The Inland Gaming Performance Plus is designed for up to 7.0 Gbps bandwidth, peaking at 700,000 IOPS on the PCIe 4.0 interface. This matches many other drives based on the Phison E18 SSD controller, including Inland’s regular Performance Plus that we reviewed previously. The new Gaming Performance Plus player is ostensibly geared towards gaming and is specifically marketed as compatible with the Playstation 5 (PS5).
We also recently reviewed the Inland Prime, an entry-level player with a surprisingly decent six-year warranty. In fact, Inland Gaming Performance Plus is also supported for six years, which is a bit longer than the typical five. However, guaranteed writes are nothing special at 700 TBW per TB of capacity.
Inland is best known as Micro Center’s house brand for solid-state drives, providing convenience to builders lucky enough to live near one of the company’s brick-and-mortar (B&M) locations. Disc availability is a big selling point, especially since returns can go through the store. Although Inland drives don’t offer anything special compared to other third-party manufacturers, the consistency of the range (segmented with different ‘P’ models) means there’s a drive for everyone.
Any SSD will be a big improvement over a hard disk drive (HDD) when loading a game, but beyond that there’s usually not much difference between entry-level SATA SSDs and High-end PCIe SSD. There’s enough of a difference to attract enthusiasts, of course, but the real path is ahead of us: DirectStorage will, over time, make NVMe drives a more exciting prospect for gaming PCs. these are good for upgrading a PS5, although the difference between discs on this console is often not very pronounced as long as they work.
Of course, we’ve seen plenty of Phison E18-based drives, including Micron’s new 176-layer TLC (B47R) flash, so there’s nothing new on the hardware front here. The Gaming Performance Plus heatsink is a nice touch, but we’ll see if Inland has any other tricks up its sleeve.
|Capacity (User / Raw)||1000 GB / 1024 GB||2000 GB / 2048 GB|
|Form factor||M.2 2280||M.2 2280|
|Interface / Protocol||PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4||PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4|
|Controller||Phion E18||Phion E18|
|Memory||Micron 176L CCM||Micron 176L CCM|
|Sequential write||5500Mbps||6,850 Mbps|
|Shuffle Playback||350,000 IOPS||650,000 IOPS|
|Random write||700,000 IOPS||700,000 IOPS|
|Security||N / A||N / A|
|Stamina (TBW)||700 TB||1,400 TB|
|guarantee||6 years||6 years|
The Gaming Performance Plus is designed for sequential speeds of up to 7.0/6.85 Gbps read/write and up to 650,000/700,000 random read/write IOPS. Unfortunately, it’s only available in 1TB and 2TB. The current price of the Micro Center (MC) puts it at around $0.14 per gigabyte, being a bit higher right now if purchased in outside of an MC. That’s a bit high compared to SSDs you’ll find on sale and even some competing products – see our upcoming XS70 review – but it’s below the heinous prices we sometimes see in this space. It’s hard for a drive of this caliber to hit its stride at just 500/512GB, and 4TB drives with TLC are still expensive or hard to obtain, so the omission of these capacities is unsurprising.
SSD IOPS are significantly lower than other E18 drives, especially models using 176-layer flash, but in practice this is not very relevant for a consumer drive. Additionally, these limitations may not be accurate, as other Inland players have had their specifications incorrect in the past.
There’s nothing too exciting here, although it must be understood that SSDs are now ubiquitous enough to enable high-end models from a store brand.
Software and accessories
Indoor drives are known for minimal lint; there is not too much software. They tend to be based on Phison SSD controllers and therefore it is sometimes possible to find universal or generic firmware updates. That being said, firmware updates should rarely be necessary.
Other features like health monitoring, cloning, etc. can be handled with free software packages like CrystalDiskInfo (CDI) and Macrium Reflect Free. Inland may want to minimize its support structure, which makes sense, but the company has the ability to stand out in the future if it chooses.
To look closer
The Gaming Performance Plus comes in the typical M.2 2280 form factor with an extra thick aqua-colored heatsink. Although the surface area of the heatsink is not large, it is enough to keep the drive cool. Aesthetically it’s simple, and it’ll fit in a PS5, so hard to complain too much. The back label contains the serial number and barcode.
Below the heatsink, we can quickly spot the controller, DRAM cache, and four NAND packages on the top side, all on a dark PCB. The physical layout is slightly different from what is seen on the Fury Renegade, which has Kingston’s dual DRAM package configuration.
Here we have the Phison E18 controller, one of the fastest PCIe 4.0 SSD controllers on the market. We can also see Phison’s power management integrated circuit (PMIC) and DRAM cache, although another memory module is also on the back. It’s DDR4 in the 512M x 16b, or 1GB configuration, with both combined providing 2GB of memory.
The typical ratio of DRAM to NAND is 1 GB of DRAM to 1 TB of NAND, which facilitates the typical logical page addressing of 4 KB. However, the precise amount required varies depending on many things such as load job, mapping type, compression technology, etc. Consumer use typically doesn’t need that much DRAM for such a capacity, but it’s nice to see on a premium drive.
The flash is labeled IA7BG94AYA, which are 256GB packages of Micron’s 176-layer B47R TLC flash. At 2TB, we’ll have eight – four on each side. This flash tends to be 512GB or 64GB per die, so we have four dies per package. The E18 controller is eight-channel, which is sufficient to provide optimal interlacing. We’ve seen this flash on many records, and he’s always been a great performer. We’ll soon see 176-layer flash from other manufacturers for TLC and QLC, which will definitely make things a bit more interesting.
The flash on this drive operates at an I/O speed of 1200 MT/s (megatransfers per second), which translates to 1200 Mbps because the flash operates in 8-bit transfer mode. Flash and bus transfer more than just data – they also carry commands, so higher I/O speed can help speed up multiple functions, delivering lower latency and higher performance. We saw this when comparing the Kingston KC2500 and KC2000.
The Gaming Performance Plus doesn’t do anything risky here and opts for a proven setup instead.
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