Today we are going to check out Gigabyte’s latest and fastest M.2 NVMe – the AORUS Gen4 7000s SSD. Gigabyte sent us their 2TB capacity for us to test and review. It features the 2nd generation PCIe 4.0 Phison PS5018-E18 controller, offering speeds of up to 7,000MB/s. While the new Gen4 7000s is not as eye-catching as its predecessor, the Aorus NVMe Gen4, it features “optimized” aluminum heat spreaders with Nanocarbon coating. Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s check out how the new Aorus Gen4 7000s performs in our review below.
Gigabyte AORUS Gen4 7000s SSD 2TB Capacity Review
The Aorus Gen4 7000s SSD is Gigabyte’s latest high-performance M.2 NVMe SSD, offering speeds of up to 7,000MB/s sequential read speed with no throttling. It uses a Phison PS5018-E18, a second-generation PCIe controller, successor to the PS5016-E16 that powered the early Gen4 NVMe SSD. According to Phison, their E18 is the only solution on the market to break the 7GB/s barrier for both read and write access with superior power efficiency. The new controller is about 2.1x faster compared to PCIe Gen3x4 and about 1.5x faster compared to its predecessor, the E16.
Aside from the E18 controller, the Aorus Gen4 7000s is also built with up to 8 NAND flash channels with 32 CEs. It uses DDR4 SLC DRAM for caching and is NVMe 1.4 compliant. Gigabyte also implemented AES-256 hardware encryption, since the E18 supports that feature as well.
The Aorus Gen4 7000s SSD competes with the likes of WD Black SN850, Samsung 980 PRO, and Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus. Aorus’ Gen4 7000s is similar to the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus since it uses the same controller and components inside. If you compare both PCBs side by side, they may look the same. Unfortunately, I don’t have the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus to compare it with. Only WD and Samsung’s latest Gen4 SSD are quite different; they use an in-house controller and different NAND flash and layout.
However, unlike its competitors, Gigabyte’s Aorus Gen4 700s features “optimized Aluminum heat spreaders with Nanocarbon coating”. Gen4 SSDs tend to get (really) hot and the heat sink will help the SSD in keeping the temperature at bay; thus avoiding thermal throttling.
Below are the rest of the specifications of the Aorus Gen4 7000s SSD.
AORUS Gen4 7000s SSD Specifications
|Form Factor||M.2 2280||M.2 2280|
|Interface||PCI-Express 4.0 x4, NVMe 1.4||PCI-Express 4.0 x4, NVMe 1.4|
|Controller||Phison PS5018-E18||Phison PS5018-E18|
|NAND||Micron 3D TLC NAND Flash||Micron 3D TLC NAND Flash|
|External DDR Cache||DDR4 1GB||DDR4 2GB|
|Sequential Read speed||Up to 7000 MB/s||Up to 7000 MB/s|
|Sequential Write speed||Up to 5500 MB/s||Up to 6850 MB/s|
|Random Read IOPS||up to 350k||up to 650k|
|Random Write IOPS||up to 700k||up to 700k|
|Mean time between failure (MTBF)||1.6 million hours||1.6 million hours|
|Warranty||Limited 5-years or 700TBW||Limited 5-years or 1400TBW|
|Power Consumption (Active)||Average: R : 6.6W, W : 6.5W||Average: R : 7.6W, W : 8.4W|
|Power Consumption (Idle)||<30mW||<30mW|
|Temperature (Operating)||0°C to 70°C||0°C to 70°C|
|Temperature (Storage)||-40°C to 85°C||-40°C to 85°C|
|Dimension||80.5 x 11.4 x 23.5 mm||80.5 x 11.4 x 23.5 mm|
Packaging and Closer Look
The Aorus Gen4 7000s SSD came with a small compact box. It is a similar packaging Gigabyte used on their Aorus NVMe Gen4 SSD. The SSD itself is cradled on thick foam and there are some reading materials hidden underneath. Its packaging is quite simple and you can read some information about the drive printed at the back.
Above are close-up photos of the Aorus Gen4 7000s SSD. Its aluminum heat spreader is installed out of the box. The heat spreader is mainly composed of aluminum, both the top fins and bottom base plate. According to Gigabyte, the 7mm-height heatsink is compatible with all the M.2 slots; including the M.2 slot that is right under a graphics card. I did try this and it checks out, there is enough space. Although, I would not recommend this kind of setup since the heat coming from the graphics card would be blown towards the SSD.
Aorus Gen4 7000s vs NVMe Gen4 SSD
Above, you can see a photo of the (old) Aorus NVMe Gen4 SSD and the new Gen4 7000s SSD. I have to admit, the previous one is a head-turner and stands out thanks to its copper heat spreader. Although, my issue with the NVMe Gen4 SSD is that it is on the heavy side, and the copper heatsink will corrode and will lose its shine in due time.
While the new Gen 7000s SSD may not be as striking as its predecessor, its all-black color theme is more neutral and should blend well with most system builds. Which do you think looks better or aesthetically pleasing to your eyes? Let us know in the comment section below.
Now let’s open the Gen4 7000s SSD and take a look inside. Removing the heat spreader was easy, although I would not recommend it, since it may damage the SSD or void the warranty.
Both sides of the Gen4 7000s are populated with several chips and there are also thermal pads on both sides. Yes, the controller side is on the top side and not underneath the PCB.
Near the M.2 finger is the Phison PS5018-E18 controller and right next to it is a SKhynix H5AN8G6NCJR-VKC DRAM. There are two of these SKhynix DDR4 DRAM for a total of 2GB for the 2TB capacity. After the DRAM, you can see Micron’s 96-Layer 3D TLC IA7BG64AIA NAND flash chips; four on both sides for a total of 8 chips. Each chip is 256GB in capacity for a total of 2TB for this model.
Time to see how Gigabyte’s latest drive performs.
The Test Setup
Gigabyte’s Aorus Gen4 7000s SSD is a PCIe 4.0 Gen4 SSD; meaning you’ll need a compatible system to take advantage of its speed. Older generations or systems may not support this drive, and if it did the speed will be limited. Currently, the only system that supports these types of SSDs is an AMD X570 or B550 motherboard; powered by (at least) an AMD Ryzen 3000 CPU. Of course, the latest Ryzen Threadripper supports them as well.
Intel’s Z590 motherboards and some Z490 motherboards paired with the latest 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs will also support Gen4 SSDs. I will be using this Gen4 7000s on my MSI MEG Z590 ACE motherboard, paired with an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU. Hopefully, Intel’s implementation of Gen4 for SSDs will be on par with AMD’s.
Again, you can install this on a PCIe 3.0 M.2 slot, but the speed will be limited to around 30Gbps (not recommended). Below are the rest of the specifications of the system I used to test the Aorus Gen4 7000s SSD 2TB capacity.
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro 64bit version 20H2|
|Motherboard||MSI MEG X570 ACE|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 7 3700X|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12A|
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB DDR-4000|
|Graphics Card||MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio 12G|
|OS Drive||ADATA Spectrix S40G M.2 NVMe SSD|
|Power Supply||Seasonic Prime 850W Titanium|
AORUS Gen4 7000s SSD 2TB Benchmark Results
Before we proceed, I would like to mention that the results I got are somehow on the “slow side” compared to other reviews that I have seen/read. I’ve seen that others were able to get higher scores or faster read/write speeds. And it’s not limited to this specific drive alone.
So depending on the motherboard or system configuration that you have, you may get a better score or speed than mine. But one thing is consistent, all the Gen4 SSDs shown in this review were tested on the same system.
AJA Benchmark Results
In the AJA System Test, the Aorus Gen4 7000s performed slightly faster than the WD Black SN850 and Samsung 980 Pro when it comes to sequential write speed. However, the SN850 is (slightly) faster than the Gen4 7000s when it comes to sequential read speed. Compared to its predecessor, the Aorus NVMe Gen4, we can see a substantial difference in speed.
AS SSD Benchmark Results
Using AS SSD benchmark test, the Aorus Gen4 7000s is a hairline faster than the SN850 when it comes to sequential write speed. However, both the SN850 and 980 Pro were faster when it comes to sequential read speed. When it comes to 4K random speed, although it’s not the fastest on the charts, the Gen4 7000s managed to slightly stay ahead of its competition.
ATTO Disk Benchmark Results
ATTO Disk benchmark is another sequential test and we can see that the Aorus Gen4 7000s takes the lead when it comes to sequential write. And just like in the previous tests, it falls behind the SN850 and 980 Pro when it comes to sequential read. Perhaps, thanks to the substantial amount of heat spreader, the Gen4 7000s can perform slightly better in write workloads.
CrystalDiskMark Benchmark Results
In CrystalDiskMark 8.0.1 the results that I got are very similar to the previous benchmark tests. The Aorus Gen4 7000s would outperform the other Gen4 SSDs when it comes to sequential write speed. However, it would fall behind when it comes to sequential read speeds. Interestingly, the results are quite different on the 4K random tests. Its predecessor managed to slightly outperform the newer Gen4 7000s in 4K random workloads.
PCMark 10 and 8 Storage Benchmark Results
Last but not the least, I tested the Aorus Gen4 7000s 2TB SSD using PCMark 10 and 8’s storage benchmark test. Both tests are quite intensive and extensive as well; takes about an hour (or more) to finish. These tests use a wide-ranging set of real-world traces from popular applications (Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office), and common tasks to fully test the performance of these modern drives. This will give us a more realistic expectation of a drive’s performance and a closer to a real-world testing scenario.
Despite having better (write) performance on the previous benchmark tests, the Aorus Gen4 7000s no longer stayed in the lead on both tests. The SN850 and 980 Pro got a better score and higher bandwidth than the Gen4 7000s in PCMark 10. And the same can be said in PCMark 8 Storage benchmark.
However, to be honest, I am a bit unresolved about the accuracy of these results. Although I am confident that the numbers I got are correct (not a typo), even after repeating the benchmark. It’s a bit headscratcher for me to see the Samsung 980 Pro being outperformed by a Crucial P5 or Kingston KC2500 on the PCMark 8 Storage test. I think the PCMark 10 is the more accurate one since UL Benchmark still updates that benchmark tool. But I have no idea how the KC2500 managed to get a better score than the other Gen4 SSDs.
At the end of the day, these latest Gen4 NVMe SSDs are quite fast compared to their predecessors. And they are substantially faster when compared to Gen3 and SATA SSD. To be honest, it would be very difficult to distinguish their performance side by side, especially when not looking at numbers.
Actual Copy Test
Here’s an actual copy test I performed after running the synthetic benchmarks. In this test, I copied a few game clips with a total of 310GB. I am copying the files from a Samsung 980 PRO Gen4 SSD to avoid some bottlenecks. I’m just copying compressed files (mp4) in this test. So, don’t expect to get similar behavior or speed when copying various file sizes and types in one go.
Also, note that I am copying from a faster drive and that drive is not an OS drive. So, expect to get a lower or slower speed if you are copying from the OS drive or other drives, especially SATA drives.
As you can see from the screenshots above, the copy workload is pretty much consistent and it finished copying the whole 310GB of files in less than 3 minutes. You can see that there are small dips on the graph, but that’s when it finished copying a file then moved to another file. There was no significant drop during the whole process.
Let’s wrap up this review…
Pricing and Availability
Gigabyte’s Aorus Gen4 7000s SSD series is now available. It comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $209.99 for the 1TB capacity, and $389.99 for the 2TB capacity. Gigabyte is also offering a limited 5-year warranty for the said Gen4 NVMe SSDs. SSD prices tend to change, so, for the latest pricing and availability, kindly check out the link(s) below.
AORUS Gen4 7000s SSD 2TB Review Conclusion
Gigabyte’s latest Aorus Gen4 7000s is certainly fast and it can compete with other latest or second-generation NVMe Gen4 SSDs as well. Aesthetically speaking, it looks great; and the all-black color scheme will blend well with most system builds. I think the “Nanocarbon-coating” is just for marketing, but the heatsink itself is undeniably functional. Although, if you have a motherboard, like most high-end Z590 and X570 nowadays, they usually come with a heatshield or heat spreader for the M.2 slots. You’ll have to remove them so that you can use the 7000s.
When it comes to speed, I didn’t see my Gen4 7000s reaching 7000MB/s sequential read or 6,850MB/s sequential write. The fastest it could achieve was around 6,350MB/s sequential read and around 6,320MB/s sequential write. At least with the system that I am using. It’s not bad, especially that the other Gen4 NVMe SSDs, which are supposed to achieve similar numbers, is in the same ballpark. So speed-wise, thanks to the Phison E18 controller, it’s really fast.
The only “cons” or perhaps disadvantage I see with Gigabyte’s current lineup is that they don’t have a 4TB capacity or lower than 1TB capacities. If there’s a market, I hope Gigabyte will release other capacities soon.
This will come down to the current pricing; whoever is the cheaper one usually wins. The SSD market tends to be very competitive and the competition can be tough. Right now, I think the Aorus Gen4 7000s’ main competition are the WD Black SN850 (with Heatsink); Samsung 980 Pro; Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus, and Corsair MP600 Pro. Both SN850 and 980 Pro use a proprietary controller; while Sabrent and Corsair’s drives use the same components as the Aorus’.
I visited Newegg and Amazon and check their respective prices. At the time this review was published, the Aorus Gen4 7000s 2TB capacity retails for around $380 USD. It’s currently cheaper than the 2TB variant of the SN850, 980 Pro, Rocket 4 Plus, and MP600 Pro. It looks like it’s a win for Gigabyte with their 2TB capacity.
However, that is not the case for the 1TB capacity. The Gen4 7000s 1TB capacity retails for around $210-$220 USD. Its competition is priced at around $200 USD, but they don’t come with a heatsink. The WD SN850 with heatsink retails for around $250; it’s a bit pricier than the Gen4 7000s. But the Corsair MP600 Pro 1TB currently sells for $205 USD. So, Gigabyte has stiff competition in the 1TB capacity market.
Gigabyte’s Aorus Gen4 7000s SSD is one of the fastest M.2 NVMe Gen4 SSDs in the market. Performance-wise it can compete with other brands. And when it comes to pricing, the 2TB capacity is priced competitively as well. I don’t have any reasons why I wouldn’t recommend this drive at all. It’s an excellent-performing drive, and depending on your use-case, this drive can (really) help users users speed things up.