Team Group’s $99 480 GB SSD Review – SSD vs. SSHD

Intro

The Team Group L5 LITE 3D 480 GB SSD review

A Solid State Drive (SSD) has an advantage for a gamer over a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) by saving time loading games and game levels.  Although game framerates are identical, a SSD will give an enthusiast a noticeable performance boost by loading apps faster while using less power.  Unfortunately, the past 18 months have seen SSD flash memory prices raise, making the transition to an SSD expensive. 

It appears that SSD pricing has recently softened, and we purchased two Team Group L5 LITE 3D 2.5″ 480 GB SSDs (T253TD480G3C101) in January for $99 each, shipped from Newegg.  And since then, although they list for $128, they have been on sale 3 times for $99.  This review intends to determine if a $99 480 GB SSD is cost-effective and suitable for a gamer.

BTR has been using two older generation 240 GB SATA III HyperX SSDs for our Windows boot drives, but they are too small for Windows Store games which work best on C drive, so we upgraded to two Team Group 480 GB SSDs.  We always use two identical boot drives – one for AMD and one for NVIDIA – and we also use a 1.92 TB SanDisk SSD for our primary game storage together with a 2 TB Seagate FireCuda SSHD (Solid State Hard Drive) hybrid caching/traditional hard drive for additional storage.  

For this review, we are going to compare 4 SSDs from several generations – the original Kingston 240 GB HyperX (brown) and its faster memory-equipped sibling, the 240 GB HyperX Blue; a 1.92 TB SanDisk enterprise-class SSD, and the 480 GB Team Group SSD – to a 2 TB FireCuda SSHD which is a traditional 7200 rpm Seagate HDD coupled with 8 GB of flash drive.  Both HyperX SSDs use 25nm MLC and the second generation of SandForce SSD controller (SF-2281).  The 1.92 TB SanDisk CloudSpeed ECO Gen II SSD (SXPLFA) is also a Generation II 15nm MLC SSD with an emphasis on enterprise reliability.  In contrast, the Team Group SSD uses 3D NAND.

Our testing platform is Windows 10 64-bit, using an Intel Core i7-8700K overclocked to 4.7 GHz for all cores as set in the EVGA Z370 FTW motherboard’s BIOS, and 16 GB of HyperX DDR4 at 3333MHz. The settings and hardware are identical except for the drives being tested, and the graphics are powered by a GTX 1070 Ti Founders Edition (FE).  We benchmark with all of our drives at less than 75% capacity, and in addition, all of the drives have been in use for months, so the results are as “real world” as they get.

First, here are the features and specifications of the Team Group L5 LITE 3D 480 GB SSD from Team Group’s website:

Features and Product Specifications

Features

  • 3D NAND – excellent choice for upgrade
  • Read/write speed is 4 times faster than traditional hard drive – breathe new life into old system
  • Smooth read/write speed – up to 470 MB/s of reading speed is able to enhance the speed and performance of the overall system
  • Ultra lightweight and slim – 2.5-inch hard drive with just 7.0 mm thickness, it can be installed on laptop or any other system
  • Support S.M.A.R.T. technology – monitoring hard drive status efficiently
  • Support TRIM – bring out its best performance on the compatible operating system
  • Three years product warranty with free technical support service

The Team Group SSD uses garbage collection and TRIM to keep the SSD operating efficiently, and there are the usual wear-leveling and error checking algorithms to insure the data transfers are accurate.  The specifications look good for a basic SSD with 3D NAND.  Let’s take a closer look by unboxing the Team Group 480 GB SSD next.