Overall and Final Verdict
Honestly, the VPN100 surprised me a lot of my testing. It is easy to get used to a few of the ultra high end drives being the only good option when it comes to finding a fast M.2 drive. But Viper Gaming managed to position the VPN100 just behind the much more expensive WD Black drive and in a lot of cases it actually performed with or faster than the new MP600 running on PCI Gen4. That isn’t to say the VPN100 was the best performing drive, but I think the 512GB capacity sent to us was a big limiting factor as well. The higher capacity models look to be faster and close to the “up to” speeds on the packaging, especially on the write performance. That is actually where our 512GB model fell behind the most and I would be really curious to see how the 1TB VPN100 would have compared against the mostly 1TB models tested against it. The issue with queue depth write performance was especially concerning. The performance didn’t level off, it actually got slower the higher the queue depth was.
Now let me first say that M.2 SSDs with heatsinks are a huge pain when it comes to making sure everything is going to fit. Most higher-end motherboards have their own covers or heatsinks so you have to commit to removing those or running a motherboard that it isn’t an issue on. ITX boards with M.2 slots on the back of the board are out of the picture as well. So before you get excited about the good looks of the VPN100 with its heatsink, keep that in mind. But like I said the heatsink does look great. Offering it apart from the drive initially might be a nice option to help with compatibility issues. Of course the blue PCB which is mostly not visible would be a bigger issue then.
As for if a heatsink is needed. Well, my review of the SN750 where I was able to test a drive with and a drive without the heatsink did prove that if you run a workload that hits the drive hard for long enough you can reach temperatures that slow down performance and the SN750 with the heatsink did help with that. On that test I ran a large benchmark over and over and the drive slowly started to retain some heat, but not as much as the drive without the heatsink. I did that same test on the VPN100 and was extremely impressed. The simple extruded aluminum heatsink might not be as fancy as the EK designed heatsink but it didn’t have heat soak issues. In fact you can see in the picture below I couldn’t get the drive any hotter than it got during the test itself which was about 60c where the drive ran closer to 50c when not being hit.
The heatsink clearly works, but even with the lesser performing heatsink on the SN750 I also found that I only ran into the thermal throttling with extremely long workloads. Regular use just didn’t reach those temperatures. So it is up to you to decide if the heatsink is needed for you. The VPN100 did perform in the actual drive tests though so that isn’t to say it isn’t worth picking up on its own merits.
So at the end of the day, it comes down to pricing. The SN750 was faster in all of the tests so I was curious how the VPN100 compared in pricing. At a similar capacity as the 512GB model I tested today the SN750 is $95 or $109 with the heatsink and the VPN100 comes in at $79. That puts the VPN100 at a nice price point. At 1TB the VPN100 can be picked up for $140 where the SN750 is $201 or $229 with the heatsink. This is actually the capacity where the VPN100 excels the most, especially given that I expect that capacity to be a little faster than the model I tested here. Now there are a few 512GB drives that have similar performance that is still a little cheaper. Same goes at 1TB, but if you also want the looks or cooling performance of the heatsink as well you aren’t going to find any other drive offering both at a good price like this.
Live Pricing: HERE
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