Team Group MP34 M.2 NVMe SSD 512 GB Review 14

Team Group MP34 M.2 NVMe SSD 512 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The 512 GB version of the Team Group MP34 is currently listed online for $80.
  • Outstanding price/performance and cost per GB
  • Good thermal performance
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Compact form factor
  • SLC cache could be bigger
  • Thermal throttling at highest load
  • Inaccurate temperature sensor
Team Group's MP34 is the first SSD we tested on our new 2019 SSD bench, which features additional and more detailed tests, especially real-life testing has received a big overhaul. Overall performance of the MP34 is very decent, significantly beating all SATA SSDs and matching other M.2 NVMe drives. Compared to SATA SSDs, the performance uplift is around 15%. The fastest NVMe drives are 9% faster. While theoretical speeds of NVMe SSDs are generally much higher than their SATA counterparts, real-life differences end up smaller because even with normal SATA drives, disk activity is no longer the main reason for application slowdowns as the bottlenecks shift to other tasks. Even with (theoretically) infinitely fast storage, your applications would not run infinitely fast, which is the reason we chose to use real applications for our testing instead of recorded disk traces.

Based on TLC flash from Toshiba, the MP34 has to work some magic to achieve good write speeds because writing directly to TLC is relatively slow. To overcome that limitation, pseudo-SLC caching was invented, which runs a portion of the drive's capacity in single-cell SLC mode and greatly accelerates write speeds. When writing to pSLC, the MP34 achieves more than 2 GB/s write speeds—very impressive. SLC cache is sized at 25 GB, which means it is exhausted after just 12.5 seconds at that rate. While it is uncommon to write more than 25 GB in one go, I feel like a bigger SLC cache would have benefited the drive. Once the SLC cache is full, write speeds drop to 630 MB/s, which is still quite good and faster than most other drives in our test group.

Thermals of the Team Group MP34 are good. We were able to constantly write to the bare drive without any additional cooling, at 1 GB/s with no thermal throttling. Only when that rate is exceeded for a significant duration will you see some thermal throttling, which is well behaved, though—performance stays well above 1 GB/s in that case. The only thing that surprised us here was that the on-board thermal sensor reports VERY optimistic numbers. When the chip was throttling at 98°C, it reported just 70°C. For normal usage, that's a complete non-issue as thermal protections work perfectly fine. That said, it's a bit confusing to people who monitor their temperatures with various tools.

The real kicker for the MP34 is pricing. At just $80 for the tested 512 GB version, the drive is barely more expensive than traditional SATA drives, yet offers significantly improved performance. For example, the Crucial MX500, our favorite SATA drive for price/performance, is currently $70—I'd spend the extra $10 any day for the performance increase and to get rid of the cables. The most affordable NVMe SSDs, like the Intel 660p and Crucial P1, are $70, too, which gives them better price/performance and lower cost per GB. However, since they're based on QLC flash, their write speeds will be lower than on the MP34, especially when moving lots of data—I could see myself spending the extra $10 here, too.

If you're looking for higher performance, ADATA's SX8200 Pro ($117) and Samsung 970 Pro ($168) could be options, but both are significantly more expensive than the MP34, while offering less than a 10% performance uplift. The Team Group MP34 offers price per GB of just 16 cents, which is very impressive and will get a lot of people to switch to M.2 NVMe SSDs.
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