Today we are taking a look at the HP EX900 Plus 1TB NVMe SSD. This review has been a long time coming for me, as prior to getting into the SSD review business I have used multiple HP EX900 and EX920 class SSDs in my personal and professional life based on the reviews they received from other publications. Now I get the chance to look at one myself and I am excited to see how it stacks up.
HP EX900 Plus 1TB NVMe SSD
The HP EX900 Plus 1TB comes in a single-sided M.2 2280 (80mm) form factor.
The EX900 Plus is powered by the InnoGrit IG5216 controller. We have previously taken a look at a pair of drives using InnoGrit controllers, but they were the higher end PCIe 4.0 controllers, so this will be my first experience with one of their PCIe 3.0 controllers. The IG5216 is designed for DRAM-less operation and implements Host Memory Buffer (HMB) to offset the lack of a DRAM cache. The controller itself is rated for 3400 MB/s read and 3000 MB/s write; normally I would not quote raw controller specifications, so you can read a bit of foreshadowing into that statement. Based on looking up the silkscreen markings on the NAND packages, the EX900 Plus appears to be equipped with Micron 64-layer TLC, but that is more of an educated guess than a confirmed fact. More on that in the post-cache write speed area of the review.
The other side of the drive has nothing except a strangely thick label containing the HP logo. It is so thick I thought it might contain a thin strip of metal as a heat-spreader, but upon investigation, it is just a label.
HP EX900 Plus Specs
The HP EX900 Plus line of SSDs are supposedly available between 128GB and 2TB capacities, though I could only find the 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB models available online.
Normally, right here is where you would find a picture of the spec sheet for the HP EX900 line of drives. I tend to pull that spec sheet from the web page for the drive, or from a product brochure, or some other type of promotional media. The HP EX900 Plus, however, is virtually a ghost in online media. I could not find a listing for it on HP’s website, nor much of anything really referencing the drive, and even the retail box for the drive does not list performance specifications. Prior to opening up the retail box, the closest I can find to specs are what is listed on retailer sites; both Amazon and Newegg list 3300 MB/s read speed and 2700 MB/s write. After opening the drive, I discovered that it came with a paper quick start guide, and that guide contains some printed specifications.
Included this way is better than nothing, but it certainly makes researching an informed purchasing decision harder. Interestingly enough, what is listed online also does not match what is printed in the guide; the printed guide claims slightly faster performance at 3400 MB/s read and 2900 MB/s write. If the EX900 Plus manages to hit these performance numbers it should qualify as a high-performance PCIe 3.0 drive.
Also included only in the quick start guide are the endurance specs. At only 400 TBW for the 1TB drive is definitely on the low end. While 400 TBW is a lower number than most of the drives I review, for a standard consumer use case scenario it should still be reasonable. With that said, the relatively low endurance is another point that has me wondering whether this drive is actually equipped with QLC NAND.
Lastly, the warranty is listed at 5 years. HP’s previous SSDs the EX900 and EX920 were only warranted for 3 years, so seeing the better 5-year warranty is encouraging.
CrystalDiskInfo can give us some basic information about the SSD, and confirms we are operating at PCIe 3.0 x4 speeds using NVMe 1.4. Interestingly enough the printed spec sheet says NVMe 1.3, so make of that what you will.
Test System Configuration
We are using the following configuration for this test:
- Motherboard: ASUS PRIME X570-P
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X (12C/24T)
- RAM: 2x 16GB DDR4-3200 UDIMMs
Our testing uses the HP EX900 Plus 1TB as the boot drive for the system, installed in the M.2_1 slot on the motherboard. The drive is filled to 85% capacity with data and then some is deleted, leaving around 60% used space on the volume.
Next, we are going to get into our performance testing.