Team Group Cardea Zero Z44Q 2 TB Review 2

Team Group Cardea Zero Z44Q 2 TB Review



Team Group Logo

Team Group is a well-known Taiwanese hardware manufacturer with a long history of catering to the needs of enthusiasts and gamers from all over the globe. Their lineup includes DRAM memory and solid-state drives, and they also offer various memory cards and USB thumb drives.

Today, we have for review the Team Group Cardea Zero Z44Q. Going by the number "4" and the letter "Q," you probably already have an idea what this SSD is about—PCI-Express 4.0 with QLC NAND flash. PCI-Express 4.0 doubles the theoretical bandwidth over PCI-Express Gen 3, which could help make up some of the deficits of the slower QLC NAND. Under the hood, the Cardea Zero Z44Q uses a Phison E16 controller, which we've seen on drives like the Gigabyte PCIe 4.0 SSD, Seagate FireCuda 520, and Corsair MP600 Core. The former drives are all based on TLC NAND flash, but the Z44Q uses QLC flash instead. We've reviewed the same hardware combination a few weeks ago (Sabrent Rocket Q4). The flash chips are Micron 96-layer QLC, pretty much the market-dominating QLC available at this time. Two DDR4-2666 DRAM chips provide 2 GB of memory for the mapping tables of the SSD.

The Team Group Cardea Zero Z44Q comes in capacities of 2 TB ($310) and 4 TB ($650). Endurance for these models is set to 400 TBW and 800 TBW respectively. Team Group includes a five-year warranty with the Cardea Zero Z44Q. Unlike the Sabrent Rocket Q4, a heatsink is bundled at no additional cost.

Specifications: Team Group Cardea Zero Z44Q 2 TB SSD
Brand:Team Group
Capacity:2000 GB (1863 GB usable)
48 GB additional overprovisioning
Controller:Phison PS5012-E16
Flash:Micron 96-layer 3D QLC
DRAM:2x 1 GB SKHynix DDR4-2666
Endurance:400 TBW
Form Factor:M.2 2280
Interface:PCIe Gen 4 x4, NVMe 1.3
Warranty:5 years
Price at Time
of Review:
$310 / 16 cents per GB


Package Front
Package Back

The Drive

SSD Front
SSD Back

The drive uses the M.2 2280 form factor, which makes it 22 mm wide and 80 mm long.

SSD Interface Connector

While most other M.2 NVMe SSDs transfer data over the PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface, the Team Group Cardea Zero Z44Q connects to the host system over a PCI-Express 4.0 x4 interface, which doubles the theoretical bandwidth.

Within the package, you'll find two types of a "heatsink." The first is a proper heatsink using a clamshell mechanism to hold the SSD PCB in place.

The second one, for laptops and other confined spaces, is a copper heatspreader foil. While there's the claim of "graphene," that is not the case. The black material is non-conductive, so it can't be graphene. It doesn't rub off like graphite either, so I suspect it's just black paint, or something else possibly containing a little bit of carbon for legal reasons.

We'll compare uncooled drive, heatspreader, and heatsink in our thermal tests later in this review.

SSD Teardown PCB Front
SSD Teardown PCB Back

On the PCB, you'll find the controller, four flash chips, and two DRAM chips.

Chip Component Analysis

SSD Controller

The PS5016-E16 from Phison was one of the first controllers with support for PCI-Express 4.0. It is considered "first generation PCIe 4.0" because newer, more modern controllers offer significantly improved performance.

SSD Flash Chips

The four QLC flash chips are made by Micron, built using 96 layers.


Two Hynix DDR4-2666 chips provide 2 GB of fast DRAM storage for the controller to store the mapping tables.

Test Setup

Test System SSD 2021
Processor:AMD Ryzen 3 3300X @ 4.3 GHz
Zen 2, 16 MB Cache
Motherboard:ASUS Prime X570-Pro
Memory:Zadak Spark RGB, 16 GB DDR4
@ 3200 MHz 16-18-18-38
Graphics:EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO 6 GB
Case:DarkFlash DLX22
Operating System: Windows 10 Professional 64-bit
Version 2004 (May 2020 Update)
Drivers:AMD Chipset:

TechPowerUp SSD Review Test Group
ADATA Falcon 1 TB$105Realtek RTS5762DL4TLC / MicronNoPCIe 3.0 x4
ADATA SX6000 Pro 1 TB$105Realtek RTS5763DL4TLC / MicronNoPCIe 3.0 x4
ADATA SX8200 Pro 1 TB$105Silicon Motion SM2262ENG8TLC / MicronYesPCIe 3.0 x4
ADATA Swordfish 1 TB$95Realtek RTS5763DL4TLC / SanDiskNoPCIe 3.0 x4
Corsair MP600 Pro 1 TB$225Phison E188TLC / MicronYesPCIe 4.0 x4
Corsair MP400 2 TB$230Phison E12S8QLC / MicronYesPCIe 4.0 x4
Crucial BX500 480 GB$55Silicon Motion SM2258XT4TLC / MicronNoSATA
Crucial MX500 500 GB$55Silicon Motion SM2258H4TLC / MicronYesSATA
Crucial P1 1 TB$105Silicon Motion SM2263ENG8QLC / MicronYesPCIe 3.0 x4
Crucial P5 1 TB$130Micron DM01B28TLC / MicronYesPCIe 3.0 x4
Gigabyte AORUS Gen 4 2 TB$370Phison E168TLC / ToshibaYesPCIe 4.0 x4
HP EX900 Pro 1 TB$110Silicon Motion SM2263EN4TLC / MicronYesPCIe 3.0 x4
HP EX950 2 TB$225Silicon Motion SM2262ENG8TLC / MicronYesPCIe 3.0 x4
Kingston A2000 1 TB$115Silicon Motion SM2263ENG4TLC / MicronYesPCIe 3.0 x4
Kingston KC2000 1 TB$155Silicon Motion SM2262ENG8TLC / ToshibaYesPCIe 3.0 x4
Lexar NM620 1 TB$160Innogrit IG52164TLC / MicronNoPCIe 3.0 x4
Sabrent Rocket Q 1 TB$110Phison E12S8QLC / MicronYesPCIe 3.0 x4
Samsung 860 EVO 1 TB$110Samsung MJX8TLC / SamsungYesSATA
Samsung 870 QVO 1 TB$105Samsung MKX8QLC / SamsungYesSATA
Samsung 970 EVO 500 GB$65Samsung Phoenix8TLC / SamsungYesPCIe 3.0 x4
Samsung 970 Pro 512 GB$160Samsung Phoenix8MLC / SamsungYesPCIe 3.0 x4
Samsung 980 Pro 1 TB$215Samsung Elpis8TLC / SamsungYesPCIe 4.0 x4
Seagate Barracuda 120 1 TB$110Phison S128TLC / IntelYesSATA
Seagate FireCuda 510 1 TB$180Phison E128TLC / ToshibaYesPCIe 3.0 x4
Team Group MP34 512 GB$66Phison E128TLC / ToshibaYesPCIe 3.0 x4
WD Black 2018 500 GB$63SanDisk 20-82-0070118TLC / SanDiskYesPCIe 3.0 x2
WD Black SN850 1 TB$230SanDisk 20-82-100358TLC / SanDiskYesPCIe 4.0 x4
WD Blue NVMe 500 GB$50SanDisk 20-82-0070104TLC / SanDiskYesPCIe 3.0 x2
XPG Gammix S70 2 TB$400Innogrit IG52368TLC / MicronYesPCIe 4.0 x4

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