ADATA SX900 128GB SSD Review

The ADATA SX900 128GB SSD came to us with a surprise under the hood, the new B02 version of the SandForce SF-2281 controller. This new stepping is designed to provide revolutionary improvements in power efficiency with no loss of speed. We test the SX900 and the SF-2281VB2-SPC controller to see how it stacks up against the competition.

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PCMark Vantage

PCMark Vantage is currently one of the most widely used trace-based benchmarks available to the general public. This program contains several recordings (traces) of user activities. It then replays the recorded activities and measures the maximum throughput attainable in each type of scenario. Many reviewers prefer PCMark Vantage to PCMark 7, as Vantage shows a much more pronounced difference between SSDs. The underlying reason for the higher scores is that the Vantage trace is played at full speed, regardless of the speed at which it was recorded.

The theoretical maximums of SSD performance are rarely seen in a desktop environment, if at all. This can lead users to expect an unreal amount of performance boost from their everyday applications in normal usage from one type of SSD to another. This simply will not happen. While the jump from HDDs to SSDs is nothing short of revolutionary in terms of system responsiveness and overall speed, the difference between two different SSDs will be incremental.

What PCMark Vantage does offer with this approach is that it can be indicative of the performance attainable in highly multi-tasked environments, and it highlights strengths and weaknesses for each drive easily.

We also include the Steady State testing results with our trace-based tests. The SSDs are placed into Steady State following SNIAs basic testing guidelines (Rev 1.1). SNIA is an industry group that defines several key parameters for testing devices.

PCMark Vantage does a very good job of highlighting the performance difference experienced over the course of time with an SSD.

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The overall score from Vantage reveals two very distinct results. In fresh out of box mode the SX900 is the top of the charts. Where it matters, in steady state, the ADATA SX900 falls below the competition, including the TLC powered 840. This is almost certainly due to the lack of TRIM functionality. The out-of-date firmware penalizes the SX900. The Samsung 840 Pro continues its obvious dominance of the performance charts.

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Gaming is one of the bigger attractions for enthusiasts to spring on a new SSD, and the SX900 has very good fresh results, but with use falls to the bottom of the pack.

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Application Loading tests the speed at loading various applications, and here the ADATA manages to eke out a win over the TLC 840. The other SandForce SSDs, with its newer firmware, continue to outpace the SX900.

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Multimedia consists of several different tests. The Windows Media Player simulates the program searching for and adding media to its library. The Media Center tests playback of various form of media, and the Windows Movie Maker test simulates creating and editing videos.

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Windows Photo Gallery simulates the importing of photos onto the SSD, and the Kingston V300 shows an obvious strength in this test in steady state conditions.

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Windows Startup tests the all-important boot time speed of the SSD, and the SX900 suffers at this test, falling below the Kingston V300 and Intel 335.

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Windows Defender testing simulates a virus scan of the drive.