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ZOTAC Sonix PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 480 GB SSD Review

  1. About the ZOTAC Sonix PCIe NVMe Drive…
  2. Observations and Impressions…
  3. Test Setup and Methodology
  4. Anvil Benchmarks
  5. AS SSD Benchmark
  6. ATTO Benchmark
  7. CrystalDisk Mark Benchmark
  8. Futuremark Benchmarks
  9. IO Testing
  10. Access Test
  11. Conclusion
  12. Online Purchase Links
  13. View All

If you see certain benchmarks such as ATTO and CrystalDisk, it well exceeds or meets the advertised speeds. In come cases, the load times are a little bit lower than its SATA counterparts. But not in other cases. Weird! Despite the combination of sequential/random compressible and incompressible test data created by benchmarks, the difference in performance is very unrelatable.

The State of Drivers: Microsoft Vs. Phison NVMe Drivers

While this isn’t the 10th-anniversary edition, the ZOTAC Sonix isn’t old, nor is the Phison P5007-E7 processing unit. The Sonix is also tested on a soon-to-arrive platform so it should be interesting to see if there’s any performance difference with the current state of drivers. The Windows 10 performance feels underwhelming. After a quick search, you get to know that Zotac managed to grab this controller well earlier than before. I am not sure how old this driver this, but the difference in performance is no different than that of Microsoft’s default NVMe drivers. In both conditions, write caching is enabled while write-cache buffer is disabled:

The state of Phison E7 Firmware

Zotac is the one selling a PCIe card with this controller. Phison really needs to roll out the Windows 10 driver and firmware. The controller maker did showcase FW 2.1 with some of the M.2 and PCIe-based engineering samples, but I don’t think it has shown any light. CrystalDisk Info screenshot reveals Sonix uses E7’s 1.0 firmware. How much time would they need?

While Phison’s driver manages to pull a bit more sequential read performance, other differences are negligible. Zotac labeled its driver update as, but there’s no firmware update provided. The mention of its release date would have helped.

The Definition of Hot

There’s also the definition of ‘hot’ for PCIe storage cards. While 60 degrees celsius on load is high for a SATA-based SSD, I am not too convinced the same applies for PCIe alternatives. In any case, the load temperatures did not exceed 59- 60 degrees celsius.

The Price: Performance

India US UK
?  £391.86

The Sonix is a very expensive card just like other PCIe storage units. The main issue is the lack of Windows 10 driver and optimized firmware. Unlike Intel, Zotac relies on third parties for controllers and NAND chips. So Zotac’s end product is at the mercy of the drivers. I would like to see the performance improvements as seen in ‘preview’ writeups on other websites, but nothing is fixed until drivers and firmware are provided.

  • All-metal casing
  • Low profile single slot design
  • Adequate cooling and ventilation
  • Can exceed marketed numbers with ATTO and CrystalDisk Mark
  • No Windows 10 drivers
  • No Phison FW 2.1 firmware public release

The availability of this Sonix drive is scarce at Amazon, while the ‘just like new’ condition units are sold for $275.

ZOTAC Sonix PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 480 GB SSD Review from hardware

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