T-FORCE CARDEA A440 PRO Special Series M.2 PCIe 4.0 Gen4 x4 2TB SSD – Developed for the PS5 but good for PC gamers?
SSD (Solid State Drive) technology is always improving and its pricing remains reasonable as speed and capacities increase. SSD technology has become accessible to PC gamers who need more and more storage as games grow larger. We received a 2TB T-FORCE CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series SSD from TeamGroup that appears to have been especially developed for the PlayStation 5 as its lettering indicates Pro Special 5eries.
The A440 Pro Special Series is a very fast Gen 4 x4 PCIe 4.0 7,400MBps/7,000 MBps PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD. We put it through its paces against six other SSDs. We especially want to see if it is practically faster for PC gaming than our other two NVMe Gen 4 x4 SSDs – a 1TB 7,000MBps/6,000MBps SSD or our 2TB 5,000 MBps/4,400 MBps SSD.
We will also focus on its performance by comparing it with three other NVMe/PCIe SSDs, a portable USB 3.2 SSD, and a fast SATA III SSD: (1) a 1TB CARDEA A440 (7,000/6000MBps Gen 4 x4), (2) a 2TB CARDEA Ceramic C440 (5,000/4400MBps Gen 4 x4), (3) the 1TB CARDEA IOPS SSD (3,400/3000MBps, Gen 4 x3), (4) a now midrange TeamGroup 1TB MP33 (1,800/1,500MBps, Gen 3 x4 SSD), (5) a 4TB M200 portable USB 3.2 Type C SSD, and (6) a fast 1TB Delta MAX White RGB (560MBps/510MBps) SATA III SSD.
The T-FORCE CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series SSD is available in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacities, priced at Amazon at $287.99 for the 2TB version. The T-FORCE CARDEA A440 (vanilla) SSD that we reviewed in January is at Amazon for $299.99 for 2TB, but it comes with two heatsinks. They are both in a similar price range to other fast PCIe 4.0 Gen4 x4 SSDs currently available. For additional price comparisons, the 1TB SATA III Delta MAX is $124.99 at Amazon and it offers RGB lighting. The TeamGroup 2TB MP33 SSD is $179.99, the T-FORCE CARDEA IOPS is $119.99 only offered in a 1TB capacity, and the 2TB CARDEA Ceramic C440 version is priced at $259.
Here are the features and specifications of the T-FORCE CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series SSD which are taken directly from TeamGroup’s website.
- PCIe Gen4x4 Interface & Crazy Fast Read/ Write Speeds of >7000
- Special Edition White Ultra-thin Patented Graphene Cooling Fins with Zero Interference
- Ultra-large 4TB Gaming Storage Space
- Five-year Warranty for Maximum Protection
- Taiwan Invention Patent (number : I703921)
- United States Patent (number : US11051392B2)
- China Utlity Patent (number : CN 211019739 U)
The specifications, based on CrystalDiskMark, boast up to 7,400 Read MB/s / 7,000 MB/s Write for the 2TB version and slightly lower Read/Write speeds for the 1TB version which are excellent for a Gen 4 x4 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD. Although it features a SLC cache that will degrade beyond its capacity threshold and isn’t capable of sustaining its write performance until full, it is exceptional for gaming and most applications. The 2TB model is rated for up to 1,400TB of Write backed by a five year guarantee and it features S.M.A.R.T and Trim support.
Next we unbox the T-FORCE CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series SSD and take a closer look at it.
Unboxing, Heatsink installation, and Temperatures Under Load
The TeamGroup T-FORCE CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series SSD comes in a small box that advertises PCIe 4.0 and a white graphine heatsink as pictured on the front.
Here is the back of the box which warns the buyer that the up to 7,400 MB/s / 7,000 MB/s transfer speeds can vary according to hardware/software conditions and are only to be used for basic reference. It offers a 5-year warranty and demonstrates the heatsink – a thin white Graphene copper foil – that will allow the SSD to be placed behind a video card or into the PS5.
Here is a closer look at the T-FORCE CARDEA A440 Pro SSD in its inner packaging with the heatsink and thermal material below it.
The front of the CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series carries a sticker which warns that the warranty may be void if removed. It’s meaningless as there is only a bare PCB below the sticker.
The ICs are on one side of the PCB and the A440 Pro uses Phison’s E18 and Micron’s 176L TLC to achieve its rated speeds.
The A440 Pro Special Series comes with just one heatsink unlike the regular A440 which comes with a second finned heatsink. The Graphene heatsink is covered with a lot of unnecessary text, but it is designed to be thin and hidden behind a video card. It is also ideal for installation in a PlayStation 5.
The white heatsink is good-looking and easily attaches to the Pro.
Installing the heatsink is simple; remove the plastic covering from the sticky thermal interface material and apply it to the heatsink taking care to cover all the modules.
It is important to use a heatsink as temperatures will easily exceed 80C without one. But using the graphene heatsink behind a video card only drops temperatures by about 5C. Stressing the A440 Pro by copying 100GB over and over resulted in temps close to 80C, and using AIDA64’s drive torture test, it reached 76C. Unlike the difficult to cool CARDEA Ceramic C440 (5,000MBps/4400MBps) that has ICs on both sides of its PCB, the A440 only uses modules on one side, but it still runs too hot to be cooled by its supplied white graphene heatsink.
We measured the temperatures using Crystal Disk Info and Hardware Info 64 which were in agreement, and the SSD became much too hot to touch. In fact, we saw significant loss of performance as the SSD throttled its speeds in an attempt to cool down
We also tested the A440 Pro with the finned heatsink the regular A440 came with and temperatures stayed well below 70C under the most demanding conditions without throttling. We didn’t know why TeamGroup decided to include an additional heatsink with the regular A440 but not with the Pro, so we let them know that we found the graphene heatsink inadequate. They replied:
“We suggest that you use the NVMe heatsink that comes with ASUS ROG Maximus Apex motherboard, and also please suggest users do it this way also.
The CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series SSD is originally designed within the PS5 environment, so when it comes with higher data transfers, the temperature will go higher than expected.”
If your motherboard has an integrated NVMe heatsink, you will wish to use it. If not, buy a NVMe heatsink. They should install easily over the A440 Pro’s graphene heatsink. In this way, the A440 will remain cool and never throttle due to heat.
Using the NVMe heatsink included with the ASUS ROG Maximus Apex motherboard, we never saw temperatures even rise to 50C.
After installing the CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series, the user may need to format it before use. If you are planning to clone it, make sure both disks are GUID or convert one of them first. Lets look at our test configuration next.
Test Configuration – Hardware
- Intel Core i9-12900KF (HyperThreading and Turbo boost at stock settings)..
- ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex LGA 1700 motherboard (Intel Z690 chipset, latest BIOS, PCIe 5.0, DDR5)
- T-FORCE DELTA RGB PC5-51200 6400MHz DDR5 CL40 2x16GB kit, supplied by TeamGroup
- GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, supplied by NVIDIA
- T-FORCE CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD, supplied by TeamGroup
- T-FORCE CARDEA A440 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD, supplied by TeamGroup
- T-FORCE CARDEA Ceramic C440 2TB PCIe Gen 4 x4 NVMe SSD
- T-FORCE CARDEA IOPS 1TB PCIe Gen 4 x3 NVMe SSD, supplied by TeamGroup
- TeamGroup MP33 1TB NVMe Gen 3 x4 PCIe SSD
- T-FORCE M200 4TB Portable Gen 2 x2 USB 3.2 Type C SSD, supplied by TeamGroup
- T-FORCE DELTA MAX White 1TB SATA III SSD, supplied by TeamGroup
- Super Flower LedEx, 1200W Platinum 80+ power supply unit
- MSI MAG Series CORELIQUID 360R (AIO) 360mm liquid CPU cooler
- Corsair 5000D ATX mid-tower (plus 1 x 140mm fan; 2 x 120mm Noctua fans)
- BenQ EW3270U 32? 4K HDR 60Hz FreeSync monitor
Test Configuration – Software
- Gaming results show loading time in seconds and lower is better
- Windows 11 Professional edition; latest updates/build
- Latest DirectX
- All benchmarking programs are updated to their latest versions
- S.M.A.R.T. Tool (TeamGroup)
PC Game & Level Loading Suite
- PCMark 8 (World of Warcraft & Battlefield 3)
- Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Benchmark – loading times of five different levels
- Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Benchmark – loading times of five different levels
- 3DMark Storage Benchmark (Battlefield V, Call of Duty, Overwatch)
Synthetic Benching Tests & Suites
- SiSoft Sandra 2020/2021
- PCMark 10 Pro version courtesy of UL (Full Storage Benchmark, Express, Extended)
- PCMark 8
- SPECworkstation3 (3.0.4) Benchmarks
- Anvil’s Storage Utilities
- TxBENCH Basic
- HD Tune
- AS SSD
- HD Tach
- 100GB File Copy Timed Test
Let’s head to our benching results.
Benchmarking the CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series SSD
Benchmarking SSDs is not an exact science as there is variability between runs, and different benchmarks may show different results depending on how they run their tests and how up-to-date the benchmarks are. However, by using enough real world and synthetic tests, it may be possible to get a good idea of the relative performance across all seven tested drives. For benchmark results, the drives are listed in the following order on the charts:
- T-FORCE CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 Gen 4 x4 SSD
- T-FORCE CARDEA A440 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 Gen 4 x4 SSD
- T-FORCE CARDEA Ceramic C440 1TB PCIe 4.0 Gen 4 x4 NVMe SSD
- T-FORCE CARDEA IOPS 1TB PCIe Gen 3 x4 NVMe SSD
- TeamGroup MP33 1TB NVMe Gen 3 x4 PCIe SSD
- T-FORCE M200 4TB Portable Gen 2 x2 USB 3.2 Type C SSD
- T-FORCE Delta MAX SATA III 1TB SSD
We did not set up Windows on the DELTA MAX SSD, so not all of the benchmarks could be run on it. All of the drives will have their results summarized by multiple charts although we will not show the details for every run. Let’s start first with TeamGroup’s own S.M.A.R.T. utility to get information on each SSD tested.
This TeamGroup S.M.A.R.T. utility tests each drive using three different sets of tests.
First up, the CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series dual performance tests starting with MB/s with the IOPs results immediately below followed by the latency results at the bottom.
Next, the CARDEA A440 dual performance tests starting with MB/s, IOPs and Latency.
Now, the performance tests for the T-FORCE CARDEA Ceramic C440 in MB/s, IOPs and Latency.
Here are the dual performance tests in MB/s, IOPS, and Latency for the T-FORCE CARDEA IOPS.
Next we look at the performance tests in MB/s, IOPS and Latency for the TeamGroup MP33 SSD.
Next, the T-FORCE M200 4TB Portable Gen 2 x2 USB 3.2 Type C SSD dual performance tests starting with MB/s, IOPS and Latency
Finally, the Delta MAX dual performance tests starting with MB/s, IOPS and Latency.
S.M.A.R.T. clearly shows the PCIe NVMe CARDEA A440 Pro is the fastest SSD by virtue of its fast Read speeds, followed by the vanilla A440, the CARDEA Ceramic C440, the CARDEA IOPS, the TeamGroup MP33 SSD, the Type C Portable SSD, and in last place, the SATA III SSD – the Delta MAX SSD.
TeamGroup’s S.M.A.R.T. tool is a great place to start, so let’s see what other synthetic and real world tests show. Let’s begin with 3DMark’s storage benchmark.
3DMark Storage Benchmark
3DMark’s Professional version by UL includes a Storage Benchmark (optional in the Advanced version) which also measures the time it takes to load several popular games. We are going to only show the Gen 4 x4 SSDs detailed results but will summarize all of them. If you wish to see the detailed results of the other SSDs , please check the T-FORCE M200 SSD review from earlier this year.
First, the A440 Pro Special Series results with 3229.
Next, the CARDEA A440 results with 3844.
The CARDEA Ceramic C440 scores 3009.
Here’s the summary chart of all seven of our tested drives.
It’s interesting that the CARDEA A440 is a standout as fastest SSD using this benchmark, followed by the A440 Pro Special Series, the C440, the IOPS, the MP33, the portable Type C SSD, and the SATA III DELTA MAX.
Next up, another important UL benchmark suite, PCMark 10 including the full benching suites – Express, Extended, and the Full System Drive Benchmark.
PCMark 10 Professional
UL (formerly Futuremark) has been a developer and publisher of PC benchmark applications for nearly two decades. Although PCMark benches are synthetic suites, they provide a good measure of system performance. PCMark 10 was primarily developed for Windows 10 and it builds upon the PCMark 8 suite for a package of vendor-neutral home and office benchmarks.
The regular version of PCMark 10 misses several key elements such as detailed storage testing, but the Professional version, which we use courtesy of UL, includes a storage benchmark and a full system drive benchmark. In addition, We use both PCMark 10’s Express and Extended suite also. First up is the Full System Drive Benchmark.
Full System Drive Benchmark
First, the A440 Pro Special Series results with 2917. We used the same version of 3DMark to test all of our SSDs and did not install the latest recent update for consistency across all drives. Again, we show the detailed results of only our fastest three PCIe 4.0 Gen4 x4 SSDs.
Next, we test the CARDEA A440 which scores 3474.
The CARDEA Ceramic results give 2223.
Here’s the summary chart of all of our tested drives.
Again, we see the NVMe PCIe SSDs line up in their expected order from fastest (left) to slowest (right) with the exception that the A440 Pro Special Series scores lower than the regular A440.
The PCMark 10 Express benchmark suite is best suited for office tasks while the Extended benchmarks are for power users. To properly compare the PCMark 10 scores, look at the detailed results for the three fastest SSDs which are presented as screenshots. Open the images in separate tabs for easy individual test result comparisons. All seven SSD results will be summarized after the screenshots are presented.
PCMark 10 Express
First, the A440 Pro Special Series results with 7468.
Now the online validated score which gives more detailed results.
Next up, the CARDEA A440 Express score with 7480.
Now the online validated score with more detailed results.
Now, the CARDEA Ceramic C440 Express score is 7188
The online results follow.
The summary chart is presented after the Extended scores.
PCMark 10 Extended
First up, the CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series Extended score is 13257.
Now the online results.
Next, the CARDEA A440 Extended score is 13452.
Here are the online details.
The CARDEA Ceramic C440 Extended score is 13384.
The online details are below.
Here’s the summary chart. The Delta MAX SATA III SSD could not be tested since Windows is not set up on it.
In the express suite, the CARDEA IOPS SSD actually scores highest followed by the A440 which just edges out the A440 Pro, the MP33, and then the C440 in the least demanding office Extended Office benchmarks. The more demanding Extended suite lines up the SSDs all rather closely except for the Portable SSD.
Let’s check out the older PCMark 8 benchmark suite which also uses dedicated storage tests.
To see exactly where drive performance results differ, there is no better tool than SiSoft’s Sandra 2020. Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is a complete information & diagnostic utility in one package. It is able to provide all of the information about your hardware, software, and other devices for diagnosis and for benchmarking.
AIDA64 is the successor to Everest and it is an important industry tool for benchmarkers. AIDA64’s benchmark code is written in Assembly language, and they are well-optimized for AMD, Intel and VIA processors by utilizing the appropriate instruction set extensions. We use the Engineer’s version of AIDA64 courtesy of FinalWire. AIDA64 is free to to try and use for 30 days.
- The Linear Read test measure sequential performance by reading or writing all sectors without skipping any. It’s a linear view of the drives overall performance from its beginning to end.
- The Random Read test measures the random performance by reading variable-sized data blocks at random locations on the drive and they are combination of both speed and access times as its position changes before each new operation.
- The Buffered Read test measures the drive caching.
- The Access time tests are designed to measure the data access performance by reading 0.5 KB data blocks at random drive locations
Next up, the C440 Ceramic SSD Read tests.
Here is the summary chart comparing our seven tested drives where higher is better except for the Average Read Access where lower is better.
SPECworkstation3 (3.0.4) Storage Benchmarks
All the SPECworkstation3 benchmarks are based on professional applications, most of which are in the CAD/CAM or media and entertainment fields. All of these benchmarks are free except to vendors of computer-related products and/or services. The most comprehensive workstation benchmark is SPECworkstation3. It’s a free-standing benchmark which does not require ancillary software. It measures GPU, CPU, storage and all other major aspects of workstation performance based on actual applications and representative workloads.
Anvil’s Storage Utilities
Anvil’s Storage Utilities is a tool designed to benchmark and evaluate the Read and Write performance of SSDs and HDDs. It gives overall bandwidth as well separate Read and Write scores, the response times, and IOPS capabilities.
CrystalDiskMark is a HDD benchmark utility for your drives that measure sequential and random read/write speeds. Here are some key features of “CrystalDiskMark”:
- Measure sequential reads/writes speed
- Measure random 512KB, 4KB, 4KB (Queue Depth=32) reads/writes speed
- Results given in IOPS or MB/s
TxBENCH is similar to CrystalDiskMark but with additional features including secure erase. According to the website, “It not only measures the performance of storage easily but also performs detailed speed measurements based on specified access patterns and long-period speed measurements. It also allows you to see each drive’s supported features, enabled features, and S.M.A.R.T. information.”
First we test the A440 Pro Special Series SSD.
Next we test the A440.
Now the CARDEA Ceramic C440 results.
This free standalone synthetic test is old and it doesn’t represent real world performance but it does test some important drive metrics. There is also a pay-for HD Tune Pro which is up-to-date and offers more functionality. We tried the Pro trial recently just to make sure the free version is still relevant. HD Tune has the following functions, and it measures the performance of:
- Transfer Rate
- Access Time
- CPU Usage
- Burst Rate
- Random Access test
- Write benchmark
Hard Disk information includes partition information, supported features, firmware version, serial number, disk capacity, buffer size, transfer mode.
- Hard Disk Health
- S.M.A.R.T. Information (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology)
- Power On Time
- Error scan
- Temperature display
The HD Tune benchmark results are summarized by the chart below.
Next, we benchmark using AS SSD.
AS SSD is designed for Solid State Drives (SSD). This tool contains synthetic and practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD without using operating system caches. In Seq-test the program measures how long it takes to read and write a 1GB file.
In the 4K test, read and write performance for random 4K blocks are determined. The 4K-64-thrd test are similar to the 4K procedure except that the read and write operations on 64 threads are distributed as in the usual start of a program. For the copy test, two large ISO file folders are created, programs with many small files, and a games folder with small and large files. These three folders are copied by the OS copy command with the cache turned on. AS SSD gives an overall score after it runs the benchmarks.
Below are the T-FORCE CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series SSD results showing the results in MB/s next to IOPS, and below them, the copy speeds.
Next are the T-FORCE CARDEA A440 AS SSD results showing the results in MB/s next to IOPS, and below them, the copy speeds.
Next are the T-FORCE CARDEA Ceramic C440AS SSD results.
Again, both of the CARDEA A440 SSDs stands out with the vanilla version edging out the Pro. The CARDEA C440 is next followed by the IOPS, the MP33, the portable, and finally the Delta MAX.
HD Tach is up next.
HD Tach is a low level hardware benchmark for random access read/write storage devices that was developed by Simpli Software. HD Tach uses custom device drivers and low level Windows interfaces to determine the physical performance of the device. It is no longer supported and needs to be run in compatibility mode for Windows 10.
We present the benchmarks first with the Quick benchmark (8MB zones) on the left and the Long benchmark (32MB zones) on the Right.
Here are the A440 Pro HD Tach results with an average read of 2486.0MB/s for the Quick bench and 2335.4MB/s for the Long bench.
Here are the A440 HD Tach results with an average read of 2212.5MB/s for the Quick bench and 2308.1MB/s for the Long bench.
The T-FORCE CARDEA Ceramic C440 HD Tach results give an average read of 2321.0MB/s for the Quick bench and 2150.7MB/s for the Long bench.
Here are the HD Tach Disk benches summarized in a chart comparing our seven drives. For read speeds, higher is better but for access times, lower is better.
The CARDEA A440 Pro again generally scores the fastest in HD Tach ahead of the A440, although the CARDEA C440 trades blows with the vanilla A440, followed by the IOPS, then by the MP33 SSD, the portables SSD, and the SATA III Delta MAX takes last place as usual.
Next we look at game/level loading speeds.
The Game/Level Loading Timed Results – FFXIV
Game and game level loading time results are difficult to measure precisely but generally SSDs perform similarly with regard to game loading times and they all load significantly faster than any HDD. Even SSHDs require loading the same level or program over-and-over to get quicker. We tested 5 levels and overall loading times accurately by using the Final Fantasy XIV: Stormbringer & Endwalker benchmarks.
The Shadowbringers Benchmark will not only give you accurate framerates averages, it precisely times how long it takes to load each of 5 different levels and the total loading time. We used maximum settings.
Let’s start with the Shadowbringer benchmark using the A440 Pro. Total Loading times are 8.068 seconds.
We also use the newer Endwalker benchmark and then summarize the results of our five tested SSDs.
The Endwalker benchmark is also just as detailed as Shadowbringers and is a very accurate test of loading game and level times.
We test using the Endwalker benchmark with the A440 Pro. Total Loading times are 7.888 seconds.
Here is the summary chart and we also include PCMark 8’s game loading tests.
For all 4 games and from multiple levels tested, both CARDEA A440s stand out with the vanilla version beating the Pro, followed generally by the C440, the IOPS, the MP33, the Delta MAX, and then the USB 3.2 Type C portable SSD. We see a 2-3 second difference between our fastest SSD and our slowest SATA III SSD with an additional second required to load from an external drive.
It does make an immersion difference for getting right back into the game. However, until developers start to target SSDs for PC game storage, only then we may see SSDs fully achieve the game loading performance they are capable of on Windows. In the meantime, PS5 gamers can take full advantage of either A440’s fast loading speeds. No matter what, faster is better when a gamer wants to get right back into a game.
Lets look at file copy speeds next.
File Copy 104GB
File copy speeds are important to gamers especially when they want to quickly transfer their game files from one location to another. We copy a 104GB folder containing Horizon 5 from its Steam folder to a desktop folder which is something we do regularly when setting up Steam games on multiple PCs. Pay careful attention to the charts (in green) that show the consistency and speed of file copies. They tend to show the ups and downs where each SSD runs out of cache and how long it takes to empty and refill it.
104GB File Copy
The A440 Pro Speciall Series SSD took 1 minutes and 17.0 seconds. to copy 104GB.
The A440 took 1 minutes and 44.0 seconds to copy 104GB.
The Ceramic C440 took 1 minutes and 59 seconds for the same copy.
The CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series SSD excels at copying well ahead of the two other Gen 4 x4 SSDs. The IOPS comes in fourth place well ahead of the MP200 portable and MP33 SSDs which are in turn faster than the Delta MAX SATA III SSD. Yet no matter how you look at it, even a SATA III SSD is much faster than any HDD or SSHD for copying large files. Consider taking a nap if you are going to copy 104GB using a hard drive.
Finally, let’s revisit game/level loading times plus all of our Summary charts and then reach our conclusion.
Summary Charts and Conclusion
Here are all of the gaming and summary charts again for easy reference followed by our conclusion.
The Game/Level Loading Time Results
Game and game level loading time results are difficult to measure precisely (such as by using a stopwatch) but our tests are far more consistent. Here are the World of Warcraft and Battlefield 3 loading times again as measured precisely by PCMark 8’s storage test and accurately by Final Fantasy XIV: Stormbringer/Endwalker’s benchmarks. Lower (quicker/faster) loading times (measured in seconds) are better.
PCMark’s Storage Benchmark also provides precise SSD bandwidth, loading times, game record, install, and save time comparisons.
All seven SSDs load games quickly but the three Generation 4 x4 PCIe SSDs stand out from Generation 3 x4 and especially from SATA III and external SSDs. When PC game developers start to target SSDs for game storage, only then may we see SSDs achieve the super-fast game loading performance they are capable of. Until then, PlayStation 5 gamers may take full advantage of either CARDEA A440’s fast loading speeds.
Non-Gaming Summary Charts
Here are all of the summary charts presented again in one place.
A gamer who wishes to have the very fastest PC will choose an internal PCIe 4.0 Gen 4 x4 NVMe SSD, and both CARDEA Ceramic A440 SSDs stand out as the fastest drives, and noticeably faster than the CARDEA C440. The CARDEA IOPS slots into fourth place well ahead of the TeamGroup MP33 or M200 Portable SSDs, and finally the Delta MAX SATA III SSD is almost always in last place.
For gaming and for regular tasks on current Intel platforms, any SSD will provide decent game and level loading performance well above that of mechanical hard drives or even hybrid (SSHD)drives, but a PCIe 4.0 NVMe Gen 4 x4 will provide the highest performance. Let’s head for our conclusion.
The Conclusion & Verdict
We would suggest that 1TB has become the minimum storage capacity for a gamer that includes the operating system since PC games have grown very large although 512GB may still be acceptable. It still is not mandatory to have a SSD if you only use your PC for gaming and have a ton of patience. Games do not usually perform significantly better on SSDs since most PC developers still target HDDs for game performance optimization. However, games usually take significantly longer to load from a HDD or SSHD than they do from any internal SATA III drive or even from an external USB 3.0 SSD.
If a gamer wants to get right back into the game, any SSD will improve immersion and decrease frustration compared with using a HDD or SSHD. Windows 10/11 have become positively painful to use when installed on a mechanical or even on a hybrid solid state/hard disk drive. Indexing, Search, or Anti-malware Windows programs often saturate the bandwidth of a mechanical drive, and even downloading or updating Steam games will slow your PC to an irritating crawl. This will not happen using a SATA III SSD. But for maximum performance with the least frustration, using a PCIe NVMe SSD is the only way to fly. HDDs should be relegated only for storage and for back-up.
Let’s recap pricing. The T-FORCE CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series SSD is available in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacities, priced at Amazon at $287.99 for the 2TB version. The T-FORCE CARDEA A440 (vanilla) SSD that we reviewed in January is at Amazon for $299.99 for 2TB, but it comes with two heatsinks. They are both in a similar price range to other fast PCIe 4.0 Gen4 x4 SSDs currently available. For additional price comparisons, the 1TB SATA III Delta MAX is $124.99 at Amazon and it offers RGB lighting. The TeamGroup 2TB MP33 SSD is $179.99, the T-FORCE CARDEA IOPS is $119.99 only offered in a 1TB capacity, and the 2TB CARDEA Ceramic C440 version is priced at $259.
We believe that spending the extra money is worth it for a super-fast 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen 4 x4 SSD over Gen 3 x4 as long as your motherboard supports PCIe 4.0. If not, the CARDEA IOPs is an excellent choice. The 2TB CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series is actually priced less than the 2TB vanilla A440 and would be a logical choice for faster Read and copy speeds – If you already have an NVMe heatsink or plan to install it in a PS5. If not, the regular A440 is an excellent choice.
Of course, gamers on a budget should also look for sales. Because of today’s close pricing and competition, choosing an SSD is easier than ever. Based on performance and price, we will recommend the T-FORCE CARDEA A440 Pro Special Series SSD as a competitively-priced fast SSD.
A five year warranty backed by TeamGroup insures that a player will enjoy fast performance for years to come.
- 5-year warranty backed by TeamGroup support
- Blazing fast game/level loading speeds and very fast large file copy speeds
- Very fast Write and and also extra fast Read speeds
- The A440 Pro Special Series is priced competitively and not much higher than slower Gen 4 x3 SSDs
- Designed for the PS5
- The included graphene heatsink is inadequate to prevent throttling