GOODRAM IRDM M.2 1TB Review: a Fast SSD for Gamers

By: Alex Chub | 15.03.2021, 21:46
GOODRAM IRDM M.2 1TB Review: a Fast SSD for Gamers

GOODRAM IRDM M.2 Against Its Competitors in 2021

GOODRAM IRDM M.2 SSD GOODRAM IRDM M.2 SSD
GOODRAM IRDM M.2 is a really smart M.2 PCIe drive for any mid-range and high performance gaming PC or laptop. Being not the fastest model with PCIe 4.0, (GOODRAM has faster ones) is an advantage, as not everyone has a PC which supports higher speeds. GOODRAM IRDM M.2 shows claimed high speed thanks to the TLC memory and 8-channel Phison E12 controller with DRAM buffer. At the same time, the speed drop after SLC cache filling is not so critical as in more affordable models. Highly recommended!
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But how is it compared to other SSDs available on the market?

4 Best SSDs for Gamers

Author's Choice GOODRAM IRDM M.2 SSD review GOODRAM IRDM M.2 SSD
  • Capacities: 256/512 GB, 1/2 TB; Form Factor: M.2 2280
  • Sequential Read/Write (Up to): 3200 / 3000 MB/s; Warranty: 5 Years
  • Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3; Endurance (Up to): 1200 TBW
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People's Choice Samsung 970 EVO Plus review Samsung 970 EVO Plus
  • Capacities: 250/500 GB, 1/2 TB; Form Factor: M.2 2280
  • Sequential Read/Write (Up to): 3500 / 3200 MB/s; Warranty: 5 Years
  • Interface/Protocol: PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe 1.3; Endurance (Up to): 1200 TBW
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Premium Choice WD Black SN850 review WD Black SN850
  • Capacities: 500 GB, 1/2 TB; Form Factor: M.2 2280
  • Sequential Read/Write (Up to): 7000 / 5300 MB/s; Warranty: 5 Years
  • Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4; Endurance (Up to): 1200 TBW
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Best Budget WD Blue SN550 review WD Blue SN550
  • Capacities: 250/500 GB, 1/2 TB; Form Factor: M.2 2280
  • Sequential Read/Write (Up to): 2400 / 1800 MB/s; Warranty: 5 Years
  • Interface/Protocol: PCIe 4.0 x4 / NVMe 1.4; Endurance (Up to): 1200 TBW
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GOODRAM IRDM M.2 Detailed Overview

So what makes the Googram IRDM M.2 different is the abundance of features that come directly on the SSD.

Packaging

GOODRAM IRDM M.2 is delivered in a black and red box with a lot of colorful printing, including pictures of the drive itself and all technical specifications. On the back there is a small "window" to look at the SSD.

GOODRAM IRDM M.2 Design

GOODRAM IRDM M.2 is an SSD drive in M.2 form factor 2280 with PCI Express 3.0 x4 interface with simple design. In contrast to some top gamers models, the cooling radiator was not installed. Instead you’ll find a thin heat-dissipating plate. However, it will be enough. It is designed in the style of GOODRAM IRDM gaming range: black with red logo in the middle. Underneath there are two memory chips, controller and DRAM memory chip.

On the back side of the drive you can see two memory chips under the sticker with technical information. On the right side there is another DRAM memory chip. On this side you can see its brand marking. It is SK Hynix H5AN4G8NBJR 4GB DDR4-2400:

No matter there is a heat-dissipating plate, the drive is thin, almost standard. And there will be no problem installing it in any ultrabook.

GOODRAM IRDM M.2 Performance

GOODRAM IRDM M.2 SSDs are available in 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB, M.2 (2280) form factor, PCIe Gen 3.0 x4 interface, NVMe 1.3. It features 3D NAND TLC memory and a Phison E12 controller with DRAM buffer. The Phison PS5012-E12 is a dual-core eight-channel 28nm controller with 667MB/s throughput per channel. It promises an MTBF of 1,800,000 hours and a TBW (Total Bytes Written) of 600 TB for the 1TB model under test. A 5-year warranty for its drives is provided by the manufacturer.

The declared read speed is up to 3200 MB/s and write speed - up to 3000 MB/s, number of random read and write operations of 4KB files up to 250,000 IOPS and up to 500,000 IOPS. The maximum speed is achieved through SLC caching and DRAM buffer. In simple terms, maximum speed can be achieved by writing relatively small amounts of data to the drive. Then the cache gets full and the speed decreases. Which is typical for all such drives. In synthetic tests the drive shows the claimed speed figures. Of course, depending on the test (and, accordingly, testing methodology), there is some variation in speed. But in general, GOODRAM IRDM M.2 1 TB is fast.

Judging by the AIDA64 linear write test, the SLC cache capacity is about 20 GB, which is quite modest. Though usually the more expensive models have a bigger capacity. Further on the graph has a jumpy shape, which is caused by the DRAM-buffer, its filling and clearing. Throughout the test, the write speed did not drop below 900 MB/sec. And the average speed was about 1200 MB/s, which is not bad at all.

SSD was tested with a newly built PC with plenty of coolers, thanks to which the temperature of the drive during the tests did not rise above 30°. Of course, in tight ultrabook conditions, for example, the situation will obviously be different. But we have not come across any severely overheating M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs lately.

Original Software

The GOODRAM OPTIMUM SSD Tool software is provided for working with the drive. It is quite convenient and easy to use. At the same time it offers all the necessary features: monitoring the state of the drive, firmware update, built-in speed test and data transfer from the drive to the drive.

 

If you still hesitate, whether to buy GOODRAM IRDM M.2 or not, see its main Pros and Cons, and then compare with competitors further.

Pros:

  • High-speed performance
  • Slim body with heat-dissipating plate
  • Good price to features ratio
  • Functional software

Cons:

  • Relatively small SLC cache size

How Does It Stack Up Against Competitors?

People's Choice

Samsung 970 EVO Plus Samsung 970 EVO Plus
  • Fast and reliable
  • Reasonable cost per gigabyte
  • Useful bundled software
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Samsung 970 EVO Plus was one of the first SSD with 9x-layer 3D V-NAND memory. Compared to the previous generation, Samsung has achieved significant growth in performance and power efficiency. The speed is close to the limits of PCI Express 3.0 x4, and even when SLC cache is full, it sometimes exceeds 1500 MB/s. In addition to benchmarking, Magician software allows you to manage the hardware encryption function. You can also download a Samsung driver to improve performance. The 970 EVO Plus copes well with heavy loads and is highly reliable.

GOODRAM IRDM M.2 VS Samsung 970 EVO Plus

Samsung 970 EVO Plus GOODRAM IRDM M.2
Form Factor M.2 M.2
Interface PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3 PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3
Capacity 1 TB (also available 256/512 GB and 2 TB) 1 TB (also available 256/512 GB and 2 TB)
Memory Type Samsung 9x-layer V-NAND TLC 3D NAND TLC (SK Hynix)
Controller Samsung Phoenix 8-channel Phison E12 with DRAM buffer
Maximum Read Speed 3500 MB/s 3200 MB/s
Maximum Write Speed 3300 MB/s 3000 MB/s
LifeTime, Warranty 600 TBW, 5 years 1 800 000 hours, 600 TBW (Total Bytes Written), 5 years
Dimensions 22x80x2.38 mm 22x80x3.5 mm

Premium Choice

WD Black SN850 WD Black SN850
  • Extremely fast
  • Future-proof PCIe Gen 4 standard
  • Gamer friendly features
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If you are looking for an SSD with the highest write speed, WD Black SN850 will give you exactly that. WD's flagship NVMe SSD is much closer to fully utilizing the PCIe 4.0 interface. Sequential read performance tops out at 7GB/s while writing speed is up to 5.3 GB/s (1TB model). The drive is exceptionally good at dealing with large files, but gets hot under load. There is no thermal throttling happening, although a beefy heat spreader won't hurt. The company released the RGB-enabled heatsink model in the first quarter of 2021. The WD Dashboard software can activate the game mode, which turns off power-saving features for maximum performance. While designed for gamers in mind, the SN850 is also great for creatives

GOODRAM IRDM M.2 VS WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850 GOODRAM IRDM M.2
Form Factor M.2 M.2
Interface PCIe 4.0 x4, NVMe 1.4 PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3
Capacity 1 TB (also available 500 GB and 2 TB) 1 TB (also available 256/512 GB and 2 TB)
Memory Type BiCS4 96L TLC 3D NAND TLC (SK Hynix)
Controller WD_BLACK G2 8-channel Phison E12 with DRAM buffer
Maximum Read Speed 7000 MB/s 3200 MB/s
Maximum Write Speed 5300 MB/s 3000 MB/s
LifeTime, Warranty 600 TBW, 5 years 1 800 000 hours, 600 TBW (Total Bytes Written), 5 years
Dimensions 22x80x2.38 mm (23.40 mm thick with heatsink) 22x80x3.5 mm

Best Budget

WD Blue SN550 WD Blue SN550
  • Solid cost-per-gigabyte ratio
  • Stays relatively cool when in operation
  • 5 year warranty, which is above average
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Compared to the top drives, WD Blue SN550 has lost DRAM and acquired a small SLC cache. But in its price range it easily beat its major competitors. When the cache is exhausted, write speeds drop from 2,000 MB/s to 850-880 MB/s, which is not bad at all. SN550 shows excellent results in game launch tests. Its performance is more than enough for the average user. Under normal conditions the temperature of controller and NAND flash chips does not reach 70 degrees after which thermal throttling should be kicked in. The 5 year warranty is also a nice surprise. This is still a rare thing for affordable devices.

GOODRAM IRDM M.2 VS WD Blue SN550

WD Blue SN550 GOODRAM IRDM M.2
Form Factor M.2 M.2
Interface PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.4 PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3
Capacity 1 TB (also available 250/500 GB and 2 TB) 1 TB (also available 256/512 GB and 2 TB)
Memory Type SanDisk 96L TLC 3D NAND TLC (SK Hynix)
Controller WD in-house 8-channel Phison E12 with DRAM buffer
Maximum Read Speed 2400 MB/s 3200 MB/s
Maximum Write Speed 1950 MB/s 3000 MB/s
LifeTime, Warranty 600 TBW, 5 years 1 800 000 hours, 600 TBW (Total Bytes Written), 5 years
Dimensions 22x80x2.38 mm 22x80x3.5 mm

The Verdict

GOODRAM IRDM M.2 is a fast SSD with good thermal performance at an affordable price. It is designed specifically for gamers, but can equally be used for office laptops or mobile workstations. If you need a better speed or more affordable price, you can consider GOODRAM competitors from the list above.

GOODRAM IRDM M.2 SSD GOODRAM IRDM M.2 SSD
  • Decent performance for the price
  • Doesn't get very hot under load
  • Bundled software is a plus
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