KIOXIA Exceria NVMe M.2 SSD Review – Optimum Speed and Reliability

KIOXIA Exceria NVMe M.2 SSD Review
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Recently I get the opportunity to review the new KIOXIA Exceria NVMe SDD, a new type of slim and small form factor solid state drive. It’s not that new. We have seen it in compact laptops in recent years and it is gaining to be the next go-to SSD in the new mobile computing age.

I have purchased many SSD before this. But most of them are SATA based SSD that I use to revive the use of my older laptops and PC. The speed and reliability of my older laptops have increased, making it one of the best “cheap” upgrade thus far.

Now we have the new modern, slick and smaller option for an SSD. M.2 2280 based form factor is smaller and compact, aimed to be used in the more modern slim laptops that also uses less power, making it highly efficient for daily use. I have been wanting to buy one of these type of SSD for the longest time. But being able to review it, I take it as an honor on my part.

Also to note that my review for the KIOXIA Exceria will be written in the most basic layman terms for my readers. Nothing too technical and easy for anyone to understand and perhaps, it can help in making the decision for an SSD upgrade.

Introduction to KIOXIA Exceria

KIOXIA Exceria NVMe M.2 SSD Review - Optimum Speed and Reliability

What used to be Toshiba is now rebranded to KIOXIA. “KIOXIA” branded consumer products, including microSD/SD memory cards, USB memory and SSDs have been made available on e-commerce platforms across Asia Pacific starting in July 2020.

This rebranding is a historical first in the company’s history. The revitalised KIOXIA reflects our digital way of life. (The name KIOXIA is a combination of a Japanese word ‘kioku’ which means memory, and the Greek word ‘axia’, which stands for value)

– from KIOXIA Press Release

The Exceria NVMe uses a combination of a quad-channel controller and Kioxia 96-Layer BiCS 4 96-layer 3D TLC NAND.  The drive is available in three variations; 250GB. 500GB and the flagship 1TB drive. What I have with me is the 500GB version, which I think is more than enough for anyone to use normally.

As for performance, Kioxia quotes a sequential read figure of 1,700MB/s for all three drives. Sequential writes are 1,200MB/s for the 250GB drive, 1,000MB/s for the 500GB unit and 1,600MB/s for the flagship 1TB drive.

The KIOXIA Exceria comes with a few notable features:

  • BiCS FLASH™
  • NVMe™ 1.3c Technology
  • M.2 2280 Form Factor
  • PCIe® Gen3 x4 Lane
  • SSD Utility Management Software

About BiCS Flash Memory

The vertically stacked three-dimensional (3D) flash memory, BiCS FLASH, has far higher die area density compared to the prior state-of-the-art technology, two-dimensional (2D) NAND flash memory. Moreover, BiCS FLASH reduced the chip size by optimizing both circuit technology and manufacturing process. 96-layer BiCS FLASH, which is announced on June 28th, 2017, provides approximately 1.4 times the storage capacity per unit area compared with 64-layer BiCS FLASH.

– Quoted from KIOXIA website

In a nutshell, this means that more data can be written in a smaller area within the memory chip. This reduces the write time and increase efficiency in the long run. It also has faster performing speed. Spaces between memory cells in BiCS FLASH are far wider than in 2D NAND flash memory. This made it possible to improve the programming speed by increasing the amount of data for a single-shot programming sequence. This also helps in reducing power consumption.

First Look

KIOXIA Exceria NVMe M.2 SSD Review - Optimum Speed and Reliability

The KIOXIA Exceria NVMe M.2 SSD comes in a small, very lightweight box. I almost thought the box is empty when I held it. Opening the box, you can see the NVMe M.2 form factor SSD placed right in the middle in between two plastic casing.

KIOXIA Exceria NVMe M.2 SSD Review - Optimum Speed and Reliability

At the back of the packaging, there are a few technical details that you can read about. The SSD that I got is 500GB in total storage which is displayed clearly at the front cover. Everything is kept to a minimal view.

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Below is the photo of KIOXIA Exceria, front and back view. This is all you will get in the box. Pretty simple and straight forward.

The Test

In my own review, I installed it in my Lenovo ThinkPad. To fully test and review the SSD, I removed my own SSD and replaced with the KIOXIA Exceria SSD. Running the Windows installation took just over 30 minutes with all updates turned off. There will be auto updates when you connect the installation to your home WiFi so, I didn’t bother to do all that.

KIOXIA Exceria NVMe M.2 SSD Review - Optimum Speed and Reliability

At first use, the UI feels really snappy. My ThinkPad has a total of only 8GB of RAM but I feel that it is much snappier than my own SSD. I wouldn’t say it’s because of the fresh installation. My own SSD was installed just a few weeks before this review. So that is relatively new as well. But the KIOXIA Exceria feels much smoother.

KIOXIA Exceria NVMe M.2 SSD Review - Optimum Speed and Reliability
Windows installation runs smoothly and responsive.

I installed Photoshop and Illustrator just to see how the KIOXIA Exceria handles hardcore graphics. I do notice the read/write speed have increased and the loading for the two “heavy” softwares is much faster. This made me really happy. As for normal non-technical graphic designer like me, this helps a lot! It saves time and it ensures software stability when in use.

How many times your Photoshop or Illustrator crashed halfway when you’re designing something? I remember how frustrating it was to lose data just because of software freeze. At least with new SSD based drives, I have more confidence in not losing any precious data. And the KIOXIA Exceria is excellent so far.

KIOXIA Exceria NVMe M.2 SSD Review - Optimum Speed and Reliability
Photoshop feels really snappy. Love it!

Previously, my ThinkPad managed to get just over 6 hours of battery life on full use with all the work done in Photoshop and a lot of web browsing. When I have the KIOXIA Exceria in my ThinkPad, I got about close to 7 hours of battery life while doing the same work task. I don’t know if it’s the SSD or simply my laptop being more power efficient, but that happened.

Conclusion

Like I said earlier, this will be a non-technical review so that my readers can understand what and how this excellent KIOXIA Exceria SSD works. I don’t have high-end machine that I can truly test this SSD. I would love to try this in a gaming laptop with high specifications. Maybe one of these days I will borrow a performance/gaming laptop from a friend to try it out.

I’m a PUBG Mobile player. I’m hooked on the game since it was launched a few years back. But I haven’t tried the PC version of it. I’m very sure that the KIOXIA Exceria will be able to handle the gaming performance when used in a gaming machine.

Having said that, the performance and power efficiency from the KIOXIA Exceria no doubt one of the best I’ve seen so far. The read/write speed is awesome. Copying a large file is quicker than my own SSD, which is really good. Other known brands are making better NVMe based SSD too but to me, the KIOXIA Exceria is among the top at the moment.

KIOXIA Exceria NVMe M.2 SSD Review - Optimum Speed and Reliability
This is what you should get if you want to upgrade your SSD from now on.

If you’re looking to upgrade your laptop, I highly recommend this KIOXIA Exceria. If you want to increase the performance in your aging laptop, get this. If you’re an avid gamer, by all means you should definitely try it. I give nothing else other than positive review on this excellent KIOXIA Exceria SSD.

There is another version, KIOXIA Exceria Plus which has much better performance but comes at a higher price. As said earlier, the KIOXIA Exceria is available in three variants: 250GB, 500GB and 1TB.

To end my review, I have to say that this should be your next SSD upgrade. Get to know more about KIOXIA Exceria SSD.

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