Internals, Testing Methodology and System Setup


The front was uneventful, but the rear shows that a different PCB layout is used for the 512GB and higher models (2TB model will have packages installed at the rear).

Being M.2 SSDs, there is not much to take apart, but I can peel back a label or two for us to take a peek:

I only removed the label from the 512GB capacity as that one had completed testing at the time this photo was taken. I generally try to not disturb these labels as they contain a copper layer and disturbing the adhesive as originally applied may impact thermal performance.

To fill in some of the gaps not easily discernable from the above pictures, the 128GB model has a single NAND package installed, and the 128GB and 256GB both have a single package of DDR installed. The 512GB capacities, along with the different PCB design, actually push the NAND packages closer to the edge of the PCB to make room for the additional RAM / different RAM orientation.

The controller at play here is the Silicon Motion 2262 (datasheet). This is one of SMI's newer 8-channel PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe controllers, and as they are known for, Intel has customized the firmware to meet their own stringent quality control and testing specifications.

Testing Methodology

Our tests are a mix of synthetic and real-world benchmarks. IOMeter, HDTach, HDTune, Yapt and our custom File Copy test round out the selection to cover just about all bases. We have developed a custom test suite as off-the-shelf tests just no longer cut it for in-depth storage testing. More details on the next page. If you have any questions about our tests just drop into the Storage Forum and we'll help you out!

Test System Setup

We have several storage testbeds. A newer ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt and a Gigabyte Z170X SOC Force (for RAID testing). Future PCIe and SATA device testing, including this review, take place on an ASUS Sabertooth X99, which comes equipped with USB 3.1, M.2, and can also handle SFF-8639 (U.2) devices with the proper adapter.

PC Perspective would like to thank Intel, ASUS, Gigabyte, Corsair, Kingston, and EVGA for supplying some of the components of our test rigs. 

Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7 5820K @ 4.125 GHz
Motherboard ASUS Sabertooth X99
Memory 16GB Micron DDR4 @ 3333
Hard Drive G.Skill 32GB SLC SSD
Sound Card N/A
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 750
Video Drivers GeForce Game Ready Driver 347.88
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version N/A
Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro X64 (update)
  • PCPer File Copy Test
  • HDTach
  • HDTune
  • IOMeter
  • YAPT
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