Solidigm P41 Plus 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD Review

Memory (DDR4/DDR5) and Storage (SSD/NVMe) 368 Page 16 of 16 Published by


Final Words & Conclusion

Final Words & Conclusion

The mysticism of QLC-based SSDs is twofold, more storage per IC and cheaper NAND. Unfortunately, that has not yet been the case for QLC. By all means, this is a decent-performing SSD, though. Though it doesn't stand out among other PCIe Gen4 QLC drives, the P41 Plus provides a substantial performance boost over say Intel 670p. The P41 Plus is a strong overall release by Solidigm, and at under $50 for the 512GB variant and $90 for the 1TB edition, it's a wonderful pick for average consumers seeking to add a more economical, everyday-use drive to their setup. I mean, 9 cents per GB ...

The reality is also that far more superior TLC-based NAND flash storage systems are available at almost the same price that delivers significantly higher performance. Endurance is still the largest shortcoming, but that is why high-volume SSDs are manufactured: more cells mean greater endurance. However, in the following chapter, we'll go into more detail about this.


So, in terms of everyday PC usage, gaming, and mass (cold) storage, such as your movie and game library, there isn't much to be disappointed in. Nevertheless, potential end-users (such as yourself) will be met with a shiver, as the same shiver that the transition from MLC to TLC NAND elicited, which is lifetime, also known as endurance. To be honest, I wouldn't mind spending an extra $25 for a TLC drive right now, depending on the slight pricing variations between the two options. When you consider things mathematically, though, the picture does change somewhat. For the sake of illustration, consider the submitted and reviewed.

Solidigm offers 400 TBW and 800 TBW (Terabytes Written) for the 1TB and 2TB models, coupled with an MTBF of up to 1,600,000 Hours (Mean(ingless) Time Between Failures). We talked so much about this in the past already, endurance, the number of times NAND cells can be written before they burst and shatter into small pieces (well, they just die and are mapped out, any data present on that cell is written to a healthy one). Bigger volume sizes mean more NAND cells; more NAND cells thus increase endurance. . So how long does a 1 TB storage unit last before NAND flash cells go the way of the dodo? If you are an extreme user, you might be writing 50 GB per day (normal users likely won't even write that per week), but based on that value, 50GB x 365 days= 18.25 TB per year written. So that's close to 22 years of usage, half that for the 1TB SSD. And let me reiterate, writing 50 GB per day is a very enthusiastic value. 



The controller is not fitted with a heatsink or thermal sticker; the controller as such gets hot. Ultimately, it could result in some thermal throttling under an extreme workload. Keep this SSD under a motherboard or the version we tested, with included heatsink; this will not be an issue. We always advise a little bit of airflow over your SSDs also.


The devil is in the details, and if we look closely at the trace data, we may conclude that the SSD is comparable to a typical to a proper PCIe 3.0 SSD or mainstream PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe unit in its price range. When transferring huge files, the SSD will perform as well as the 'average' competition. QLC written memory suffers from a difficulty in that once your FIFO write buffers (pSLC) are depleted, QLC will experience what we call the QLC/TLC write hole, resulting in a significant loss in performance. In this case, once we have continuously written just over 12% of the drive, performance caved in (writes) to ~260 MB/sec.


At 9 cents per GB, Solidigm has an attractive offer at hand. Currently, the going rate for TLC-based units with a DRAM cache starts at 12 cents per GB. The reality, however, is that the NAND flash type is PLC, and end-users are not very confident about this type of NAND. Performance-wise, we're looking at plentiful enough numbers for your average (game) PC. The performance degradation in linear and sustained writes is rather stringent when your caches run dry. These QLC SSDs, in my opinion, are a realistic solution for laptops and cold storage, such as NAS storage for your movie or game collection. If you're looking for a little extra peace of mind, your next stop should be a TLC-based SSD. However, price is another significant factor to consider in the NAND space. We rate the P41 Plus performance as average for a contemporary NVMe  SSD. What QLC has going for is its volume sizes; this SSD is available in capacities maxing out at 2TB, we would have loved to have seen a 4TB or even 8TB model. Having a large-capacity NVMe SSD is a beautiful thing. For QLC to achieve widespread use, prices must fall significantly below TLC NAND's. Overall, write performance must drastically increase for this SSD type to be considered slightly attractive in more stringent workloads. In the end, though, it's an SSD we can recommend as it performs very decently and, at 9 cents per GB is price competitive.

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