This is the system we used to test the Silicon Power US70
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Spire
RAM: 32GB T-Force Vulcan Z CL18 @3,600MHz
Motherboard: MSI B550 Pro VDH Wi-Fi
Graphics card: EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 XC Gaming
OS SSD: Samsung 980 Pro @ 500GB
Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 750W
Case: ThermalTake Core V21
The number of PCIe 4.0-based M.2 SSDs on the market is rising, and they’re not all budget breakers anymore. While there are savage speedsters like the Samsung 980 Pro and the WD Black SN850, there are now more affordable options that balance high speed with high value, and that’s exactly what the Silicon Power US70 does.
The Silicon Power US70 offers up to 2TB of storage for $320 (about £235, AU$420). It’s not the cheapest SSD, but you won’t find too many that offer this kind of speed in this price range. The Samsung 870 QVO offers affordable capacity with a 2TB model for $249 (£189, AU$279), but that SATA-based SSD doesn’t come close to PCIe 3.0 SSD speeds, let alone PCIe 4.0. Silicon Power’s pricing also keeps it well below the cost of Samsung and WD’s premium drives, as a 2TB SN850 costs $450 and a 2TB 980 Pro costs $430. Silicon Power also stays well below the 1TB options for those drives.
Here’s how the Silicon Power US70 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
CrystalDiskMark Sequential: 5,002.16MB/s (read); 4,256.9MB/s (write)
CrystalDiskMark Random Q32: 2,875.94MB/s (read); 2,628.63MB/s (write)
10GB file transfer: 4.56 seconds
10GB folder transfer: 5.73 seconds
PCMark10 SSD: 2,032 points
Of course, the lower pricing comes with a trade-off – the Silicon Power US70 isn’t as fast by a long shot. The 2TB Silicon Power US70 puts up respectable sequential speeds at 5,002MB/s for reads and 4,256MB/s for writes. The Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850 leave it behind with up to 30% faster speeds. Samsung’s random speeds also outstrip the US70 considerably, especially in random reads, where it more than doubles the US70’s performance.
But if the Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850 are the sprinters, then the US70 is the marathon runner. We’d almost expect to see another trade-off in endurance given that the US70 is offering a lot of storage at a more budget-friendly price, but Silicon Power actually rates the US70 for 1,800 total drive writes, which makes for 3,600TBW on the 2TB model. That’s triple the endurance of the 2TB 980 Pro and SN850, both of which offer 1,200TBW.
Given the pricing, anyone balancing their budget for speed and capacity may think about choosing one of the faster drives at a lower capacity than the US70, but a faster drive may only prove to be faster while it’s mostly empty. SSDs tend to slow down considerably as they fill up and have less space available to use as a high-speed cache. Our friends at Tom’s Hardware report the US70 uses a third of its available space as a cache, so the 2TB drive is likely to keep cruising along at its full speeds when filled with a large amount of data that would make a faster 1TB drive slow down considerably.
The US70 sits in a fairly stable position, but it does have some direct competition. Though we have yet to test either, both the Seagate FireCuda 520 and Corsair MP600 offer similar speeds, endurance, and pricing (though both are a bit more expensive at the time of writing). There’s also the PNY XLR8 CS3040, which is the same price while offering slightly faster speeds and equivalent endurance, though, again, we haven’t tested this drive.
Buy it if…
Your priority is speed with value coming in a close second
The Silicon Power US70 isn’t the fastest drive on the market, but it’s a big step up from the older PCIe 3.0-based SSDs. And, it’s a lot cheaper than the drives setting records, which makes it a strong choice for value-oriented enthusiasts.
You plan to write a lot of data
The US70 can store a lot of data, but what’s more impressive is how many times you can fill it up. Silicon Power rates it for 3,600TBW, so don’t worry about it dying on your computer any time soon.
You deal with big files
The US70 stands out more for its sequential speeds than its random speeds. While it’s all around fast, you’ll be better served by it while dealing with big files that take advantage of the 5,000MB/s throughput.
Don’t buy it if…
You want the fastest drive
5,000MB/s is fast, but SSDs can still go faster. Samsung and Western Digital have proved it, and the Silicon Power US70 can’t keep up with those drives in a footrace.
You want the best deal
We think the Silicon Power US70 is great, but PNY is properly undercutting it with the CS3040 that goes just a little lower in price and a little higher in speeds. Plus, they’re both a similar shade of blue that will struggle to fit in with any build
You have an aesthetic build
Maybe your SSD will be hidden under a graphics card or a heatsink, but if it’s not, then you might want to steer clear of the US70. It has an unusual, blue PCB that’s going to stand out and unlikely to match your other components.