Having already documented Sabrent's rise as a top brand for NVMe SSDs, we are back with another. It is another cutting edge SSD that is all about value, and as such, it is a QLC (4-bit per cell) SSD. QLC SSDs have been kind of a niche product until recently, mostly regarded as cost-effective but inferior in terms of performance and endurance.
QLC is taking the same path we saw TLC (3-bit per cell) take when it came to the market as a low-cost alternative to MLC (2-bit per cell) flash. At first, no one wanted TLC, and it was honestly lackluster in terms of endurance as well as performance. However, as technology advanced and flash got faster and faster, TLC soon became the dominant form of NAND. Today we all consider TLC flash to be the 'good stuff.'
Currently, we are on the cusp of QLC replacing TLC as the dominant form of flash-based storage. This is actually good news for the consumer user. Here, let me make a case for QLC with a few facts that you may not realize. Current and incoming QLC flash is the most advanced consumer flash ever made. Generally speaking, QLC flash reads back data as fast as any other type of flash. 80% of what you do in the consumer space is read related.
Most of the time, when you are writing data to the drive, it happens in the drives SLC cache meaning it can be written to even faster than MLC flash most of the time. QLC is ushering in high capacities for a much lower cost. Endurance ratings are much lower than TLC, but even with where they are at currently, almost no one in the consumer space will even come close to wearing out their QLC SSD inside of their warranty period. We will soon see 8TB M.2 SSDs thanks to QLC technology.
Powering Sabrent's Rocket Q NVMe SSD is Phison's latest SSD controller, the E12S. The E12S is a variant of Phison's E12 controller that is physically smaller than the original E12. The E12S is, as far as we can tell, just as powerful as the original, but provides greater flexibility because of its smaller footprint. The drive we have on the bench today is a perfect example of what a smaller controller brings to the table. With more real estate for flash packages, the Rocket Q 2TB is a single-sided design. Single-sided designs (all components on one side of the PCB) are the most desirable because they are thinner.
Sabrent's Rocket Q NVMe SSD is checking all the boxes as they relate to design and pricing, now let's get into the review and see what the Rocket Q is serving up in terms of performance.
The first thing we notice is the Rocket Q's rated sequential speeds as they are by far the best we've seen to date for any consumer QLC product. We also notice that the Rocket Q has an endurance rating that is far better than Intel's 660P series QLC SSDs.
The packaging is white themed with all the characteristics we've become accustomed to seeing from Sabrent. Total quality. As always, Sabrent includes a free custom-tailored version of Acronis cloning software available via download.
The drive's single-sided M.2 PCB is populated with a Phison E12S controller, a DDR4 DRAM package, and four 512GB Micron 96L QLC flash packages. Additionally, the SSD features a pure copper label that boosts thermal capabilities.
Jon's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair Hero VIII Wi-Fi (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Swiftech H2O-320 Edge AIO
- Memory: ADATA XPG Z1 DDR4 3000MHz 16GB (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64 (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1000 (buy from Amazon)
- Case: InWin X-Frame
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:34 pm CDT