Today we are taking a look at the Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 500GB SSD. This is a premium drive from Sabrent featuring PCIe 4.0 x4 connectivity, the Phison E16 controller, a DRAM cache, and TLC NAND. This is the second PCIe 4.0 SSD we have looked at in our new series of SSD reviews, previously looking at the 1TB version of this drive before I came onboard at STH.
Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 500GB Overview
The Rocket NVMe 4.0 500GB comes in a double-sided M.2 2280 (80mm) form factor.
Hidden beneath the drive label is a thin copper heat spreader to help keep the drive cool. Additionally, our review unit included a heatsink that is recommended for use when the drive is operating at PCIe 4.0 speeds. All tests are performed with the heatsink attached, though we will also test thermal performance without the heatsink to see if it is truly necessary.
The back has a label with additional product information and half the NAND. As these modules are not intended for servers with sync writes, there is no power loss protection (PLP.) You can read a bit more about why PLP is important in some server workloads in our piece What is the ZFS ZIL SLOG and what makes a good one. That looks at a specific case but has a few diagrams and an explanation around what goes on with these drives when they do and do not have PLP.
Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 Software Bundle
The Rocket NVMe 4.0 500GB includes three pieces of software available for download.
Sabrent Sector Size Converter
This utility does what its name implies and lets you convert the drive’s sector size between 512e and 4Kn.
While interesting, most users will never have a need for it since most software is able to handle either sector size these days.
Sabrent Control Panel
Another utility Sabrent has is its Control Panel.
This utility gives access to some very basic information from the SSD as well as provides a mechanism for firmware updates.
Acronis True Image
The drive also comes with Acronis True Image which is well-known drive cloning and backup software. For consumer installations, software like this can make migrating to a new SSD a much easier process.
Rocket NVMe 4.0 Specs
The Rocket NVMe 4.0 line of TLC based SSDs has 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities available.
Since we are looking at the smallest drive in the line, performance and endurance will naturally be on the lower end due to how controller channels are populated.
The advertised specs are very similar to our recently reviewed Seagate Firecuda 520 500GB drive, with identical 5000MB/s read speeds, 2500MB/s write speeds, and 850TBW endurance. This makes sense, as the two drives also share the same controller in the Phison E16. As with the Seagate, this puts the Rocket NVMe 4.0 500GB drive in the interesting position of having read speeds that push well above what PCIe 3.0 drives can handle but write speeds that do not. Larger drives have faster-rated write performance, and buyers seeking high performance write characteristics should choose appropriately as a result.
CrystalDiskInfo can give us some basic information about the SSD, and confirms we are operating at PCIe 4.0 x4 speeds using NVMe 1.3.
Test System Configuration
We are using the following configuration for this test:
- Motherboard: ASUS PRIME X570-P
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (6C/12T)
- RAM: 2x 16GB DDR4 3200 UDIMMs
Our testing uses the Rocket NVMe 4.0 500GB 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 are deleted, leaving around 60% used space on the volume.
Next, we are going to get into our performance testing.