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Tuesday, 27 April 2021

XPG Gammix S50 Lite 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD Review

 The XPG Gammix S50 Lite M.2 NVMe - Fast, Reliable and revolutionary!


ADATA over the years has grown and expanded exponentially, catering now not only with its wide range of storage options in forms of SSDs and RAMs but also in form of the gaming peripherals such as keyboards and mice. Quite recently they launched their version of a PCIe Gen 4.0 SSD in form of the XPG S50 Lite,  hopping onto the latest trend in the industry but considering its one of the, if not the, cheapest option in the market today under the PCI 4.0 tag it kind of makes everyone curious as to how this thing would perform!


Thanks to ADATA I have one on the table today and boy its impressive from the packaging itself! The S50 Lite comes in three capacity variants of 512GB, 1TB and 2TB which should be more tan enough for everyone in the market. It is a M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen 4.0 SSD which comes rated at The company covers the 1TB model for up to 740 TB of writes within its five-year warranty and to sustain upwards of 540,000/540,000 random read/write IOPS and dish out up to 3.9/3.2 GBps of sequential read/write throughput. Over all a solid rating for a product of this category and price and talking about the pricing the XPG S50 Lite 1TB is priced in at $150 or ₹11,500 in India.

Packing and Closer Look

ADATA brings the XPG Gammix S50 Lite in a shiny red packaging with the product image right in the center along with all the details that one would require on top such as capacity, connectivity standards etc. A bit too shiny for my taste but then its subjective.
At the back we have the usual details along with  other markings. The SSD rests in a clamp-shell packaging inside the box which is good enough for ease in transportation.  

The XPG Gammix S50 Lite is a 2280 form factor M.2 drive which uses a dual sided PCB layout with the NAND chips, controller and DRAM chips located on both the sides of this black PCB wafer. It connects via the PCIe 4.0x4 standards so you can expect nearly double the speeds of a conventional PCIe 3.0x4 drive.

The heatshield is brushed aluminum and as per ADATA can reduce the operating temperatures of the SSD by almost 20% which is needed since at high speeds SSDs are bound to thermal throttle.

Silicon Motion’s SM2267 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe 1.4 SSD controller powers the Adata XPG Gammix S50 Lite. It is a quad channel controller unlike the 8-channel ones we usually see on other PCIe Gen 4.0 SSDs and has a dual core 28nm Arm Cortex R5 CPU for data handling and processing. It also features a DRAM cache and has a single SK hynix 8Gb (1GB) DDR4 DRAM IC for buffer storage. The four memory ICs located in a pair of two on each side of the PCB are Intel/Micron 96-layer 3D TLC NAND with a 256GB capacity each.

Test Setup and Benchmarks


We used our usual testbench to benchmark the ADATA XPG Gammix S50 Lite 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD -

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
Motherboard: MSI Prestige X570 Creation WiFi
RAM: Antec Katana 16GB 3200Mhz
Cooler: NZXT X53 240mm RGB
Graphics Card: Inno3D RTX 3090 iChill X4
Storage: Kingston A400 256GB
Secondary Storage: ADATA XPG Gammix S50 Lite 1TB NVMe M.2
Power Supply: Antec HCG1000 1000W 80+ Gold
Case: NZXT H510 Elite
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 

TRIM Check

Since this is a very new SSD for us so it called for some new testing suits aswell, one such tool is TrimCheck which verifies if TRIM function on the drive is working perfectly or not.


 

The test shows that TRIM is working perfectly on the SSD.

Crystal Disk Info v8.11.2

Crystal Disk Info is a great tool for displaying the characteristics and health of storage devices. It displays everything from temperatures, to the number of hours the device has been powered, and even to the extent of informing you of the firmware of the device.


 

Crystal Disk Info shows us that a bunch of useful SMART attributes are presented to the end user. Total reads and writes as well as NAND writes are shown. The firmware version we are testing with today is version 82A7T9PA with the drive working at optimum temperatures even during summers.   

ATTO Disk

ATTO Disk Benchmark measures transfer rates across specific lengths for any storage system. ATTO uses RAW data, I set my transfer size from 0.5 to 8192kb. This is generally the most reliable benchmarks for today's SSDs.


We can clearly see that the speed put up by the S50 Lite are in coherence with the advertised speeds and is performing as expected.

CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that analyses different types of hard drive. Giving sequential benchmark write and read statistics in MB/s. A simple program that is very useful.


A similar scenario is what we are seeing here aswell. 

Anvil Storage Utility

The next test is Anvil Storage Utilities, which is a really great piece of software. The SSD benchmark gives you scores for both read and write as well as a combined score.

 

Identical results yet again in terms of performance aswell as on the IOPS end which is same as that on the specification sheets.  

AS SSD

The AS SSD software determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains five synthetic and three practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are performed without using the operating system caches. In Sequential tests, the program measures the time it takes to read and write a 1 GB file respectively.


With an impressive score of above 5006 points the XPG S50 Lite blazes ahead of any PCIe 3.0 SSD in the market today, including the Copy benchmark which emulates real life performance compromising of miscellaneous data types and sizes.

AIDA64 Extreme Edition v5.97.4600

AIDA64 is one of the best tools out there to check the system stability, error diagnostics and even to validate overclocking.
It has a set of suites for almost every hardware out there including SSD/HDD. So we started of with AIDA64 disk suites.





As we can see that the drive is hitting the advertised speeds and is extremely consistent in read and write activities. This is a very good indications since most drives including the XPG SX8000 tend to fluctuate a lot in the Linear and Random Read tests indicating towards a more solid and consistent performance by the S50 Lite. 

 

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 is specifically designed to stress test the entire system for a variety of daily tasks in an emulated fashion, the test ranges from application load time to daily office and personal tasks such as editing Excel sheets to video conferencing etc. It gives a more thorough insight into the real world performance of the storage drive.

A brilliant performance presented by the S50 Lite yet again with a total score of 6134, where its beating others by a substantial margin! The drive is not only extremely consistent but shows really high speeds.

My Verdict 

ADATA under its XPG lineup always brings something new to the table and the S50 Lite is no exception! The drive performs as advertised and does exactly what's expected making it tick all the right boxes.

The drive is powered by a new quad channel Silicon Motion’s SM2267 controller which is no slouch  at handling the 1TB memory thanks to the 1GB onboard buffer chip. Its speed are not the fastest but are way ahead of the conventional PCIe 3.0 drives and extremely close if not ahead of the more expensive options in the market that are PCIe 4.0 rated and are equipped with a eight channel controller hence not only being costlier but also more power hungry compared to the S50 Lite.

In our tests the drive stayed relatively cool hitting 70°C under full consistent load which is lower than what most PCIe 4.0 SSDs would hit. The drive offers great write speeds but where it really shine is read speeds which in real life means that windows boot up, game load times, anti virus scans and even data retrieval for editing or any other read intensive task would be completed quickly making it one of the best options for gamers and since its XPG lineup its hitting the right market with the right performance.

"With blazing fast speeds and relatively cheap price tag, the XPG S50 Lite offers everything that one can ask for this price. Decent price and high read speeds make the S50 Lite and ideal option for gamers and content creators alike."

Pro - 

  • Affordable Price Tag
  • Blazing fast speed
  • Minimalist Design 
  • Lower operating temperatures 
  • AES 256-bit full-disk encryption
  • 5-year warranty 

Cons - 

  • Slower write speeds

I give it a 9/10 earning our Gold Award

 




Saturday, 27 February 2021

Ant Esports Gamei Gaming Glasses Review

Ant Esports Gamei Gaming Glasses - Another Gimmick or a Game Changer!


If you are an avid gamer or associated with the field then you probably might've heard of a relatively new Gaming accessory on the horizon called Gaming Glasses! As gimmicky as they may sound, gaming glasses are the new thing and they actually do a lot more than just becoming yet another useless gaming accessory cluttering your table.

Gaming glasses work on the basis of filtering out blue light which all the screens emit and can not only tire down your eyes over prolonged exposure be it during gaming, watching movies or simply by working at office. Blue light is also the cause of insomnia so if you game a lot or simply game after a long day at the office then gaming glasses can solve quite a lot of your problems related to eyes aswell as sleep.


Ant Esports a dominant name in the Indian gaming market thanks to it plethora of gaming specific peripherals and components  recently launched their Gamei Gaming Glasses and boy they look much better in person than in those photographs! Coming in a universal fit these glasses are priced in at s 2,000 on their official website and promise to filter out 85% of blue light which is a tall claim to make hence setting my expectations quite high over here. A big shout out to them for sending over a sample to me for review so without any further delay lets dive in and see what these have to offer.

Packaging and Contents


The Ant Esports Gamei Gaming Glasses come in a minimalist yet attractive cardboard box which is laced in the yellow and black color scheme.


The box is made of hard cardboard with branding logos and enough details for the potential customers. Slid out the inner casing and you find the actual glasses carry box along with other accessories like the lens cleaning cloth. The box is nifty and can be easily carried around and is soft and protective inside to avoid any scratches or bumps from hampering with your priced possession.

A Closer Look!


Ant Esports Gamei Gaming Glasses comes in one single, unisex, rectangular lens frame design with a single color option, Yellow! The frame is acrylic, with an integrated bridge for the nose, and slightly springy metal hinges.

Besides white, painted-on Ant Esports logos on the sides, nothing about these glasses screams “gamer;” they simply look like modest, fashionably chunky glasses you might wear anywhere. The lack of any other frame choices is a bit disappointing, though, considering the wealth of options in shapes and materials they could've gone with but since they are the first to do this in India, treading safely in this water is something that I can't blame them for either.



 

On the side you'll find stripes of red accents which is not paint but rubber inserts instead which give them a more premium finish and also impart a nice grip too in-case you plan to use them outside as why not! The textured insert is found on the inner side of the frame too near the ear rest which is good for those who'll take them out for probably biking, trekking etc. 

Let's put them to Test!

So I used the Ant Esports Gamei Gaming Glasses for a couple of days straight putting them through a range of activities which included wearing them at office to gaming with them on or simply taking a walk in the park!

How is it for Gaming?

 

While gaming the glasses did work as they said, I'm not saying anything abut the 85% filtration here but the glasses do comfort the eyes especially if you game in low light. You might think that because these have a yellow filter, they make games look weird. Well, this filter helps the colors pop far more than they usually would.
This is especially good in fast-paced games where color is used to distinguish teammates from enemies. And it’s not just blue light that these glasses reduce – they also take care of a good deal of blur and glare.

Did you say Outdoor use?


Even though these are not intended to be used as an outdoor pair of shades or something to be used during a sport I did use them for my outdoor walks, bike rides and even running on the treadmill and honestly these held on quite well.

The textured rubber inserts work as intended on keeping a decent grip around the head and don't let these fall off even when running. Thanks to the yellow tint the streets at night are starkly visible and can be a boon to someone who rides motorcycles and hates those high beam lights from oncoming traffic hitting their eyes on the highways.

Over all the Gamei Gaming Glasses perform as intended and are not only great for gaming but also for outdoor usage alike. I did find that they tend to chaff the skin a bit behind the ear where they grip the skull but that is probably cuz I have really short hair so if you are like me then be aware of that otherwise the glasses have no issues in terms of performance or  fit.

My Verdict

Ant Esports Gamei Gaming Glasses is a simple, comfortable, well-built pair of glasses. The lenses are clear, the frames are light and sturdy, and the tint cuts a good balance between reducing blue light and keeping colors accurate. The lack of options beyond a single, fairly plain faux-tortoiseshell style acrylic frame and only one color option is disappointing. The comfort level is high but for people with short hair the minor discomfort around the back of the ears over prolonged usage can be an issue so keep that in mind before making your purchase.
If you regularly marathon games, play professionally, or game after working on a computer all day or are simply on a look out for an all rounder pair of glasses that look funky and function as intended then these Gamei glasses from Ant Esports are a worthy pick.

Pros - 

  • Light and comfortable design  
  • Universal fit frame
  • Solid build quality
  • Works as advertised
  • Suitable for gaming and outdoor activities alike

Cons -

  • A bit pricey
  • Only one color option 

I give it a 8/10 earning our Gold Award

 


Saturday, 7 March 2020

Kingston KC2000 500GB SSD Review

The Kingston A1000 M.2 NVMe - Fast, Reliable and revolutionary!


When it comes to storage drives be it larger SSDs or their smallest cousins the memory cards one name always tops the list and has become a household name in the PC industry today, Kingston! Over the year Kingston has dropped in some impressive storage devices spread over a broad area to cater to almost every segment of the market thanks to its HyperX branding that takes care of the 'gaming' division and adds the much needed bling to the products as per the demands hence balancing looks with performance.
Lately what they've lacked in is their prosumer or enthusiast grade storage drives since their top contender the KC1000 is old and dated but don't lose hope guys as Kingston just dropped in their KC2000 on the table and its loaded with the best the IT industry has to offer in terms of both hardware and software.

Priced in at around $115 the KC2000 is a NVMe M.2 drive which is one of the first drives ever to be using the Toshiba BiCS4 96-layer TLC NAND over the conventional 64 layer NAND chips and is paired with the latest Silicon Image SM2262EN controller all working on the PCIe 3.0x4 interface. The drive comes in as low as 250GB and goes all the way upto 2TB which makes this drive a great option for a lot of people out there. Our sample here today is a 500GB version though and is rated at a blistering fast speed of 3000MB/s and 2000MB/s of sequential read and write speeds respectively.

Packaging and Closer Look


Kingston has gone basic and minimalist with the KC2000 when it comes to packaging, its a drive aimed at consumers and businesses alike so  why not. The drive rests safely inside a hard black plastic shell which is inside a clear transparent clam-shell and all of this is housed inside a cardboard pack with all the vital details, specifications and company logos.
I like this approach since it doesn't give the drive any segment specific appeal yet keeps it premium and functional.

Inside you get the drive seated in its own exclusive casing for added protection along with a multilingual warranty card and activation key for the Kingston cloning utility, Acronis True Image HD. Kingston SSD Manager toolbox is also included and is a great move since this product is aimed at professional workloads so having something reliable and from the manufacturer itself for monitoring your drive’s health, updating the firmware, secure erasing and even be able to adjust over-provisioning is a welcome move.

The Kingston KC2000 is a 2280 form factor M.2 drive which uses a dual sided PCB layout with the NAND chips, controller and DRAM chips located on both the sides of this black PCB wafer. The interface here is a PCIe 3.0x4 NVMe 1.3 since PCIe Gen 4.0 isn't common and exists in a very small corner of the industry today so its a wise move to cater to the larger audience without blowing the price out of proportion for many.

The controller here is the 8-channel Silicon Motion SM2262EN controller which is one of the fastest controllers out there today and supports 800 MT/s interface speed and NVMe 1.3 specifications. We have eight Toshiba BiCS4 96-layer TLC NAND chips here and are binned by Kingston itself hence bear the Kingston branding. Each chip is 64GB and there are eight of these in total with four sitting on either side of the PCB.
Two DRAM chips sit here for buffering purposes and are 512MB DDR3L each from Nanya working at 1600Mhz, this indicates higher & constant speeds due to parallelization but we'll find that out in our benchmark section.

Test Setup and Benchmarks

We used our usual testbench to benchmark the Kingston KC2000 500GB NVMe M.2 SSD -

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X @4Ghz
Motherboard: Asus X370 Crosshair VI Hero
RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB 3200Mhz
Cooler: Custom Loop
Graphics Card: Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition
Storage: Kingston A400 256GB
Secondary Storage: Kingston KC2000 500GB NVMe M.2
Power Supply: Cooler Master V1200 1200W
Case: Cooler Master H500M
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

TRIM Check

Since this is a very new SSD for us so it called for some new testing suits aswell, one such tool is TrimCheck which verifies if TRIM function on the drive is working perfectly or not.

The test shows that TRIM is working perfectly on the SSD.

Crystal Disk Info v8.3

Crystal Disk Info is a great tool for displaying the characteristics and health of storage devices. It displays everything from temperatures, to the number of hours the device has been powered, and even to the extent of informing you of the firmware of the device.

Crystal Disk Info shows us that a bunch of useful SMART attributes are presented to the end user. Total reads and writes as well as NAND writes are shown. The firmware version we are testing with today is version S2780101 with the drive working at optimum temperatures even during summers. 

ATTO Disk

ATTO Disk Benchmark measures transfer rates across specific lengths for any storage system. ATTO uses RAW data, I set my transfer size from 0.5 to 8192kb. This is generally the most reliable benchmarks for today's SSDs.

We can clearly see that the speed put up by the KC2000 are way faster than a conventional NVMe M.2 drive and is a perfect match to the advertised speeds on the spec sheet.

CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that analyses different types of hard drive. Giving sequential benchmark write and read statistics in MB/s. A simple program that is very useful.

A similar scenario is what we are seeing here aswell.

Anvil Storage Utility

The next test is Anvil Storage Utilities, which is a really great piece of software. The SSD benchmark gives you scores for both read and write as well as a combined score.

Identical results yet again in terms of performance aswell as on the IOPS end which is same as that on the specification sheets.

AS SSD

The AS SSD software determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains five synthetic and three practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are performed without using the operating system caches. In Sequential tests, the program measures the time it takes to read and write a 1 GB file respectively.

With an impressive score of above 3500 points the KC2000 blazes ahead of the competition in every suit here including the Copy benchmark which emulates real life performance compromising of miscellaneous data types and sizes.

AIDA64 Extreme Edition v5.97.4600

AIDA64 is one of the best tools out there to check the system stability, error diagnostics and even to validate overclocking.
It has a set of suites for almost every hardware out there including SSD/HDD. So we started of with AIDA64 disk suites.

As we can see that the drive is hitting the advertised speeds and is extremely consistent in read and write activities. This is a very good indications since most drives including the XPG SX8000 tend to fluctuate a lot in the Linear and Random Read tests indicating towards a more solid and consistent performance by the KC2000.

HD Tune Pro

HD Tune Pro is one of the most popular hard drive software suites available. It has many different benchmarks and tests built into it. Our first test is the read benchmark, which tests the average read speed and access time of the drive.
It was necessary to use it even after so many tests just to give all of you a graph of how constant the speed is on this SSD as many SSDs tend to fluctuate on the read/write speed which ultimately gives you unstable performance.

A brilliant performance presented by the KC2000 yet again where its beating others by a substantial margin! The drive is not only extremely consistent but shows really high speeds.

My Verdict

Kingston always brings something new to the table with every product telling a unique story and the KC2000 is no different. The drive is aimed at the future and uses Toshiba 96 layer TLC NAND and a competitive 8 channel SM2262EN controller.
In my tests we saw exact speeds as advertised which is great since I run multiple cycles of the same test and a drive which is aimed at business owners and servers should give consistent speeds if not the best speed which the Kingston KC2000 delivers fantastically.
The driver supports elf-encryption using 256-bit AES hardware based encryption technique which is required for end to end data protection hence it makes this drive a good option for professional use especially in small to medium servers.
The speeds are consistent but not the best as per the data of some other drives which are priced equal or even higher to the KC2000 but the bright side is that the drive is 300TBW rated hence its reliability and sustainability can't be questioned even at such high speeds hence making it perfect for what it is meant and advertised for that is professional use like workstation builds and servers.
"With high speed performance paired with nifty little inbuild technologies such as self encryption the Kingston KC2000 is a perfect choice for anyone who's either looking for a high speed drive for their business machines or simply anyone who values sustained and consistent performance"
Pros - 

  • Solid and Stable performance 
  • Comes with in-build security features and supports
  • High endurance 
  • Five Years Warranty 
Cons - 
  • A bit pricey
I give it a 8/10 earning our Gold Award