ZOTAC T400 2.5" 120GB SATA III SSD Review

On: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 Comment: 0 Hit: 1243

We review ZOTAC's entry level SSD, the T400 120GB, and see how well it performs under different test conditions.

Introduction

When it comes to storing data on PCs, the market is filled with variety of options and media. I remember the days back in 90s when having an HDD of 1GB was phenomenal. We have come from those days to the days where even 1TB is considered run of the mill. My personal rig has 6TB HDD from Western Digital while my very first PC had 540MB disk. Not only has the capacity of  storage media increased manifold but also the cost per GB has drastically been reduced, though certain technologies are still considered expensive.

Recent technological advancements have done miracles for the consumer, prosumer and enterprise sector. With the focus on high speeds and lower response times, there came a revolutionary storage medium which we all now know of as Solid State Drive or SSD. While our traditional HDD (Hard Disk Drive) is based on electro-mechanical magnetic disks, SSDs are electronic disks. The physical size of the SSD is much smaller than the traditional HDD. Unlike HDDs, SSDs don’t have any mechanical parts. Hence SSDs don’t spin, which make them more shock resistant, silent, lighter with a much lower response time.

SSDs utilize NAND based flash memory. This is a non-volatile memory which retains or keep the data when the power is lost. As data is being stored electrically (flash memory) without the involvement of any head movement disk rotation, we tend to get much higher data transfer speeds. Currently there are three types of flash memory: TLC (Triple-level Cell), MLC (Multi-level Cell), and  SLC (Single-level Cell). TLC and MLC are the most common flash memory in regular SSDs as they are cost effective however they are slower than SLC implementation. The most critical component in the SSD is its controller which is responsible for handling critical operations like caching, block mapping, error detection etc.

While SSDs seem to have only pros and no cons, there are some pitfalls as well. The most significant and probably the only important one is the high cost per GB across the SSDs. To put it in perspective, a 120GB SSD may cost the same as that of 1TB HDD. To take a practical example, the ZOTAC 120GB SSD is priced at Rs.5,999, while the Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD is priced at Rs.5,799. The per GB cost for the SSD is Rs.50 whereas it is only Rs.5.56 per GB for the HDD. Rest, I will leave it to the readers to interpret the per GB comparison. But, bear in mind for such blazing high speeds, this price can be overlooked. Many users put the combination of the SSD and HDD that would make up for the high prices by installing operating system on the SSD while the regular data on the HDD.

ZOTAC was established in 2006 under the umbrella of PC Partner (HSI: 1263) with focus on Original Mini PC, ZBOX. ZOTAC derives its name from the words "zone" and "tact", aptly referencing to their skill & expertise in the zones of PC components, systems, and manufacturing. Combining both function and design, ZOTAC strives to create the latest technological products that epitomize form, utility, and style. Besides Mini PC, ZOTAC is manufacturing graphics card and SSDs. ZOTAC is an AIB partner of the NVIDIA.

Today, I’ll be reviewing their entry level SSD, the ZOTAC T400. Let’s have a look at the specifications of the SSD.

Specifications

Model No

ZTSSD-S11-120G-P

Series

T400

Form Factor

2.5”

Interface

SATA III 6.0 Gb/s

Flash Type

TLC

DRAM Cache

32MB Internal SDR

Capacity

120GB

Sequential Read

Up to 550MB/s

Sequential Write

Up to 450MB/s

Power Consumption

Read: 1.280W

Write: 1.830W

Idle 0.285W

Thickness

7mm

Supported OS

Windows/Linux/Mac OS

MTBF

2,000,000 hours

Min Storage Temperature

-40 °F

Max Storage Temperature

185 °F

Min Operating Temperature

32 °F

Max Operating Temperature

158 °F

Compliant Standard

S.M.A.R.T

Dimensions

7mm x 69.85mm x 100mm (H x W x D)

Weight

40 gm

Warranty

Limited 3 Years

Features

Low Power Management

SmartRefresh

SmartECC

Static and Dynamic Wear Leveling

Bad Block Management

TRIM

S.M.A.R.T

 

Packing

The SSD comes in a white and yellow colored cardboard box. On the front, we have ZOTAC printed on the top left corner. 2.5” SATA III 6Gbps SSD is printed on the top right corner. Picture of the SSD is printed on the right side. Capacity and the model no are printed left of the picture. Salient specifications are printed below the capacity. Bottom side has yellow color on it. Warranty and features of the SSD are printed there.

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

The backside of the box has ZOTAC printed on the top left corner and 2.5” SATA III 6Gbps SSD printed on the top right corner. An intro of the SSD is printed in the middle. Box contents info is printed below the intro. UAN, EPC and other labels are printed on the bottom right side of the box. Company contact info is printed on the bottom left side.

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

Inside the main packing box, we have a black color plastic container for the SSD and the quick installation guide.

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

 

Design

The top of the SSD is plain and simple. We have a black color on the SSD frame. ZOTAC Solid State Drive is printed on the center in white color.

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

The backside of the SSD has a single large white background label. SKU, Part No and label are mentioned on the top side. ZOTAC brand name, storage capacity of the SSD, Series of the SSD are printed on the center. Other crucial info are printed on the bottom side. Removing this cover would void the warranty of the SSD.

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

This SSD has sequential read and write speeds of up to 550MB/s and 450MB/s using SATA III 6Gbps. It has important features like Trim, S.M.A.R.T, ECC, Wear Leveling, Block Handling as mentioned in the specifications. All these functions are controlled by its controller. We have a 7 pin serial ATA connection type. I did not open the SSD due to constraints by the source hence I can’t confirm the NAND and controller manufacturers.

Test Build

Following test build was used to measure the performance of the SSD:

  • Intel i7 7700k
  • Asus Maximus IX Code
  • Corsair Vengeance 4x8GB @ 2666MHz RED LED
  • ZOTAC T400 120GB SSD
  • Thermaltake ToughPower DPS-G RGB 750W PSU

Microsoft Windows 10 x64 Pro was used for the testing.

Following software were used to measure the performance:

  • CrystalDiskMark
  • ATTO
  • AS SSD
  • PCMark Storage
  • Anvil’s Storage Utility

 

Performance

Majority of the disk bench software measure the speed of the give storage drives in terms of data transfer rate using sequential, random access reads and writes. Hence, higher value is preferable. Some software also check the latency or access time in which case, lower value is preferable. Let’s have a look at the bench scores. When you look at the below pictures showing the bench scores, bear in mind that for data transfer rates, higher value is better and for access times, lower value is better.

CrystalDiskMark is a de facto standard for measuring the reading and writing speed of various storage media such as HDD, SSD, USB memory, SD card, NAS. Its greatest feature is its simplicity. Since the functions are narrowed down only to the measurement of the storage medium, the measurement can be executed instantly with just one click. In addition, since the measurement result is not the software's own score, but it is displayed with the actual measurement value which divided sequential and random, even a beginner can easily understand.

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

ATTO has created an easy to use, widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware utility to help measure storage system performance. Disk Benchmark identifies performance in hard drives, solid state drives, RAID arrays as well as connections to storage which allows you to tune your storage system performance.

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

The AS SSD benchmark measures the performance of SSD by using 6 synthetic and 3 copy tests. AS SSD does not use the system’s cache while testing. Seq-test is carried out with 1GB of data for read and write operations.

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

Next is a copy test from the AS SSD.

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

Next up is a compression test from the AS SSD.

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

Use the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognised storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

Anvil's Storage Utilities is a powerful tool that was designed in order to provide you with a simple means of assessing the read and writer performance of your Solid State Drive or Hard Disk Drive. The benchmark tool helps you monitor and check the response time of your unit as well as view the system information collected using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI).

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

Windows load time as checked in the Windows 10’s Taskbar was 9.9 seconds using the ZOTAC’s T400 120GB SSD as a boot drive.

ZOTAC T400 120GB SATA III SSD in Pakistan

 

Conclusion

ZOTAC is known for their powerful graphics cards. Their SSDs are not behind the same impression. I’ve tested their T400 series 120GB SSD implemented using TLC memory with SATA III 6Gbps interface. As described above in the introduction section, TLC/MLC are slower than SLC but their lower cost make them ideal for storage implementation as user would still get more speed than traditional spindle disk. To be honest, speed variation from SSD to SSD based on memory, controller and interface type is hidden to the naked eye and only be realized when using synthetic benchmark or real time applications. Content creators would definitely be benefited from high speed SSDs than lower speed ones.
T400 120GB SSD is priced at $55 / PKR 5,999. Although currently SSD prices are on the higher side, their performance makes them definitely worth it especially if you are speed conscious and require higher transfer rates. Given the fact how other 120GB SSDs are priced at PKR 5,999, ZOTAC T400 120GB SSD comes highly recommended from my side.

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