Packaging and Closer Look
The Zotac SONIX comes in a neatly designed rectangular box. Nothing too fancy about the packaging but it’s very pleasing and nicely done. Inside the box you get some reading materials, a low-profile bracket (for the really slim CPU chassis), and the SONIX itself.
Above are pictures of the SONIX from different view or angles. The design is quite simple. There are no RGB LEDs on this one or any LED indicator. The front covering and the back plate are all metal, and as you can see there are tiny holes for ventilation.
I know some would react regarding the color of the PCB. I myself also asked the same question, “wouldn’t it look better if it came with a black PCB?”. But once installed, you could barely notice or see the PCB itself.
Again, for those who are using a very slim chassis or casing, Zotac has provided a low profile bracket. You can easily replace the standard PCI slot bracket with the shorter one. Replacing the bracket is no difficult task as well since the shroud can easily be removed just by unscrewing the screws. Just remember to use anti-static wrist strap and a proper working area to avoid the SONIX from getting damaged.
Removing the front shroud reveals an aluminum heatsink that cools the controller, memory and the NAND chips. This is also another advantage of using the Zotac SONIX compared to an M.2 SSD. M.2 SSDs usually doesn’t have a heatsink, and they may be prone to thermal throttling. By the way, the back plate of the SONIX also serves as the heatsink for the NAND chips on the other side of the PCB.
Above are photos of the Zotac SONIX’s PCB after removing the heatsink, the backplate and the PCI bracket. Now we have a clear picture of the components inside, specially the Phison controller which is at the heart of the SONIX.
The Phison PS5007, based on a 28nm process, was first released last year Q4 and features 8 channel transfer speeds and 64CE support capable of up to 4TB capacity. It is built with end-to-end data path protection circuits and a SmartECC engine with 120bits/2KB BCH to ensure data integrity in high speed transfer. Utilizing firmware algorithms such as SmartFlushTM and an optional P-fail circuitry to prevent in-flight data loss from sudden power interruptions, as well as advanced security features compliant with TCG Opal 2.0 and TCG Enterprise standards driven with a 256bit AES engine.
The Phison PS5007 is compliant with PCIe Gen1(2.5Gbps), Gen2(5Gbps), Gen3(8Gbps) and NVMe 1.2 standard. It is capable of sequential read/write speeds of up to 2600 MBps and 1300 MBps respectively; and 4K random read/write speeds of up to 350,000 IOPS and up to 250,000 IOPS respectively.
Here’s a closer look at the Toshiba TH58TFG9DFLBA8C MLC (Multi-Level Cell) NAND chip. There are a total of 8 of these, 4 in front and 4 at back.
Above is a closer shot of the NANYA NT5CC256M16DP-D1 that serves as a memory chip for the Zotac SONIX’s cache. This is a DDR3 memory with a clock speed of 1600MHz and a memory timing of 11-11-11.
Now let’s see how the Sonix performs on the next following pages.