Conclusion

In this review we took a look at the new TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan 500GB SATA 2.5” SSD.  This SSD is only $55.99 on Amazon.  The TeamGroup T Force series of SSD are geared toward the gaming crowd with high speed-read speeds to improve booting, and gaming reaction experiences through improved access times and read speeds.  This is all offered in a small 7mm 2.5” form factor SATA based SSD in capacities of 250GB, or 500GB or 1TB. 

The rated read speed is 560 MB/s theoretical maximum, and a write speed of 510 MB/s theoretical maximum.  The 250GB 4K Random Read/Write: 90K/75K IOPS Max and 500GB 4K Random Read/Write: 90K/80K IOPS Max and 1TB 4K Random Read/Write: 90K/80K IOPS Max.  It has a MTBF of 1,000,000 hours and 60TB written for 250GB and 120TB written for 500GB and 240TB written for 1TB.  TeamGroup offers a 3-year warranty on the SSD.

In today’s review, we reviewed the 500GB model (T253TV500G3C301) SSD.  It supports a data rate of SATA III 6Gb/s transfer rate. The SSD is based on the very optimized Silicon Motion SM2258 controller which is a popular controller and performs fast.  There is 500GB of TeamGroup branded 64-Layer 3D NAND TLC Flash Memory chips onboard.  There is also a 4GB DDR3 DRAM cache, which makes all the difference. 

Appearance

We wanted to make a specific topic to talk about appearance. More often than not 2.5” form factor SSDs are presented in plastic shells with no real flare.  Well, this one is completely different.  TeamGroup has stepped out of the norm and encased this SSD’s components in a classy aluminum shell.  It has a textured surface and feels solid and robust to the touch.  It has a classy black finish with silver accents and silver branding.  It is absolutely the best looking 2.5” form factor SSD we’ve seen. 

This SSD is not one that you want to stick in the back of the case unseen.  This SSD is meant to be shown from the front, with a window.  It doesn’t sport RGB, but it doesn’t need it.  There are many custom builds that go for the minimal and classy, and this one is perfect.  Even if you did have RGB in your case, it would reflect off the silver accents giving the SSD a unique look.  We can’t say enough about the robust feel and aesthetics.

Performance Read

The performance provided by this SSD was very good, particularly in the read speeds.  This is what this SSD was targeting, improved read speeds and access times, and according to our tests, this is exactly where this SSD excelled.  We did put it up against some tough competition.  The SAMSUNG 860 EVO 1TB M.2 SATA SSD is a very tough competition.  The SAMSUNG drives are often revered for their excellent performance, plus this was an M.2 form factor, and not 2.5”.  Also, SAMSUNG drives are more expensive.    

Even against the SAMSUNG 860 EVO though, we experienced higher read speeds and a faster access time with the TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan SSD.  In PCMark 10 the TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan was on top in performance overall and had a faster average access time.  This is exactly what TeamGroup wanted to achieve with this drive.  In CrystalDiskMark we saw higher read speeds in sequential reads with the TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan SSD over the SAMSUNG 860 EVO.  The random reads were close behind.

In ATTO we saw consistently higher read speeds on the TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan SSD across the drive compared to the SAMSUNG 860 EVO.  We also saw higher read speeds with AJA System Test and HDTune. 

Write Speeds

When it comes to the write speeds, the SAMSUNG 860 EVO did give the TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan SSD some competition.  For the most part, the write performance of the TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan SSD trailed the SAMSUNG 860 EVO, but make clear, it was still very close between the two.  You also have to keep in mind the SAMSUNG is rated at a write speed 10MB/s higher, to begin with. 

In CrystalDiskMark the two drives were only 10 MB/s apart in the SEQ1M Q8T1 test, so they were right where they are supposed to be.  The TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan SSD hit 478 MB/s while the SAMSUNG 860 EVO hit 488 MB/s.  In ATTO we see the SAMSUNG 860 EVO have a consistent lead over the TeamGroup in writes, but still notice how close they actually are.  When it comes down to it, the sequential writes are a bit faster on the TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan, while the random writes are a bit slower.  Overall, the performance is closer to the SAMSUNG 860 EVO then it is to the Mushkin Reactor.

Bringing the Mushkin Reactor 2TB SATA 2.5” SSD into the mix really shows how fast the TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan SSD is.  Compared to that SSD the TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan simply blows the doors off the Mushkin Reactor in every which way.  It has much faster read speeds and massively faster write speeds.  The Mushkin Reactor can really suffer in minimum write speeds, and the TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan just simply does not.  It has performance that is just way better than the Mushkin Reactor 2.5” form factor SSD.  It’s a big deal.

Consistency

We also need to look at the consistency of performance across the drive.  The read consistency as shown in HDTune, plus the AIDA64 and HDTune write performance shows consistency.  The TeamGroup Vulcan SSD does not have massive drop-offs over time when reading or writing to the drive. This is important because it means as the drive fills up you won’t lose performance.  You won’t be losing the whole advantage that SSDs provide, you won’t be going down to mechanical HDD performance.  This is very important to performance over the length of the drive.     

Final Points

Here’s what you need to know about the TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan series of SSDs.  These SSDs are fast for SATA SSDs.  They allow you to achieve very high read speeds and low access times.  This will help any end-user for things like booting, game loading, asset loading, game asset streaming as you game, multitasking applications, office work, general content creation, and media consumption.  Going SATA does save you money over NVMe, and NVMe is not always required, sometimes SATA SSD is all you need, and this drive gives you a lot of performance for being a SATA drive. 

The other factor that is important here is the pricing.  The 500GB TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan SSD we reviewed today is only $55.  That’s it, $55.  At that price, it is very easy to get in on the performance that an SSD has to offer today.  There is no reason to have a mechanical drive anymore with prices like this.  500GB is plenty for a boot drive, or as your only drive.  If you need more space TeamGroup does offer a 1GB size of this drive also, and it is only $111 currently, that’s pretty cheap for 1TB of SSD SATA performance today.  The SAMSUNG 860 EVO 1TB M.2 SATA SSD we compared with is a more expensive $155, so TeamGroup has the price advantage.  Only a short time ago 1TB SSD’s were over $300. 

At these prices, there is no reason at all today to not have an SSD and benefit from SATA SSD performance.  At no time has SATA SSD performance been so good and so cheap. 

Discussion

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Brent Justice

Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components for 20+ years, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer oriented...

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4 Comments

  1. "There is no reason to have a mechanical drive anymore with prices like this. 500GB is plenty for a boot drive, or as your only drive."

    Uhh, not with 50+GB game downloads it’s not. Boot drive / laptop upgrade maybe.

    I have a $100 Toshiba 5TB hdd for my game drive / steam library. I look forward to that price for a huge SSD, 5+ years from now. But by the time that happens, the $100 hdd will probably be a 10+TB one.

  2. Nice to see a large amount of test programs used in the review. TeamGroup seems to have some of the better options for price/perf these days for sata drives. Happy so far with mine.

    I agree with Burt though, 500gb is my standard now for a boot drive and maybe 1-2 games. Everything else on dedicated ssd’s or hdd. 250GB is workable but getting too small and for quality brands it seems worth it to just jump to 500gb at $50-65 over a $30-40 250gb.

  3. Oops, missed this review. Adding some extra detail.

    Very good drive – basically a Crucial MX500 clone. The MX500 often comes with 96L flash now (which is also denser, but has twice the planes). Team’s coding here is clearly from Intel/Micron with the "01T" meaning 1Tb packages (x4 = 512GiB). This is in contrast to the similar L5 Lite 3D and drives like it – SU800, X3, S280, etc – which use inferior flash. Much like the L5 Lite 3D, it has static SLC – ~6GB at this capacity – which makes for uniform performance (can see this in HD Tune); the MX500 has a significantly larger, dynamic cache that is slower outside SLC at this capacity. Warranty is of course lackluster, but if you want a top-tier SATA drive this is among them in terms of performance.

    The firmware revision matches typical SM2258 encoding which usually refers to the type of flash it’s using. For example you common see Qx6/7xxA in the cheaper drives using second-tier Samsung TLC, Hynix’s 72L TLC (which isn’t great), inferior BiCS (SanDisk/Kioxia), older Intel/Micron 32L TLC, etc. Older revisions were for the 32L/384Gb IMFT TLC. In any case, R/S is for the newer and better flash products, e.g. B16A/B17A which is 64L Intel/Micron TLC (B17A is double the density but also double the planes, so same interleaving).

    My only advice for reviewing is that FIO is a strong option for benchmarking, whether on Linux or Windows, although ultimately you would require Linux for full utility. I’ve posted on Reddit about using FIO and also making a dedicated Linux benchmarking USB drive, I haven’t posted about getting these tools working on Windows – it is possible, I have it working in Visual Studio (direct) or Cygwin (indirect), but it’s fairly limited and a pain to work with in contrast to nvme-cli for example.

  4. I should add that I’ve seen reviews of it like TPU’s showing MLC and in fact I had someone with one show me one with MLC – 48L from Samsung, to be specific. And TPU also had 64L TLC from Samsung I believe. That type of older/inferior flash is often found in the L5 Lite 3D and other budget drives as I mentioned above – my theory is that the early Vulcans came basically as L5 Lite 3Ds. It’s my understanding that currently they do have Micron flash though. Just wanted to correct that as people don’t understand that second-tier Samsung can actually be inferior, even the MLC, although TPU’s results were still good performance-wise. (also as I mentioned, firmware revision can hint at flash – the early Samsung variants match the L5 Lite 3D’s firmware)
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