ADATA this week launched its Ultimate SU700-series SSDs that were briefly introduced at Computex 2016 about nine months ago. The new drives are based on 3D TLC NAND memory and are among the first retail products to use Maxiotek’s MK8115 controller for low-cost SSDs. The SU700 lineup will include various models with different capacities and performance.

The ADATA Ultimate SU700 drives appear to be one the first retail SSDs featuring the MK8115 without onboard DRAM. The products use Micron’s 3D TLC NAND flash memory and come in 120 GB, 240 GB, 480 GB and 960 GB configurations. The drives come in a 2.5”/7 mm form-factor and use the SATA 6 Gbps interface, thus are compatible with modern desktops and notebooks. When it comes to on-the-box sequential performance, we are talking about a typical 2017 entry-level SATA SSD rated for a sequential read speed of up to 560 MB/s as well as sequential write speed of up to 520 MB/s when pseudo-SLC caching is used. Random read/write performance of the SU700 drives is almost on par that of ADATA’s Ultimate SU800 featuring the Silicon Motion SM2258 controller and the same 3D TLC memory - up to 80K read IOPS and up to 80K write IOPS (see the table for details). Keeping in mind that even the name of the new drives implies that they are positioned slightly below the SU800, it is not surprising that they are slightly slower as well. The SU700 drives (unlike the SU800) support hardware AES-256 encryption, however.

ADATA SU700 Specifications
Capacity 120 GB 240 GB 480 GB 960 GB
Model Number ASU700SS-120GT-C ASU700SS-240GT-C ASU700SS-480GT-C ASU700SS-9600GT-C
Controller Maxiotek MK8115
NAND Flash 3D TLC NAND
Sequential Read 560 MB/s
Sequential Write 320 MB/s 520 MB/s unknown
Random Read IOPS 30K 60K 80K unknown
Random Write IOPS 70K 80K 80K unknown
Pseudo-SLC Caching Supported
DRAM Buffer Yes, capacity unknown
Encryption AES-256
Power Management Slumber, Device Sleep, etc.
Power Consumption Unknown
Warranty 3 years
MTBF 2,000,000 hours
TBW 70 TB 140 TB 280 TB unknown
MSRP unknown unknown unknown unknown

The manufacturer rates its SU700 SSDs for 2 million hours MTBF and ships them with a three-year limited warranty. From endurance point of view, 3D TLC NAND memory is more durable than TLC NAND produced using a thin planar process technology (as the cells in 3D TLC are larger, allowing more room for voltage drift over the life of the NAND). As with all SSDs, ADATA leaves NAND for overprovisioning in a bid to ensure that the drives work fine even after prolonged usage - however it remains to be seen how the use of a controller featuring a BCH-based ECC technology plays out for a TLC-based SSD in general.

A Side Note about the MK8115 Controller

The Maxiotek MK8115 is a quad-channel NAND controller that supports SATA (technically SATA v3.2) as well as various types of SLC, MLC, 3D MLC, and 3D TLC NAND flash memory with Async, Toggle, and ONFi NAND interfaces (at up to 400 MT/s transfer rates). The MK8115 controller supports the developer’s AgileECC error correction (with programmable ECC parity that supports 1 KB code-word length correctable up to 76 bits, something that implies on BCH method) with virtual parity recovery. As with other controllers, the MK8115 supports modern security capabilities (AES-256, SM4, TCG-OPAL 2.0, IEEE1667) and other features, such as low-power modes (Slumber/Device Sleep, etc.), advanced static/dynamic wear-leveling and so on. So while the MK8115 formally supports AES-256 encryption (something that is not always supported by inexpensive controllers), from an ECC point of view it seems to be behind competitors that also support LDPC. All that being said, one of the key features that Maxiotek advertises about its MK8115 is the fact that it does not require additional onboard DRAM, thus allowing saving a few cents on the SSD bill of materials. We're looking forward to when Billy gets a sample for review.

Pricing

ADATA had not announced MSRPs for the new drives. We understand that since the Ultimate SU700 family is positioned below the SU800 and SU900 series, it will  be a bit cheaper, but we cannot share recommended prices just now.

Related Reading:

Source: ADATA

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  • Lolimaster - Sunday, April 02, 2017 - link

    They could save more money simply reducing the size of 2.5" drives and make them more of a square (volume shipping costs down, more item at the same area).

    Pretty much in al 2.5" SSD's we see 1/3 of the horizontal space filled with nothing.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, April 03, 2017 - link

    If they make the enclosure shorter it won't work right with retention systems (screwed in or various clips). The screw holes are placed very near the corners on a standard sized drive. Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Monday, April 03, 2017 - link

    I think 2.5 inch drives are going away anyhow in favor of M.2 for SSDs which would already hold down shipping and packaging costs. Reply
  • fanofanand - Monday, April 03, 2017 - link

    I think you are right, less cables, cleaner looking installs, less impeding airflow, M.2 is certainly the way of the future. Reply
  • Magichands8 - Tuesday, April 04, 2017 - link

    I guess that's fine if you need a low capacity SSD for a mobile system. Those of us with real full fledged computers however are interested in real capacity and capacity that can expand. In that scenario M.2 is useless. They keep releasing M.2 SSDs so I suppose somebody must be buying them I just can't figure out why unless it's for an ultra book or other small form factor laptop. As for space and airflow you can already mount 2.5" form factor SSDs in out of the way places such as flat against one side of a case. And if you are interested in M.2 then you aren't going to care much about capacity in the first place so you wouldn't have to be concerned with the ability to mount multiple 2.5" SSDs in such a case anyway. As for me I couldn't care less about how pretty it looks on the inside and certainly wouldn't want to cripple my options for expansion and performance improvements just to avoid having to plug something in with a cable. But to each their own.

    And if M.2 is the way of the future I don't think that way will last very long after Intel/AMD start shipping stacked memory on their CPUs. After all, that solution will be far more compact still and better suited to the niche use-case that some people seem interested in using M.2 for anyway.
    Reply
  • Rocket321 - Monday, April 03, 2017 - link

    Two screws would be plenty, these drives are paper light and don't need the full retention that a spinning metal platter based HDD needed. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, April 03, 2017 - link

    2 screws might be enough in a stack of trays; but in an open cage it leaves way too much room for them to move vertically. Reply
  • SanX - Wednesday, April 05, 2017 - link

    Who need all that now completely obsolete junk after Samsung made 3.5GB/s PCIe drives?
    Plus do your math: MTBF 2 million hours is just 4 years. Total waste of money
    Reply
  • vladx - Wednesday, April 05, 2017 - link

    Sorry to break to you but 99% of the users don't need PCIe SSDs. Reply
  • watzupken - Sunday, April 09, 2017 - link

    M.2 SSDs probably are more suited for scenarios where there is space constraints, i.e. laptop/ Ultrabooks. I believe most desktop SSD users are still on 2.5 inch form factor as there are plenty of SATA 3 ports, as oppose to typically only 1 M.2 slot on the motherboard.

    Anyway, I feel the low end SSD market is way too saturated. Too many different brands and models that are based on the same controller, trying to vie for the cheapest spot by cutting all corners, e.g. in this case, they are cutting out the RAM to save a few bucks.
    Reply

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