Today we are checking out a budget-friendly SSD from Colorful Technology – the CN700 NVMe SSD. It offers sequential speeds of up to 5,000MB/s read and 4,500MB/s write. It’s a DRAMless SSD, and its internal parts are not from the typical chip makers we are familiar with. Its controller is from MaxioTech, and its NAND flash is from YMTC. Let’s find out how Colorful’s CN700 SSD performs in our review below.
Colorful CN700 1TB SSD Review – Cheap DRAMless SSD
The Colorful CN700 SSD came with a small box. There’s a window at the front to see the SSD inside. Right beside its name is a sticker indicating the drive’s capacity. From Colorful’s press release, the CN700 is available in 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities. However, I don’t see a 2TB capacity of this specific model yet. Only the CN700 Pro and CN700 “War Halberd” have 2TB capacities.
Above, you can see the top and bottom views of the CN700 SSD. It’s a single-sided SSD, meaning all the components or the chips are on the (front) top side only. Most of the components are hidden behind the sticker label. Unfortunately, it’s not a heat spreader; it’s only a sticker. Let’s remove the sticker and see what’s under the hood.
The Controller and NAND Flash
The Colorful CN700 uses a controller, and NAND flash that I am unfamiliar with. The controller is MAP1602A from a company called MaxioTech. The MAP1602 is a controller specifically designed for DRAM-less SSDs. Based on its specs, the controller can support up to 7,200MB/s and 6,500MB/s of sequential read and write speeds, respectively. However, the CN700 is only rated for 5,000MB/s and 4,500MB/s of sequential read and write.
Meanwhile, this is the second time I have heard or encountered the NAND flash from YMTC. I first discovered a YMTC NAND when reviewing the Netac NV7000 M.2 SSD. It’s a 128-layer TLC NAND flash based on YMTC’s Xtracking 2.0 cell architecture. There are four NAND flash chips on the CN700 1TB capacity.
I don’t have any more information about YMTC’s NAND flash, as the company (Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., Ltd.) was only established in 2016. Meanwhile, its controller is from (Maxiotek/Maxio Tech Corp) a spin-off company of JMicron, also established in 2016. I don’t have any further information, so let’s see how this drives performs.
I tested Colorful’s CN700 1TB capacity on an X670E motherboard with an AMD Ryzen 7 7700X. I installed the drive on the first M.2 slot with the motherboard’s M.2 heatsink. For presentation purposes, I removed the heatsink and took the above photo. Below are the rest of the system’s specifications:
|Operating System||Windows 11 Pro|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 7 7700X|
|Motherboard||MSI MPG X670E Carbon WiFi|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance RGB DDR5-6000MHz CL30 AMD EXPO|
|Graphics Card||Colorful GeForce RTX 4070 Ti iGame Advanced|
|OS Drive||MSI Spatium M480 Play|
|Game Drive||SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD V2 and Extreme Portable SSD V2|
|Power Supply||MSI MPG A1000G PCIE5|
|Chassis||MSI MPG Velox 100P Airflow|
|Monitor||MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD 4K 144Hz|
Colorful CN700 1TB SSD Benchmark Results
AJA Benchmark Results
Admittedly, I don’t usually test and review budget SSDs. So, don’t be surprised if the other SSDs on the graphs outperform the CN700. Colorful’s CN700 is only rated for 5,000MB/s sequential read and 4,500MB/s sequential write. Meanwhile, most drives above are rated above 5,000MB/s, and the newer ones are 7,000MB/s and above. As expected, in the AJA System test, the CN700 is at the bottom of the graph.
AS SSD Benchmark Results
In AS SSD, the CN700 got a sequential read speed of around 4,500MB/s and a sequential write speed of around 4,000MB/s. That’s just ~500MB/s shy of its rated speed. Colorful didn’t mention or advertise the CN700’s random speeds. But it’s just slightly slower than Lexar’s NM800 Pro in this test.
ATTO Disk Benchmark Results
ATTO Disk benchmark is purely a sequential test, and the CN700 got fairly close to its advertised speed results.
CrystalDiskMark Benchmark Results
In the CrystalDiskMark benchmark, the CN700 is still at the bottom of the chart. But it’s expected since it’s supposed to be the slowest drive in the graph. Nevertheless, it’s still performing close to its sequential advertised speeds.
PCMark 10 Full System Drive Benchmark Results
Finally, I tested Colorful’s CN700 1TB DRAM-less SSD using the PCMark 10 Full System drive benchmark suite. It is an intensive test and takes about an hour (or more) to finish. The test uses a wide-ranging set of real-world traces from popular applications (Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office) and everyday tasks to test modern drives’ performance thoroughly.
I was surprised that the CN700 performed slightly faster than the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus and MSI M480 overall. Well, it held its ground, and its average access time is not bad, either.
Pricing and Availability
Colorful Technology announced the CN700 SSD series in November 2022, with a $99.99 (MSRP) launch price for the 1TB capacity. Meanwhile, the 512GB retailed for $69.99 (MSRP) back then. Today, the updated MSRP for the CN700 1TB is only $45 USD.
Unfortunately, I have not seen the CN700 listed on major US online stores like Amazon or Newegg. However, it is available in Asian countries.
Colorful CN700 1TB Review Conclusion
When it comes to performance, the Colorful CN700 performed as expected. Its sequential speed was close to its advertised speed of 5,000MB/s read, and 4,5000MB/s write. It’s just unfortunate that I don’t have another DRAM-less SSD to compare at the time. If you are copying large file sizes, don’t expect the SSD to maintain those sequential speeds for long. Expect that its speed will drop significantly when copying huge file sizes.
I don’t have anything to complain about regarding its performance. I don’t expect much from a DRAM-less SSD. It is what it is. However, I do have a concern when it comes to the controller and NAND flash used. I’m unfamiliar with MaxioTech and YMTC, and they don’t seem to have a long track record or history either. Basically, I’m not confident about its reliability and longevity. Only time will tell. Nevertheless, the CN700 worked, and it performed as advertised.
Should you buy one?
Well, that depends. Personally, I wouldn’t buy a DRAM-less SSD. I’d instead save some cash or wait for some good deals and get a much better M.2 SSD. But, suppose you are really budget-constraint, I wouldn’t recommend this drive as an OS or primary drive. Maybe you can use this as a game drive or a temporary storage drive, or for a non-critical system. Yes, it works, and it’s cheap; “cheap” after the suggested retail price has been adjusted to $45 for the 1TB capacity.
The problem is there are more DRAM-less SSD that cost below $50. In the US, you have many options, and I’ll list them below. But, as mentioned earlier, I don’t see the CN700 listed in major retail stores in the US. If you are in Asia and it is available in your area, you may want to consider the CN700 if the price is right. But if you are in the US, there are several cheap/DRAM-less SSDs like the following: