Up until Intel’s most recent launch, PCI Gen 4 has been limited to just the most recent AMD Ryzen chipsets which have been very popular. But now with both sides of the line having support Gen 4 devices will be more and more important. The Rocket Q4 that I previously took a look at was a Gen 4 drive, but it was just an updated controller on top of the normal Rocket setup. The Rocket 4 Plus is a PCIe Gen 4 drive like the previous Sabrent SSD I had in the office but this one is promising speeds closer to what you would expect for gen 4.0. Today I’m going to check it out to see what sets it apart and to find out how it performs compared with both Gen 4 and Gen 3 drives to see if it should be on your wishlist for your next build or upgrade.

Product Name: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 1TB

Review Sample Provided by: Sabrent

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

Specifications

Interface

NVMe M.2 PCIe Gen4 x4 Interface

Capacities

1TB, 2TB, and 4TB

NVMe

PCIe 4.0 Compliant / NVMe 1.3 Compliant

Power Management Support

Power Management Support for APST / ASPM / L1.2

NAND Flash

TLC NAND Flash

Controller

Phison PS5018-E18

Advertised Speeds

up to 7000 MB/s (read) and 5300 MB/s (write)

Package Contents

1TB Rocket 4+ Nvme PCIe 4.0 M.2 2280 SSD.

User Manual

Warranty

5-year warranty if registered with Sabrent within 90-days
1-year if unregistered

 


Photos and Features

Starting with the packaging, Sabrent stuck with their standard look but flipped things around from the Rocket Q4 that I took a look at which had a white background on its box. The Rocket 4 plus box has a large picture of the drive on the front with the Sabrent logo up top. Then below that, they have the model name and a short description that lets you know it is a Get 4 drive. The capacity is also on the front down at the bottom right corner. Around on the back of the box, most of that is repeated with just the picture changing to a different angle and the back having a bar code and model number listed.

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One thing that Sabrent does that no one else does is with their packaging all of their drives have a tin inside of the main box. This is well above and beyond what most SSDs come with, which is normally a plastic clamshell if you are lucky. Sticking with the opposite of the Rocket Q4 here the sticker is black with the branding, picture, and capacity then the tin itself still has that brass finish. Inside when you open the tin up there is an installation guide up on top. Then the drive comes in a foam tray with an M.2 sized cut out to keep it safe. Then up on top, they have a small piece that sits in over the top of the drive as well that you will need to pull out.

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So the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus is a standard 2280 length M.2. The drive itself has a black PCB then on top with Sabrient’s signature look they have a metal sticker. This has the Sabrent branding in the middle along with a second larger set of their hockey sticks. The capacity is over on the right and the model name is on the far left then the metal has the same color as the tin that the drive came in. The Rocket 4 Plus is available in three different capacities currently, the 1TB that I have here, a 2TB, and 4TB. The 4TB was recently added and the large sizes fit what Sabrent has been doing. They are one of the only companies pushing the limits on drive sizes.

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The back of the 1TB Rocket 4 Plus does also have a sticker on it as well. This one isn’t the metal style that also doesn’t as a heatspreader like on top. This side of the drive doesn’t have any components on it for the 1TB option but you can see through the sticker that there are pads that can be used on the larger capacity models. The back sticker has the model and serial number information which does mean your serial is hidden when installed but it also keeps the top clean looking.

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On the top, pulling the metal sticker off isn’t recommended in my opinion. Unlike other drives with stickers, the metal heatspreader stickers bend and never go back to the way they are after. So let this look under the sticker save you the trouble. Our 1TB model has four NAND on the left with IA7BG64AIA on them. These are Micron 96L TLC NAND and for the 1TB model, they are 256GB capacity. Next to those is a smaller SKHynix memory chip for cache which has the H5AN8G6NCJ which is DDR4 running at 2666MHz. Then at the end, next to the ram is a Phison branded chip which is the SSDs controller. This is a Phison PS5018-E18 which is an 8 channel controller.

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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: Corsair H100i RGB Platinum 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

 

Test Procedures

CrystalDiskMark

Sequential read and write speed testing and random read/write IOPS with 8qd and 8thread test. Testing is done on CDM 6 and CDM 7 as noted

AS SSD

File Copy benchmark using ISO, Program, and Game settings

Passmark Performance Test 9

Advanced Disk Benchmark using the four default tests Database, File Server, Web Server, and Workstation. We also test overall Storage Score. Normal Passmark storage test is also run with the overall score documented.

Anvil's Storage Utilities

We run the whole SSD benchmark but only use the 4K QD16 IOPS for random read performance

Queue Depth Testing

This uses Anvil’s as well, but we run individual tests set to 4k file size at a queue depth from 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and for read speeds 128

Real World Test

File transfer tests are done in Windows 10 using the default transfer tool. Tests are done with a folder filled with Word Documents, a folder filled with JPG and RAW photos, and a folder filled with movies


Performance

Before getting into testing I did run CrystalDiskInfo to document the Rocker 4 Plus’s firmware version and to make sure it is running at the correct transfer mode. Which in this case means making sure it is running a PCIe 4.0 x4 not as a Gen 3.0 and it was.

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My first round of tests were using CrystalDiskMark 7 which is a popular test that does a great job with its sequential tests to get the highest possible performance numbers out of drives. The Rocket 4 Plus did great here, for its performance in the sequential 1M test its read performance was 6558 MB/s with just the WD Black AN1500 which had two drives in raid outperforming just slightly. Its writer performance wasn’t as strong but was still at the top of the charts with it reaching 4475 MB/s.

cdmread
cdmwrite

I also took a look at the IOPS performance in CrystalDiskMark 7, specifically on the random 46 test at a queue depth of 32 and 16 threads. The Rocket 4 Plus didn’t do as well here, especially with the rear IOPS being lower than the Rocket Q4 but the writer performance improved over the previous drive but was still much lower than the rest of the drives tested.

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Next, I ran two tests in PCMark 10 which is closer to a real-world benchmark. They run a series of office and home programs and give the drive an overall score by the performance. The Rocket 4 Plus did very well here with the data drive benchmark having the drive up near the top and the full system drive benchmark having the Rocker 4 Plus way out ahead of everything else.

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The next benchmark was using AS SSD which its base benchmark is very similar to CrystalDiskMark. I skipped that and use their timed file transfer test which transfers three file types to see how each performs. I stack all three together so we can see overall which drive has the best overall performance by seeing the shortest bar. The Rocket 4 Plus matched some of the faster Gen 3 drives in the ISO transfer and on the games but was a little slower than the top drives on the program file transfer causing it to come in slower than the Rocker Q4 and a lot of the faster Gen 3 drives.

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Next in Passmark, I ran a few different benchmarks. I ran the Passmark Performance Test 9.0 disk mark which runs a few synthetic benchmarks to create a score. The Rocket 4 plus didn’t do very well here coming in below the MP400 and down just above some of the budget Gen 3 drives. Then I jumped into the advanced disk benchmark which has four default tests that look at enterprise situations. The workstation workload didn’t turn out too back and was an improvement over the Q4. The same goes for the web server workload which was the fastest of the four workloads on the Rocket 4 Plus, but there are drives like the WD Black drives that do much better on that and the file server tests. Then the database workload is the only result that has the Rocket 4 Plus out ahead of most of the drives tested with it performing right with the Intel 750 Series SSD and the SN750.

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In Anvil’s Storage Utilities I jumped back into IOPS benchmarks. Here I take a look at a less demanding situation where we have just a queue depth of 16. Here the Rocket 4 Plus was up near the top of the chart with just the Corsair MP600 being slightly faster. The read IOPS were the fastest tested and the write IOPS were the second fastest overall, competing with the MP600 on both. 

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Also in Anvil’s Storage Utilities, I did some manual testing as well. I ran tests of different queue depths for the read and writes to see how the controller handles things as they ramp up. I was curious on these because in my IOPS testing earlier the Rocket 4 Plus was slow with a single queue and thread but in the above test with a high queue depth, the write IOPS were impressive. The write transfer speeds weren’t slow at a single queue depth, in fact, they were one of the fastest with the exception of the Intel 750 and it stayed ahead of every drive up until the queue depth of 32 where it then fell off and dropped down slightly on the last test. The read tests weren’t as impressive, it did well at a single queue depth and up until a queue depth of 32 then it leveled off letting a lot of drives did significantly better on the high end.

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My favorite round of testing is still the actual real-world tests where I transfer files to and from the Rocket 4 Plus. For this, I have three folders, one filled with large movie files, another with RAW and JPG pictures, and a third with word documents. The movie files are large and look at sequential performance and are most likely to transfer the fastest, word documents are on the other end of the spectrum as they are tiny and very slow to transfer, then pictures hit the middle because they are larger but not too large.

Starting with the document transfers the Rocket 4 plus saw similar performance with both transferring the files to the drive and then back to the PC as well. The documents are always extremely demanding because of their small file size which can be seen with the low transfer speeds. This was similar to the Rocket Q4 but a little lower than some of the fastest drives I’ve seen in the past.

perf docs2drive

Documents to Rocket 4 Plus

perf docs2pc

Documents to PC

The photo transfers are closer to the middle ground when it comes to file size, not being as large as movies but we do see a big jump in performance because they aren’t tiny like the documents. Here the Rocket 4 Plus wrote to the drive at 774 MB/s and was even faster going back to the PC at 949 MB/s. Both were a good jump over the Rocket Q4.

perf pics2drive

Pictures to Rocket 4 Plus

perf pics2pc

Pictures to PC

The last tests were using movie files which are huge single files that then focus on pure sequential transfer speeds. Here the Rocker 4 Plus excelled. Copying the files to the SSD reached speeds of 1.83 GB/s which is well above what I’ve seen on any of the other drives tested. Even the Rocket Q4 which also did well in this test only saw 1.48 GB/s to the SSD. Pulling the files back to the PC was a little slower at 1.36 GB/s but was still faster than the 1.19 GB/s of the Rocker Q4.

perf movies2drive

Movies to Rocket 4 Plus

perf movies2pc

Movies to PC

Before finishing up I did also let the Rocket 4 Plus get warmed up using AIDA64 and took a look at the drive using our thermal camera. Even without a large heatsink the Rocket 4 Plus doesn’t do too bad for heat. The controller end of the SSD does run warmer, but not by a large amount.

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Overall and Final Verdict

Sabrent has been great at offering a wide selection of options, not just when it comes to capacities but also with drive variations for different workloads. The Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus is their third PCIe Gen 4.0 drive and in some ways, it has improved on some of the downsides of the Rocket Q4 that I previously took a look at. Especially when it comes to pure sequential performance. Its sequential read transfer speeds were 1500 MB/s faster than the Rocket Q4, its sequential write performance wasn’t quite as fast as the read but were still a big improvement over the Rocket Q4 as well. That sequential performance also translated to solid real-world performance in our file transfer tests as well, especially with large files like the movie files and to a lesser extent the photo file transfers as well.

The Rocket 4 Plus did well in my queue depth testing on the write side of things but on the read queue depth tests fell off after a queue depth of 32. It also struggled on the write performance in high queue depth IOPS testing. Those issues hurt the drive's performance in synthetic tests like Passmark but in more real-world focused tests like PCMark 10, it did well.

Like with other Sabrent drives, the Rocket 4 Plus has a good selection of capacity options available now that they have a 4TB option available. They don’t have small capacity options, but for a total system drive you can get in the 1TB option, I tested here, 2TB, and then 4TB. The 1TB option tested here has an MSRP of $199 which has it competing with the WD Black SN850 and Seagate’s Firecuda 520. It isn’t an entry-level option for a PCIe 4.0 drive at this size, the Rocket Q4 and the normal Rocket PCIe 4.0 have that covered down in the $139/$149 range. I haven’t had the chance to test the SN850 yet, but it does have slightly higher promised sequential numbers which could make the Rocket 4 Plus a touch overpriced but it does compare well against other drives in this price range like the Firecuda 520.

fv5

Live Pricing: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://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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