The SSD market is huge and one of the best things about it is that it isn’t limited to a short list of companies who can manufacture drives, like with the spinning hard drive market. This has allowed brands that we know from other markets to jump into the scene as well as brands/companies that we haven’t seen before as well. Sabrent falls into the second half of that statement. While they have been around since 2008, I personally didn’t see the Sabrent brand until the last year or so, and after seeing promising reviews from a few industry friends I have been excited to see what they have to offer. So today I am going to check out the Sabrent Rocket Q which is an NVMe M.2 SSD, specifically in the 1TB capacity that they sent over which is large enough to potentially run just a single drive even with a long list of games and programs that might need to be installed. So let’s check out what Sabrent has to offer and see how the Rocket Q performs!

Product Name: Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB

Review Sample Provided by: Sabrent

Written by:  Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

Specifications

Interface

M.2 PCIe Gen3 x 4

Capacities

500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB

NVMe

PCIe 3.1 Compliant / NVMe 1.3 Compliant

Power Management Support

APST / ASPM / L1.2

NAND Flash

Micron 3D QLC NAND

Controller

Sabrent RKT 303 Controller

Advertised Speeds

up to 3200 MB/s (read) and 2900 MB/s (write)

Power Consumption

R 5.5 / W 6.0 (W)


Photos and Features

Before taking a look at the Rocket Q drive I did want to check out the packaging. Normally there are only a few different styles of packaging you see for an M.2 drive and Sabrent went a completely different direction. The box was a little smaller than normal but it is also a lot heavier than you would ever expect. It is all white and I love that they include a picture of the drive on the front. The product name lets you know it is an NVMe drive, M.2 as well, and the M.2 size. Below that you can see it is a gen 3 drive. The drive size is on its own down in the corner along with a sticker letting you know you get Acronis True Image software for free as well. The picture of the drive also includes the drive capacity as well which is a nice touch. The back of the box doesn’t give us anything else other than another picture of the drive and the model number/UPC

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What is so different from any other M.2 drive is that the Rocket Q comes inside of a metal tin inside of the box. This is decked out with the same branding as the box including a picture of the drive on the front and the capacity. Around on the back is the model number and the UPC. They could drop the box altogether and sell the drive like this and I think it would catch more eyes. When you open the tin up you get an installation guide. Then in the tin, you have a foam padding for protection for the drive and a thin foam panel that sits on top of the drive as well with Rocket Q branding on it.

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Now obviously when it comes to M.2 drives there isn’t too much you can do for styling unless you are adding a thick heatsink that won’t fit on most of the new motherboards that come with their own integrated heatsinks so the Rocket Q is limited to the standard M.2 PCB and a sticker. Sabrent did go with a thicker copper backed sticker which I can say ended up being a pain for me trying to put it back on after taking PCB shots lol. So they went with a blue PCB which fits the white and blue colors of the drive and then on top the copper sticker has a white background with blue swoops. It also has the Sabrent branding as well as the drive capacity in a large font. The Rocket Q branding in smaller and tucked in between the swoops.

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The back of the Rocket Q has another sticker covering it. I would normally take this off but the 2TB model doesn’t use any of the back of the drive. You can however see through the sticker where they have all of the contact points where the larger capacities do use both sides of the drive. The sticker itself is where they hide the serial number as well as a QR code for the serial number.

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The top side of the drive with the copper backed sticker removed does give us a chance to see what makes the Rocker Q tick. The most obvious is the silver Phision controller over on the right portion. So Sabrent has the controller listed in the specifications as the RKT 303 Controller but a look at the PCB shows that the controller is the Phison E12 which is the same as the Viper VRP100 that I previously took a look at. Next to the controller on the right is the drive's cache which is a Kingston branded with a model number of D2516ECMDXGJD which is DDR3L running at 1866 MHz and a capacity of 4GB. Over on the left, the Rocket Q has four NAND chips which break the 2TB up into 500GB increments meaning there is a little room for future wear. Specifically 12GB per NAND for a total of 48GB. The NAND chips didn’t come up in a search when I searched IA7HG66AWA, but they are all Micron 96L QLC.

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Test Rig and Procedures

Test System (with affiliate links)

Motherboard: Asus ROG X570 Crosshair Hero w/WiFi

CPU:  AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Motherboard: Asus Crosshair VIII HERO WiFi

Cooling: Noctua NH-U12S for cooling

Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Paste

Memory:  G.Skill Trident Z Royal 3600MHz 16-16-16-36

Storage:  Corsair MP600 2TB

Video Card: Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti

Power Supply: Corsair TX750M

Case: Dimastech Test Bench

OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

tests


Performance

Before jumping into my testing, I do always like to take a look at CrystalDiskInfo. Mainly just to confirm that we are running at the transfer mode that we should be which in this case is PCIe 3.0 at an x4 speed. I also use this to document the firmware revision that I tested, because those do sometimes change over time.

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My first few tests are all in CrystalDiskMark. I start with the older CrystalDiskMark 6 which is what we have used in past reviews to take a look at sequential read and write speeds. The Rocket Q came in right with the Viper VPN100 here which uses the same controller. This was a touch slower than the WD Black drives but still extremely fast for a PCIe 3.0 drive. Write speeds were again with the VPR100 and also with the WD Black drives as well but you can still see that PCIe 4.0 drive out ahead.

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While testing in CrystalDiskMark 6 I also took a look at random IOPS using the 8 queue depth and 8 thread test, both on reads and writes. The Rocket Q did well here but its read IOPS came in lower than the VPR100 for some reason but writes were a little faster, in fact, the fastest of the drives tested.

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I also tested with the newer CrystalDiskMark 7 as well, which is what I am moving to in the future. The Rocket Q didn’t do as well as the VPR100 here on the read sequential results, same with the 32 queue depth 16 thread test. Write speeds on the other hand were faster than all of the drives tested (though to be far on this one it is a short list lol).

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In PCMark 10 I ran both the full system drive benchmark and the data drive benchmark. The Rocket Q did well here but did fall a little behind the VRP100 which is running on the same controller in the data drive benchmark. The full system drive benchmark on the other hand the Rocket Q fell behind the other drives.

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Rather than run yet another sequential performance test using AS SSD, I prefer to check out their file transfer timed test that tests three different file types. Being timed, the lower the result the better on this one and I have combined the three results. The Rocket Q ends up coming in right with the WD Black drives on the totals mostly because of the program result which is faster than any of the other drives tested.

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In Passmark Performance Test 9 I ran through two tests. I did their full-disk mark test which gives us a total score after running multiple individual tests and I also ran a few of the default benchmarks in their advanced disk benchmark. For the disk mark score, the Rocket Q came in a little behind the VPR100 but out ahead of the always fast WD Black drives. In the advanced disk benchmark, the VPR100 was again out ahead as was the SN750 and the PCIe 4.0 MP600. The Rocket Q did well in the database test but fell behind in the workstation test.

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Using Anvil’s Storage Utilities I took another look at IOPS, this time with random IOPS at a queue depth of 16. The Rocket Q did well here, coming in just behind the VPR100 and the SN750 for PCIe 3.0 drives.

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I also used Anvil’s Storage Utilities to take a wider look at queue depth performance. For this, I manually tested both read and write speeds while stepping up the queue depth higher and higher to see if the 8 thread Phison controller would drop off. After a queue depth of 32, it didn’t drop in performance but the gains between tests were much smaller at that point on the read test. In the write test however it did extremely well up to a queue depth of 32 with only the PCIe 4.0 MP600 being faster but there was a drop off for the 64 queue depth result but again the Rocket Q was up in the top two drives there.

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I also wanted to check out thermals, so while running the AIDA64 Disk benchmark I used our thermal camera to get a look. I was mostly concerned with the controller on the Rocket Q being packed in between the last NAND and the DDR3L memory causing performance to drop but in the half-hour test performance stayed consistent across the board. The controller end of the drive did run warmer but the drive overall didn’t run too hot even after that stress test.

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Overall and Final Verdict

Being my first experience with Sabrent, I’ve been extremely impressed. The Rocket Q wasn’t the fastest drive that I have tested but it is still quick. I would normally complain about the blue PCB but the white and blue theme ties it all together and looks good. Sabrent even changed things up with the packaging and they include a nice tin which helps protect the drive as well. Its biggest benefit is that Sabrent isn’t shying away with larger capacities, in fact, you can’t even get the Rocket Q in a capacity lower than 500GB. A 2TB drive would be the largest size you can get in a lot of drives but they also include 4TB and 8TB options which are just crazy. Getting in the 2TB and above finally gets to a point where you can run just one SSD and not worry about what you are installing. Those biggest drives offer even more flexibility. My personal computer, over the last few years still hasn’t gone over 7TB with me installing any and all games that I pick up and or play.

Performance did struggle a little in some of the tests. Especially in the full PCMark 10 disk benchmark. More than that, overall when you look at the results you can see the Rocket Q staying close to the Viper VPR100 which runs the same controller but has TLC NAND where the QLC for the Rocket Q holds the drive back slightly. It does however help on the other end of things when it comes to pricing and this is where the Rocket Q stands out. When it's in stock you can get the 2TB model for $239.99 which only has the older WB Blue drive in that range and capacity and it is a slower drive. In the end, the Rocket Q ends up offering big capacities at good prices and performance which isn’t far off from the top of the charts!

fv5recommendedvalue

Live Pricing: HERE

 

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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