PQI S537 240GB SSD review

Reviews

Today’s item on our review bench is a little-known SSD, the S357 from PQI. This is a 240GB SATA drive that claims to be capable of reaching 550 MB/s reads and 450 MB/s writes. Let’s put it to the test.

Specifications

This is a great product image. Thanks PQI!

  • Capacity: 120GB, 240GB, 480GB
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Interface: SATA III 6Gb/s
  • Data Transfer Rate: Up to 550MB/s read, 450MB/s write
  • Power Consumption: 5V +/- 5%
  • Dimensions: 100 x 69.85 x 7mm
  • Weight: 35 grams

Design

The PQI S537 comes in a traditional 2.5-inch form factor, with a gold-coloured sticker on one side. The drive lacks any other ornamentation or additional features. The colour scheme is showy, but it may not mesh well with traditional ‘gamer-style’ primary colour schemes.

Software

The S537 comes with cloning software, available for download here. I didn’t test the cloning functionality, but the software seems simple enough to use.

Testing

In order to test the speed of the drive, we ran four synthetic benchmarks with varying payloads: CrystalDiskMark, AS SSD, ATTO and HD Tune. Combined, these should give us a good idea of the drive’s performance compared to others at a similar price.

To see our test rig’s specifications, check out our component breakdown here!

CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark has been one of my favourite benchmarks for evaluating storage speeds for a while now, thanks to its varied incompressible workload and extremely readable results. Here’s the 3.0.3 x64 version of the benchmark; all results are in MB/s.

CDM 3 Read Seq 512K 4K 4K QD32
PQI S537 SSD 516 340 29 118
Toshiba A100 SSD 490 328 33 350
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 342 229 35 278
Toshiba P300 HDD 150 48 0.6 1.6
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 115 38 0.6 2.5
Toshiba Canvio Premium 118 43 0.5 0.6
Samsung T3 386 351 33 35
Sandisk Z410 508 357 13 146
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 502 447 45 368
Samsung 850 Evo 513 472 38 408
Samsung 840 Evo 515 473 35 397
Corsair Neutron GTX 450 376 27 328

 

CDM 3 Write Seq 512K 4K 4K QD32
PQI S537 SSD 417 413 103 259
Toshiba A100 SSD 438 406 84 315
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 269 272 88 269
Toshiba P300 HDD 155 69 0.6 1.0
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 114 52 22 24
Toshiba Canvio Premium 117 50 1.3 1.3
Samsung T3 357 352 69 77
Sandisk Z410 407 355 97 250
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 474 394 113 316
Samsung 850 Evo 504 479 68 352
Samsung 840 Evo 500 390 86 313
Corsair Neutron GTX 480 468 69 158

 

The PQI drive shows interesting results initially, with among the fastest sequential read speeds we’ve seen from a SATA drive at 516 MB/s. Its sequential write speeds are a little behind the curve compared to Samsung’s excellent 800-series drives, but still offer good performance for the price.

However, the 4K chunk results at queue depth 32 are among the worst we’ve seen, showing perhaps a weakness in the drive’s queuing capabilities. In layman’s terms, queuing is used by the drive’s controller to speed up the transfer of many smaller files by preparing a tight sequence that minimises drive downtime. This means that activities that require the reading or writing of many smaller files (e.g. loading a game into memory) may be slower on the PQI drive than on other solid state drives we’ve tested.

AS SSD

AS SSD is another benchmarking tool quite similar to CrystalDiskMark, which uses predominantly incompressible data across a range of workloads including sequential tests, random performance and access times. First three numbers are MB/s and access time is in ms.

AS SSD Read Seq 4K 4K QD64 Acc. Time Score
PQI S537 SSD 513 27 193 N/A 271
Toshiba A100 SSD 489 37 319 N/A 405
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 325 27 249 N/A 308
Toshiba P300 HDD 155 0.5 1.6 N/A 18
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 73 1.8 15 26.3 15
Toshiba Canvio Premium 113 0.5 0.6 23.021 12
Samsung T3 345 24 32 0.100 91
Sandisk Z410 501 11 145 0.045 206
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 493 40 328 0.093 417
Samsung 850 Evo 516 34 382 0.059 467
Samsung 840 Evo 513 32 330 0.059 413
Corsair Neutron GTX 507 25 334 0.068 N/A

 

AS SSD Write Seq 4K 4K QD64 Acc. Time Score
PQI S537 SSD 415 84 234 0.069 360
Toshiba A100 SSD 430 74 288 0.209 405
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 258 76 247 0.046 349
Toshiba P300 HDD 114 0.5 0.6 16.7 13
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 46 19 5 18.2 39
Toshiba Canvio Premium 111 0.5 0.5 17.6 12
Samsung T3 367 56 71 0.055 163
Sandisk Z410 407 78 215 0.237 333
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 475 95 251 0.075 393
Samsung 850 Evo 497 66 299 0.051 415
Samsung 840 Evo 497 69 207 0.054 326
Corsair Neutron GTX 473 62 295 0.062 N/A

 

Again, the PQI S537 shows strong sequential and 4K performance, but worse results at higher queue depths, good for a score of 775 overall.

Note that there seems to be a ‘read access times’ bug in AS SSD under the current version of Windows 10; there is always an error message for that portion of the test and no result is rendered.

Atto Benchmark

Atto is always an interesting test because it shows the relationship between data set size and read and write speeds in considerable detail.

Atto Read 1KB 4KB 64KB 256KB 1MB 8MB
PQI S537 SSD 76 251 549 561 562 562
Toshiba A100 SSD 76 286 552 548 561 561
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 71 232 348 347 348 348
Toshiba P300 HDD 27 85 129 123 135 190
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 9 20 26 26 26 26
Toshiba Canvio Premium 9 33 117 117 117 118
Samsung T3 18 67 329 371 377 404
Sandisk Z410 78 247 518 531 536 533
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 83 286 537 553 552 553
Samsung 850 Evo 80 269 538 551 558 558
Samsung 840 Evo 94 280 535 551 555 555
Corsair Neutron GTX 15 61 336 452 530 540

 

Atto Write 1KB 4KB 64KB 256KB 1MB 8MB
PQI S537 SSD 72 210 426 413 447 432
Toshiba A100 SSD 53 231 524 533 534 543
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 68 201 270 270 267 271
Toshiba P300 HDD 16 74 120 113 123 128
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 3 25 37 55 53 53
Toshiba Canvio Premium 10 41 115 115 116 116
Samsung T3 20 71 315 365 366 388
Sandisk Z410 69 184 419 423 426 428
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 79 251 510 526 525 525
Samsung 850 Evo 83 255 519 529 534 534
Samsung 840 Evo 81 260 515 527 533 534
Corsair Neutron GTX 15 142 474 470 493 498

 

The S537 does reasonably well in the ATTO test, reaching its maximum speed relatively quickly and maxing out with read speeds above the drive’s rating. There is an unusual regression in write speeds though, with results dipping around the 256 KB chunk size mark. This is unusual, and perhaps again a sign that the controller isn’t working as efficiently as it could be.

HD Tune

We conclude with HD Tune Pro, a benchmark which produces three scores for average read speed, read access time, and burst read rate.

HD Tune Pro 5.50 Read Average Access Time Burst Rate
PQI S537 SSD 332 MB/s 0.0 ms (?) 232 MB/s
Toshiba A100 SSD 330 MB/s 0.042 ms 99 MB/s
Drevo X1 Pro SSD 356 MB/s 0.042 ms 248 MB/s
Toshiba P300 HDD 126 MB/s 14.6 ms 294 MB/s
Toshiba H200 Hybrid 90 MB/s 16.9 ms 87 MB/s
Toshiba Canvio Premium 114 MB/s 17.9 ms 140 MB/s
Samsung T3 269 MB/s 0.090 ms 171 MB/s
Sandisk Z410 358 MB/s 0.035 ms 140 MB/s
Samsung 850 Evo M.2 321 MB/s 0.087 ms 221 MB/s
Samsung 850 Evo 370 MB/s 0.044 ms 250 MB/s
Samsung 840 Evo 358 MB/s 0.041 ms 231 MB/s
Corsair Neutron GTX 340 MB/s 0.059 ms 231 MB/s

 

Here the S537 has relatively variable performance, ending up with a reasonable average of 332 MB/s (and, somewhat remarkably, an access time rating of 0.0). The burst rate is good too, at 232 MB/s. Overall, a strong result that doesn’t highlight any flaws.

Wrapping up

The P537 SSD offers reasonable performance with fast flash memory, despite a few concerns regarding its controller. I’d personally go with a better-known brand if both were at the same price, but if you can find it 10-20% cheaper than a comparable Samsung or Toshiba drive then I’d say it’s worth it.

Last modified: December 30, 2017

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