Silicon Power XPower XS70 SSD review: fast, attractive and affordable

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Silicon Power’s XS70, also known as XPower XS70, is rated at up to 7.3 GB/s of bandwidth, which is effectively the limit of mainstream PCIe 4.0 SSDs. This drive is capable of sustaining up to 1 million IOPS, which is in line with expectations, and comes with a five-year warranty. Silicon Power markets the XS70 as a gaming drive, with particular attention paid to the attractive aluminum heatsink.

Silicon Power is another third-party SSD manufacturer that also makes other products, primarily flash drives that are vying for a spot on our best SSD list. The company’s most popular SSDs are and were the budget or entry-level P34A60, and the mainstream mainstream P34A80. The latter was one of the first SSDs based on the Phison E12 controller and it retained the original hardware layout for a significant period of time. Eventually, he switched to using Silicon Motion’s Phison E12S or SM2262EN controller. Such exchanges are common in the industry, but it has made the reader less desirable.

Still, the P34A80’s availability and reasonable price put Silicon Power on the map. The company continues to produce mostly Phison-controlled drives like the UD70 and US70, but the XS70 is definitely the premium part of their product line.

Silicon Power is positioning it as a PlayStation 5 (PS5) option as we’ve seen with competing products, like the Kingston Fury Renegade and Inland Gaming Performance Plus, and it features the latest flash and an attractive PS5-compatible heatsink. The 4TB capacity option is nice, especially because Gaming Performance Plus doesn’t come with this spacious option.

Let’s see if the XS70 measures up.

Features

Product 1TB 2TB 4TB
Pricing $129.99 $249.99 $749.99
Capacity (User / Raw) 1000 GB / 1024 GB 2000 GB / 2048 GB 4000 GB / 4096 GB
Form factor M.2 2280 M.2 2280 M.2 2280
Interface / Protocol PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4 PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4 PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4
Controller Phison PS5018-E18 Phison PS5018-E18 Phison PS5018-E18
DRACHMA DDR4 DDR4 DDR4
Memory Micron 176L CCM Micron 176L CCM Micron 176L CCM
Sequential reading 7300Mbps 7300Mbps 7300Mbps
Sequential write 6000Mbps 6,800 Mbps 6,800 Mbps
Shuffle playback 750,000 IOPS 1,000,000 IOPS 940,000 IOPS
Random write 1,000,000 IOPS 1,000,000 IOPS 1,000,000 IOPS
Security N / A N / A N / A
Stamina (TBW) 700TBW 1400TBW 3000TBW
Article number SP01KGBP44XS7005 SP02KGBP44XS7005 SP04KGBP44XS7005
guarantee 5 years 5 years 5 years

The XS70 is rated for sequential speeds of up to 7.3/6.85 Gbps read/write and 1 million random read and write IOPS, matching competitive drives. The drive is available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities. Pricing ranges from $0.12 to $0.19 per gigabyte, with the upper limit only approached with the 4TB SKU; this premium is typical, especially with TLC. The price is quite competitive. if you research Silicon Power’s datasheets enough, you’ll find that endurance is rated at up to 700TB of write data per TB of capacity (excluding 3PBW at 4TB).

As with all SSDs, there is an “up to” qualifier for performance metrics. Note that sequential reads come from native flash, in this case 3-bit MLC or TLC, while sequential writes come from SLC write cache. Speeds are limited by the amount of interleaving, i.e. the amount of flash (NAND) arrays available for parallelization, so sequential writes, for example, should be less than 1TB. , these metrics may be based on a certain queue depth or threading level, often at unrealistic values.

Therefore, the wise consumer should pay attention to the hardware and the design as a whole, which includes the mutability of the hardware. That is to say, be aware that results are often under ideal circumstances which will vary based on actual usage, and additionally, manufacturers may alter hardware along the way.

SP also informed us that the XS70 does not support TCG Opal. Self-Encrypting Discs (SEDs) can use AES-256 encryption to protect content through hardware. This includes an option for a cryptographic wipe that throws away the key, being a faster option for a sanitize. Data may also be scrambled after this process.

While we try to verify this support on drives, it should be noted that this feature, while optional for most controllers, is often not present on consumer drives. This can be for product segmentation but also because software encryption is often a preferred approach. For example, Microsoft removed SED support from Bitlocker at the end of 2018 because a poor firmware implementation allowed malicious decryption. This required physical access. It should be noted here that modern drives often also have flash encryption, so attackers cannot access data by removing the physical NAND chips.

Software and accessories

The XS70 from SP arrives in minimal packaging with no additional accessories. Software support is also non-existent. This is not a big problem for experienced users as they can rely on free software, for example CrystalDiskInfo (CDI) or Macrium Reflect Free. Also, game drives like this can end up in a console, so the lack of software might not be that big a deal. Modern drives tend not to depend on firmware updates, although it’s nice to have an SSD toolkit.

To look closer

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XPower XS70 Silicon Power

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
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XPower XS70 Silicon Power

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
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XPower XS70 Silicon Power

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The XS70 uses the common M.2 2280 form factor, with an attractive aluminum heatsink in black and silver. A complaint from some enthusiasts is that heatsinks are often more about looks than performance, which means the design isn’t conducive to airflow. While many SSDs don’t require a heatsink in the first place, high-end PCIe 4.0 drives can start to get quite hot, especially in poorly ventilated environments or inside a console. It does the job in spite of itself. SP claims it’s up to 40% cooler, but our tests have it running hotter than the Inland Gaming Performance Plus. The thermal padding also didn’t have such good contact.

Under the cover we see the traditional layout of four NAND packages, the controller and the DRAM cache, with the flash and DRAM likely mirrored on the back.

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XPower XS70 Silicon Power

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
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XPower XS70 Silicon Power

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Phison’s E18 controller appeared on our test bed several times. It’s a popular choice, if not the most popular, for high-end PCIe 4.0 drives. Phison took the consumer SSD market by storm with its E12 controller, and while we think the E16 was a good interim solution – which actually remained at least niche use with the PS5 – the E18 really starting to push the boundaries.

DRAM consists of SK hynix DDR4 in the 512M x 16b configuration, for a total of 2GB with two 1GB modules. We’ve seen older E12-based drives ship with DDR3 or DDR4, and many drives had also DDR3L or DDR4L optional. In fact, the difference here is power consumption, bearing in mind that the DRAM cache on an SSD is used for metadata storage and access. This means that the latency benefit is the greatest, and “true latency” is a factor of both bandwidth, via clock speed, and native latency, the latter typically increasing with each generation. in generation. DRAM ICs also tend to support a range of speeds and latencies.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The flash is Micron’s 176-layer B47R TLC NAND which is being produced in good volume at this point. We will soon see competing flashes of this generation, although flash manufacturers are already looking to the future. The QLC options in particular should be interesting. Either way, Micron’s B47R is still the best consumer option on the market, and it pairs perfectly with Phison’s E18 controller. We’ve seen this in previous reviews, as it’s been compared to very similar drives using Micron’s 96-layer B27B instead.

As with Inland Gaming Performance Plus, the flash operates at 1200 MT/s. This is not a hard limitation on the controller as Phison lists up to 1600 MT/s per channel on its datasheet for the E18. As flash tends to operate in 8-bit mode, this translates to a maximum of 1600 Mbps per channel, with sufficient flash, although there is significant overhead due to other bus data such as commands and addresses. This is especially true for write operations that require an acknowledgment. Either way, that’s a lot of bandwidth to saturate four lanes of PCIe 4.0.

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