PCIe 4 is the hot development in computer tech right now and the biggest place to experience it for yourself is with NVMe storage. While prior generations were limited to 3500 MB/s, roughly, drives like the Silicon Power US70 offer maximum read speeds of 5,000 MB/s — that’s 5 gigabytes a second. Coming in at only $179, it’s also one of the cheapest Gen 4 SSDs on the market today. Is it finally time to make the most out of that shiny new chipset and pick up a fourth-generation drive? Join us as we find out.
- Current Price: Available on Amazon
- 1TB: $179.99
- 2TB: $389.99
- Capacity: 1TB, 2TB
- Interface: PCIe Gen 4x4
- Performance Read(max.): up to 5,000 MB/s
- Performance Write(max.): up to 4,400 MB/s
- 1TB: 1800TBW
- 2TB: 3600TBW
- MTBF (est): 1,700,000 hours
- Operating Temperature: 0°C - 70°C
- Shock Resistance Test: 1500G/0.5ms
- Dimensions: 22.0mm x 80.0mm x 3.5mm
- Weight: 8g
- Warranty: 5 years
- Certification: CE, FCC, BSMI, Green dot, WEEE, RoHS, KCC
- System Requirement: Computer with M.2 slots supporting PCIe interface and one of the following operating systems: Windows 8.1 or Windows 10
The Silicon Power US70 is out to make a splash. Right from the get-go, is plainly apparent that this is the company’s competitive swing to pull the spotlight onto itself and give competitors a run for their money. While Gen 3 SSDs are a dime a dozen these days, PCIe Gen 4 drives are much lesson common and are typically much more expensive. Case and point: the cheapest 1TB PCIe Gen 4 drive on Newegg begins at $193.99. From there, prices quickly jump to $199 and $249. The US70 is $179. At the 2TB, things are a little more even, but then, I think it’s safe to say that 1TB is where the volume is at. Undercutting the competition there is an outstanding way to make a Gen 4 debut.
Now, before you rush out and buy a new drive, you’ll need to be sure that your PC supports it. If you have Intel or anything other than an X570 or B550 board from Team Red, stop now because you’ll be limited to Gen 3 speeds. That said, if you can support it, read on, because it’s a limited landscape and, as we established, Silicon Power is out to impress.
Speed isn’t everything with an SSD, even if it is the biggest highlight. Reliability and security are also key — and if you’re using it as a daily driver, the last thing you want is for it to fail and to lose your data. The US70 offers some solid peace of mind with a generous endurance rating of 1,800 TBW for the 1TB version and 3600 TBW for the 2TB version. That’s 986GB a day, every day, for five years at 1TB and twice at 2TB. Even if you’re a power user, you’re not likely to run out that lifespan. If you do, Silicon Power also offers a generous 5-year warranty that’s on-par with Samsung or Crucial.
The US70 also features a suite of other reliability-enhancing features, including Wear Leveling, Bad Block Management (BBM), and Over Provisioning. The first two go hand in hand, equalizing the wear across the memory cells. Bad Block Management then detects bad cells and marks them to prevent any data being written to them. Over Provisioning, on the other hand, allows the drive to maintain more reserved space, further reducing wear.
Returning to speed, this drive promises maximum read and write speeds of 5,000 MB/s and 4,400 MB/s. This falls in the neighborhood of other PCIe Gen 4x4 drives, but as we’ve seen, even on Gen 4, real world results can vary widely. The US70 makes use of a SLC buffering and an undisclosed amount of DRAM cache to provide high transfer speeds.
That’s the breakdown, now let’s see how it performed.
Test System: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X CPU, Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master Motherboard, NZXT Kraken X72, G.Skill TridentZ Royal DDR4-3600MHz 16GB DRAM Kit, Corsair HX-1050 1050 Watt Power Supply.
To test the drive, I used our standard tools, ATTO and CrystalDiskMark, as well as complete a file transfer of a Skyrim directory to assess real-world, large scale copy/paste application. I also completed load time assessments in a variety of MMORPGs where large amounts of data would need to be loaded in. These are first time loads with no caching.
Beginning with ATTO, this synthetic benchmark is used to cross-check manufacturer’s claims about speed. It’s a synthetic test that provides a “best-case scenario” for possible transfer speeds using sequential data that the drive is able to anticipate. The US70 dominated the results here, even compared against the Gigabyte AORUS Gen4 SSD.
Next, we move on to CrystalDiskMark. This is still a synthetic assessment but comes closer to real-world speeds thanks to its barrages of random data. It is very common to see speeds drop off some here. For sequential speeds, the US70 is again a winner — in read speeds, and is very close in sequential writes. This is likewise the case for Q32 random transfers. Pushed to its limit in a Q1T1 random test, which prevents the drive from “anticipating” upcoming data, it did fall short, however.
File Transfer Test
Synthetics are great, but real-world performance is where the rubber meets the road. To test that, we perform a transfer between drives of roughly equal capability (in this case, the WD Black P50) and copy/paste a large Skyrim directory, complete with many mods. This is another win for the US70.
Game Load Times
Finally, we come to game load times. As we’ve experienced in the past, game load time improvements don’t scale well with the increasing speed of NVMe SSDs. The conclusion, as ever, is “get an SSD,” but if all you’re interested in is improved load times and nothing else, there are cheaper ways to achieve that end than the cutting edge of SSD storage.
The Silicon Power US70 surprised me. The brand has always performed well in my experience, but the US70 is one of the most competitive drives I’ve yet seen from them, and its competitive pricing makes it one of the best choices If you’re looking for an ultra-fast internal SSD, this is simply an outstanding choice.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.