheap Gen4 SSD recommendation.
Your conclusion here seems to lean heavily on price (which is fair enough, if you compare the correct prices). Unless I'm mistaken your numbers are off though. So does the above Amazon street price for the US70 change your thinking?

In most day-to-day use it's hard to even tell the difference between the fastest SSDs in the market and ones that are half as fast. The real-world difference between the Adata S50 Lite and Silicon Power US70 is very little. Because random responsiveness is so close and typically matters most of all, many even have issues telling the difference between an M.2 NVMe SSD and a plain old SATA SSD, at least until they move around larger files.
All that I'm aware of. Yet your job is to test these small differences. If they don't "really" matter, why bother with all the tests?

In the end my concern here is that the US70 actually looks like a really good option for price vs. performance, especially if you don't care about more premium features like encryption or, um, PCB color. And yet you shy away from recommending it over the S50 Lite, even though it beats it most of the time. Other review sites (which I hadn't looked at until your reply here) are actually in alignment with what I'm seeing here too, many are claiming a new "value performance crown", etc. Which I think is deserving. Just confused by inconsistencies in your recommendation methodology basically.
 
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Co BIY

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With an Adata drive how will we know if what the consumer purchases will be what Tom's tested ?

Adata never came clean with the XPG scam and did not indicate that they would do better in the future.

I trust Tom's writers' data and give good weight to their professional judgements but they have little value if the companies change the hardware without notice. I think Tom's let Adata off very easy after the company rode their review and selection of their SSD as their top pick for more than a year. These reviews drive sales.
 
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ceomrman2

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Agreed, I don't understand how this is even remotely relevant. The drive is most likely going to be slammed into a laptop, or placed under a heat spreader on a desktop motherboard. Nobody's ever going to see the thing.

And it's not like it got referenced once, it was referenced several times within the article.
Even in the very unusual event that an SSD can be even be seen at all, who decided blue PCBs are so hideous? Blue is literally the world's favorite color. Tropical beaches are blue. Sapphires are blue. Everyone seemed to like Frank Sinatras' blue eyes. The whole objection seems batty on multiple levels. Is there any self-respecting speed-loving computer jockey who would choose a slower SSD because it's taupe (or whatever alternative) instead of blue?
 
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seanwebster

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I appreciate you taking the time to reply to me directly. :) But I still strongly disagree. I'll go point by point as to why.
This is basically irrelevant. Your knowledge of what hardware is under the hood should have no bearing on whether it is a good buy. What does matter is the performance (where, in your own benchmarks, it outperformed the S50 Lite in a large majority of the tests) and the price. This and the comments about its aesthetics are like being in a street drag race and betting on the cooler-looking car with the brand name "known to be fast". Doesn't matter when in the race the more basic-looking car is actually faster (which in this case is true most of the time, according to your own tests).
I was just stating the fact that it is a simple, barebones reference design. There's nothing special about it compared to what other vendors are doing, except for its lower price.

This matters only to a portion of the audience. I'm not saying it shouldn't matter, in a situation where performance were roughly equivalent then you naturally need to look at other non-performance factors more closely. But I think it should reasonably be weighed less than raw performance when considering and recommending SSDs.
I do not just write for those looking for the fastest speeds alone. Others have other needs. Thus, I note the pro or con for them so that they can quickly note the difference rather than have to dig through the article. If they cared only about the speed they wouldn't want to waste their hard-earned money on this SSD anyway. They would instead opt for a WD Black SN850, Samsung 980 Pro, or Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus or maybe Adata's new S70 that's on the way.

And this matters why? You personally find it unattractive, great, but this is a piece of computer hardware, it has a job to do. And I actually like the blue color personally! And anyway for anyone who cares about aesthetics that much, they likely have an NVMe heatsink (was included with my sub-$100 motherboard, I mean come on), or are not looking at low budget options anyway.
The top manufacturers have been opting for black PCBs for years. It's an industry trend and many enthusiasts have voiced is important to them over the years. I wouldn't the US70 in my personal rig, but that doesn't mean it's not fine for someone who can deal with, or well beyond me, likes the US70's ugly aesthetic. hehe I still recommend it.

Right, so you cherry pick two of the five tests where it did actually outperform the US70. Out of more than 20 benchmarks, where the US70 wins in 80% of them.
Not all benchmarks are equally weighted. SpecWorkstation 3's Storage test is much tougher than any of the other workloads - it hammers the SSDs with multiple workloads that are over 3x more brutal than anything PCMark 10 throws at it - requesting over 230GB worth of reads and 600GB worth of writes within its run.

Except that their performance is pretty much neck and neck in most of your tests, and the Sabrent is actually more expensive by a good margin in street prices (see below). So if anything a pure component-based consideration should be in the US70's favor. Except for that oh-so-pretty black PCB. 🙄Not only that but the Sabrent doesn't have encryption either, yet you're not dinging it for that that like you are the US70! Really quite odd.
It should have the lack of encryption as a con. I'll see to update it. The Sabrent is currently $5 cheaper at 1TB ($170 vs $175), but $50 more at 2TB ($370 vs $320).

You're right that the S50 price is lower, I was mistakenly looking at the S50 non-lite apparently, which on Amazon is an easy mistake to make. I'm curious why I haven't seen tests of that (it's the one that actually claims higher speeds). But you're wrong about the US70 price. It's $148 at 1TB, as shown here:
https://smile.amazon.com/Silicon-Power-NVMe-Gen4-SP02KGBP44US7005/dp/B089M1MSSC
But even with the lower price (lower by a whole $8), the fact that averaged across all the benchmarks the S50 Lite ranked 5th while the US70 ranked 3rd still means the US70 wins on price/performance.
Also here's the Sabrent, quite a bit more expensive than the US70, but roughly equivalent performance.
https://smile.amazon.com/Sabrent-Internal-Extreme-Performance-SB-ROCKET-NVMe4-1TB/dp/B07TLYWMYW?sa-no-redirect=1
Your conclusion here seems to lean heavily on price (which is fair enough, if you compare the correct prices). Unless I'm mistaken your numbers are off though. So does the above Amazon street price for the US70 change your thinking?
Prices for the Silicon Power US70 are shown as $174.99 at 1TB and $319.99 at 2TB. The price delta between it and the Adata Gammix S50 Lite is $35 at 1TB and $60 at 2TB - roughly 20% more for the US70 in each case.

The Adata S50 wasn't sampled to us, however, it's built of the same hardware as the US70, thus performance is near identical to it and that of every other Phison E16 M.2 NVMe SSD paired with BiCS4 - like Corsair's MP600, Seagate's FireCuda 520, Team Group's Cardea Ceramic C440, Patriot Viper VP4100, etc.

All that I'm aware of. Yet your job is to test these small differences. If they don't "really" matter, why bother with all the tests?
To ensure that the device performs as marketed and to also demonstrate performance delta's between devices to aid buyers in their purchasing decision.

In the end my concern here is that the US70 actually looks like a really good option for price vs. performance, especially if you don't care about more premium features like encryption or, um, PCB color. And yet you shy away from recommending it over the S50 Lite, even though it beats it most of the time. Other review sites (which I hadn't looked at until your reply here) are actually in alignment with what I'm seeing here too, many are claiming a new "value performance crown", etc. Which I think is deserving. Just confused by inconsistencies in your recommendation methodology basically.
With the prices at what I have stated, I feel the Adata is a better bang for the buck overall. Not everyone has the ability to stretch their budget much more when at the end of the day both devices are going to still serve them well with very responsive performance that is significantly faster than a SATA SSD or forbid a slow HDD.

Even in the very unusual event that an SSD can be even be seen at all, who decided blue PCBs are so hideous? Blue is literally the world's favorite color. Tropical beaches are blue. Sapphires are blue. Everyone seemed to like Frank Sinatras' blue eyes. The whole objection seems batty on multiple levels. Is there any self-respecting speed-loving computer jockey who would choose a slower SSD because it's taupe (or whatever alternative) instead of blue?
The Adata is not really slower, especially with its responsive cache. The US70 has some better sequential performance but also costs much more. Both are recommended, the buyer's decision depends on their personal preferences and budget.
 
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Prices for the Silicon Power US70 are shown as $174.99 at 1TB and $319.99 at 2TB. The price delta between it and the Adata Gammix S50 Lite is $35 at 1TB and $60 at 2TB - roughly 20% more for the US70 in each case.
...
With the prices at what I have stated, I feel the Adata is a better bang for the buck overall. Not everyone has the ability to stretch their budget much more when at the end of the day both devices are going to still serve them well with very responsive performance that is significantly faster than a SATA SSD or forbid a slow HDD.
Thanks for the in-depth reply! So it seems like a good part of the disagreement here derives from the difference in pricing we're seeing. I've included a screenshot of the pricing I see on the page I linked to above and I've finally figured out what's going on: I'm apparently getting a 15% discount as an Amazon Prime member! That's actually quite a notable discount, and worth calling out in news or something (i.e. deals) if you have a relevant place for it. And FWIW it's been that price for some weeks now, so it's not a short-time discount or a Black Friday/Cyber Monday thing.



Regardless my price/performance picture looks much different from yours for precisely this reason, and knowing that, it definitely means that the more general recommendation can't be quite so in favor of the US70. That said I hope you'll update your review(s) to reflect this option for the 112 million + Amazon Prime members in the US. 😁

The Adata is not really slower, especially with its responsive cache. The US70 has some better sequential performance but also costs much more. Both are recommended, the buyer's decision depends on their personal preferences and budget.
My main concern with the respective recommendations, where you say "both are recommended", is that the Adata is the one (and only) recommendation for "Value" in your SSD guide: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-ssds,3891.html
While the above realization tempers my belief you should replace it with the US70, I do think it would be worth mentioning that some people may have access to discount pricing which makes it a better value than the Adata.

Thanks again for the dialog. I understand where you're coming from, and while I still don't entirely agree with some of what you've said, the different pricing we're seeing explains a lot.
 
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