Gigabyte may not be as well known for their Solid-State Drives as their video card or motherboard models, they indeed been offering entry and mainstream SSDs for quite some time now. In the past they were SATA based only storage solutions, but their offerings now run the gamut from entry level SATA based models (the UD series) to mainstream NVME (Aorus RGB NVME) to even cutting edge PCIe 4.0 based models (Aorus NVME 4.0) models. Today we will be paying careful attention to their middle option. To be precise we will be putting the Aorus RGB 256GB capacity model under the microscope.
Before we start, and to be crystal clear this is not a review sample sourced via Gigabyte, rather is a bought and paid for drive by a close personal friend… and why it is the smallest capacity 256GB option not the 512GB model.
Regardless of how it was sourced, this is this particular model was chosen as it is offers a rather enticing list of features without really any price premium over the competition’s version. For example, it is a PHISON E12 NVME controller-based model that makes use of Toshiba’s tried and true BiCS3 TLC NAND. If this combination sounds familiar… that is because it is. This is a combination that has proven itself time and time again to be both powerful and yet reasonable in its build cost. What is however unusual is Gigabyte has not only included an integrated heat spreader but also bestowed upon it RGB lighting abilities which are fully customizable and controllable via the M.2 port itself.
This actually marks one of the first times the marketplace has seen fully controllable RGB LEDs integrated into a M.2 form-factor. Yes, there have been numerous examples of single color (the most obvious example being Intel’s Optane 905P series) and even multi-colored RGB LEDS in a pre-set/pre-defines pattern (which Plextor became… infamous for). So, this is indeed a big deal. However, going hand in hand with these value-added features is the fact that the price premium is almost non-existent. Right now the 256GB capacity Aorus RGB M.2 NVME SSD routinely sells for $60. This within $5 dollars of what Silicon Power’s E12 based models demand (which do not come with a heat spreader, nor LEDS), and is about $3 less than Western Digital’s Black SN750 500GB drive – which comes with a heatsink but no LEDS.
Needless to say, on paper the Gigabyte Aorus RGB NVMe SSD series does have a lot going for it. Let’s see what Gigabyte has done (and not done) in order to offer such a seemingly great bargain.