Silicon Power XS70 Review: A Solid PCIe 4.0 SSD

Silicon Power XS70 Review: A Solid PCIe 4.0 SSD


At the current retail price of just $130 for the 1TB capacity, the new Silicon Power XS70 solid-state drive (SSD) continues the affordability trend found in the recent PCIe Gen 4 NVMe drive, including the recently released WD Black SN770.

(The drive will also be available in 2TB and 4TB capacities with currently undisclosed pricing).

And, of course, that’s a good thing. In fact, the only thing not so good about the SSD is in its design, which can be prohibitively thick due to the required heatsink — the drive would run too hot without it.

That said, if you have a desktop computer, or a game console, with enough room on top of the M.2 slot, the XS70 is still an excellent buy. Get it!

Silicon Power XS70 PCIe .0 SSD
With a built-in heat sink, the Silicon Power XS70 is much larger than most standard PCIe 4.0 SSDs.

Silicon Power XPower XS70: A Hot PCIe 4.0 SSD

The XS70 is not the first NVMe SSD from Silicon Power. Before it, there were the A80 and a few others. And there will no doubt be more.

But it’s the first from the company that supports PCIe Gen 4, which has slowly become more of a mainstream standard since early last year, in the place of PCIe 3.0.

The drive will work with ether bus standard, however. All you need is a computer with an NVMe M.2 slot. Well, almost.

While featuring the standard M.2 2280 form factor — which generally signifies a drive that’s 80mm long and 22mm wide — the XS70 is much larger due to the required heartsick.

Silicon Power XS70 vs Crucial P5 Plus
The Silicon Power XS70 is much larger than a standard M.2 2280 SSD, such as this Crucial P5 Plus.

Specifically, the extra hardware causes the whole package to be almost 11mm thick and nearly 25mm wide — a standard 2280 drive is generally no more than 3mm thick. As a result, it will not fit in most, if not all, laptops. But on a desktop, this shouldn’t be a problem.

NVMe SSDs with built-in heatsinks are not new. Like the Samsung 980 Pro or WD Black SN850, many other drives I’ve reviewed have heatsink versions that cost slightly more.

However, the XS70 is the first that likely won’t work if you remove the heatsink. The new drive runs hotter than usual — more below. But for applications without cramped internal spaces, the included heatsink sure is a bonus.

With it, the XS70 is slated to perform consistently well even in an extended operation thanks to the fact it doesn’t need to slow down to cool off, something known as thermal throttling.

By the way, the XS70 belongs to Silicon Power’s Xpower family that gears towards gamers. So it’s engineered to scream speed.

Silicon Power XS70: Hardware specifications

Name Silicon Power XS70
Capacity / Part Number 1TB / SP01KGBP44XS7005
2TB / SP02KGBP44XS7005
4TB / SP04KGBP44XS7005
Form Factors M.2 2280 
with heatsink
24.6mm x 80.0mm x 10.8mm
Weight 1.16 oz (33 g)
Interface PCIe Gen 4×4
PCIe Gen 3 and Gen 2 compatible
Endurance 
(Terabytes Written)
 6,800MB/s
Sequential Read
(up to)
7,300 MB/s
Warranty 5 Years
Release Date February 2022
US Pricing
(at review)
1TB: $130
2TB, 4TB: TBD
Silicon Power XS70’s hardware specifications

Another frill-free PCIe 4.0 SSD

On the inside, the Silicon Power XS70 uses a Phison E18 controller with Micron 176-layer TLC NAND. The drive also includes  DRAM Cache Buffer to improve performance, though Silicon Power doesn’t release specific information on this front.

The company says the XS70 “supports RAID technology and LDPC coding,” meaning it’ll work well in a RAID configuration, where you can use two or more drives to deliver better performance or higher availability. LDPC stands for low-density parity-check, an error-correcting technique used in most modern RAID setups.

Other than that, the Silicon Power XS70 is very much frill-free SSD. It has no hardware encryption, nor does it come with a software dashboard, like those from Samsung or WD, for the user to manage or customize its settings.

Silicon Power XS70 PCIe .0 SSD
The underside of the Silicon Power XS70 PCIe 4.0 SSD

Excellent endurance rating

In return for the lack of features, the Silicon Power XS70 has high endurance ratings.

Specifically, you can write up to 700TB, 1400TB, and 3000TB to its 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities, respectively. This rating is more than double that of previous PCIe 4.0 SSDs, including the WD Black SN850 and Samsung 980 Pro.

However, the drive shares the same 5-year warranty as the other two SSDs, so in the end, they are about the same in terms of guaranteed longevity. In other words, beyond five years, you’re on your own.

Nonetheless, the high rating means the drive will potentially last much longer than its peers, especially for users who write a lot to their drives.

Specifically, if you write some 100GB per day and every day to the 1TB version, you’ll have to do that for 30 years before you can wear it out. 100GB is equivalent to streaming some ten 4K movies.

Silicon Power XS70 PCIe .0 SSD
The Silicon Power XS70’s heatsink is attached securely to the drive.

Silicon Power XS70: Interestingly fast performance

I tested a 1TB Silicon Power XS70 with both PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 3.0 and, unlike all previous SSDs, it wasn’t consistently faster in the former case.

Silicon Power XS70 PCIe .0 SSD Copy Performance
The Silicon Power XS70 PCIe 4.0 SSD’s copy performance

While the drive was decidedly faster with PCIe 4.0 in copy test, where it ranked among the top NVMe drives, in certain random access tests, it performed better with PCIe 3.0.

Silicon Power XS70 PCIe .0 SSD Random Access Performance 4kSilicon Power XS70 PCIe .0 SSD Random Access Performance

Silicon Power XS70’s random access performance: The SSD might be faster in a PCIe 3.0 computer, depending on the applications.

Specifically, in tests with 4K chunks of data, the drive clearly benefited from PCIe 4.0. However, the SSD was faster with the same test but with 64 queue depth (4K-64Thrd) with a computer running PCIe 3.0.

In either case, though, the XS70 was plenty fast, so this discrepancy wasn’t a huge issue. It only means that you should get it even when you have an older computer.

What was consistent was the fact the drive did run hot. Even with the heatsink, it was hot enough to make me feel a bit uncomfortable when resting my finger on it for longer than a few seconds.

Silicon Power XS70 PCIe .0 SSD
Here’s the Silicon Power XS70 PCIe 4.0 SSD doing what it can do best in a gaming rig.

It’s safe to say you shouldn’t use this drive without the heatsink, which you can’t remove easily from the look of it. It seems possible, but you might risk danging the SSD during the process.

Silicon Power XS70 PCIe .0 SSD

Pros

Fast performance with up to 4TB of capacity

High endurance with competitive pricing

Cons

Bulky, no non-heatsink version

No security or any user-accessible features

Conclusion

The bulky design aside, figuratively and literally, the Silicon Power XS70 is a hot SSD.

Silicon Power XS70 PCIe .0 SSD
The Silicon Power XS70 PCIe 4.0 SSD’s retail box

For the most part, it’s an excellent deal for those wanting a fast, heatsink-ready NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD to put inside their desktop computer for a game console. But laptop users need not apply.

While lacking some features — most are unrelated to gaming or day-to-day computing — the drive has everything one would want in a high-performance SSD. And the included heatsink sure and high endurance rating are bonuses.

That said, get one today, or maybe even two if your machine allows for RAID.



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