Value and Conclusion
- The Team Group Delta RGB SSD is currently available online for $80.
- Addressable RGB lighting looks mesmerizing
- Large SLC write cache
- 3-year warranty
- Not as fast as highest-performance SATA drives
- Write speeds drop a lot under heavy writes
Team Group has designed a very unique SSD with the Delta RGB. It is the only drive on the market with fully controllable RGB capability that goes beyond having just a single color or a predefined lighting pattern. When used with RGB-supporting motherboards, it will show up as a controllable RGB device in the motherboard software, and you can adjust a myriad of settings to customize it to look exactly the way you want. This is a great option for all modders or users who are looking to give their case a unique style.
In our performance testing, we see good numbers that are close enough to most SATA drives, even though the fastest ones are a few percent faster in real-life testing. The differences are slim enough to not make a difference—if you have use for the RGB feature, which can be turned off completely, too. The limited performance is rooted in Team Group's choice of using just three flash chips (probably for cost reasons). This limits the SMI controller to three channels out of the four channels it can drive, resulting in a small performance hit.
Team Group has given the Delta RGB a large pseudo-SLC buffer, which can quickly soak up writes at the full speeds of the drive. With 80 GB, this buffer is larger than on most competing drives, which typically offer 16 or 32 GB for this scenario. Should the write buffer get exhausted by heavy writes, the drive's write speed drops by a lot, into HDD territory, which isn't very pleasant, but given the large buffer size, I find it highly unlikely that you'll write that much data regularly, so it doesn't matter. The only scenario is restoring from a disk image. As that is typically done once in the drive's lifetime, it is not a big deal. I rather have a big SLC buffer with a larger performance drop than a small one that gets overrun when copying just a few GB around.
Pricing of the Team Group Delta RGB SSD is very reasonable given the unique functionality. Team Group's clever implementation of the RGB LED feature certainly helps with that, by using just eight LEDs instead of a larger array, which would be more costly. Of course, there are cheaper drives and faster drives out there, like everybody's favorite, the Crucial MX500 that's just $70 ($10 cheaper). The Samsung 860 EVO comes in at $80 and should give slightly higher performance, too, but the differences are small.