Silicon Power certainly has been on a roll of late. Recently we reviewed their 2TB capacity version of the UD70 series and walked away very impressed. Impressed not in the sheer performance it offers but in the sheer value it offers. As cracking the ten cents per Gigabyte barrier is quite the accomplishment for any NVMe drive. However, the one thing that it lacked was performance (by late 2020 standards). While more than ‘good enough’ for most and certainly a great choice for those interested in their first every NVMe drive the UD70 certainly will never be compared to the various Phison E16 + BiCS 4 NAND wielding drives now available. That however, is where the second round in Silicon Power’s ongoing salvo enters the equation: the US70. Today we will be looking at this high performance NVMe series, specifically the 1TB capacity version to see what it brings to the table.
Unlike the UD70, the US70 (a model name which is sure to sow confusion amongst inexperienced buyers) is a high performance PCIe 4.0 x4 based model that makes use of the Phison PS5016-E16 (aka ‘E16’) controller. In a move that will shock no one, Silicon Power now pairs this controller with BiCS 4 / Toggle Mode 3 TLC NAND from Toshiba/Kioxia, and not QLC NAND like the UD70 series. Also unsurprisingly, this E16 + BiCS 4 TLC NAND combination is backed not by 512MB of Kingston DDR3L-1600 Ram Cache IC, instead the US70 has two SKhynix 512MB DDR4 2400 RAM ICs. Furthermore, and also unlike the UD70 2TB which (sadly now) has a TDW rating (as they closed the loop hole) of 530TB Total Bytes Written rating, the US70 1TB comes with a 1800TB TBW. So yeah… one ‘little letter difference’ in the model makes a massive difference.
On its own none of this sounds terribly exciting as this combination should sound eerily familiar… because it is very familiar. Many are using it. For example, the recently reviewed Seagate FireCuda 520 1TB uses this exact same configuration. That is because – right now – the Phison E16 controller is basically the only game in town for PCIe 4.0 NVMe controller goodness… unless your name is Samsung. However, one thing that those others have not focused in on to the same extent as Silicon Power is value. This is actually the main claim to fame of the US70 series and Silicon Power hopes to do to the enthusiast marketplace what the UD70 brought to the mainstream market.
While it is true that the US70 may not even come close to breaking the ten cents barrier like its little brother the US70-series, it does break the 20 cents per GB barrier. In fact, with an Manufactures Suggested Retail Price of $189.99 (USD) the 1TB capacity version of the UD70 costs exactly twice that of the 2TB US70 model… but 19 cents per Gigabyte is a heck of bargain by enthusiasts’ standards. To put that in perspective, the Seagate FireCuda 520 1TB, the Corsair MP600 1TB (another E16), Gigabytes Aorus latest and greatest (also E16 based) all have real-world asking price of about $210(ish). That makes the Silicon Power US70 1TB nearly ten percent less costly. Less costly… and yet uses the same components, and comes with the same 5 year / 1800TB warranty. On paper that certainly sounds like one heck of a bargain.