Solidigm has released several drives since its formation after SK Hynix acquired Intel’s SSD business. The Solidigm P44 Pro is the latest drive, which offers top-tier performance for a PCIe Gen 4 drive at an aggressive price point. This drive is an evolution of the SK Hynix Platinum P41, but with updated firmware and tuning.
The M.2 2280 Solidigm P44 Pro comes in three capacities and offers enthusiast-class transfer speeds, especially in its higher capacities. The 1TB and 2TB drives offer sequential read speeds of 7,000MB/s and write speeds of 6,500MB/s when connected over a PCIe 4.0 interface. The 512GB version has lower write speeds but still performs well.
The Solidigm P44 Pro achieves this level of performance through its SK Hynix Aries controller, 176-layer TLC NAND, and companion LPDDR4 DRAM Cache. The drives are well-suited for high-performance applications and can handle the impending arrival of more DirectStorage-enabled games on the PC. The drives are also suitable for use in PS5.
The Solidigm P44 Pro drives come with a 5-year warranty and have a mean time between failures of 1.6 million hours of operation. With endurance ratings of 500, 750, and 1200 TBW for 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities, respectively, their endurance ratings are better than most consumer drives.
Solidigm does not provide information on random reads and writes for the P44 Pro in their product brief. However, since the drive uses a similar controller and NAND to the Platinum P41, it is expected to perform similarly. The 512GB model is estimated to reach around 960K IOPS for reads and 1M IOPS for writes, while the 1TB and 2TB models can achieve up to 1.4M IOPS for reads and 1.3M IOPS for writes.
The Solidigm P44 Pro achieves this performance level using an SK Hynix Aries controller, 176-layer TLC NAND, and LPDDR4 DRAM Cache (2GB on the 2TB model). The controller and NAND are designed for high-performance applications and are suitable for handling DirectStorage-enabled games on PC. These drives are also compatible with PS5 and exceed Sony’s speed recommendations. The drives do not require additional cooling, but they are single-layer, meaning that all active components are on the top side of the PCB. Most enthusiast motherboards come with M.2 heatsinks, but the drive’s components can still be cooled by the typical airflow in a chassis.
The Solidigm P44 Pro drives offer reliable performance, with a 5-year warranty and meantime between failures (MTBF) of 1.6 million hours of operation. The endurance ratings for the drives are also higher than most consumer drives, with 500, 750, and 1200 TBW for the 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities, respectively. These ratings correspond to approximately 600-1000 total drive writes for each capacity, which is more than enough for most consumer applications.
Although we had higher performance expectations from the Solidigm P44 Pro, it remains a competitive option for heavy data users. This is a positive development for the industry since there are at least four or five other strong SSD options available, making the addition of another good SSD a welcome addition. Furthermore, Solidigm offers a very capable software tool for drive management, which is not currently offered by any other Phison drives, although Samsung and WD also have similar tools.
Ultimately, the end-user experience and system performance will be very similar across the board with these drives, irrespective of which drive you choose for a high-end system. Therefore, pricing is of great importance. Solidigm lists the MSRP for the 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB models as $79.99, $129.99, and $234.99 respectively. Currently, the SK Hynix counterpart is priced at $104, $150, and $254 on Amazon, while the Samsung 990 Pro is priced at $170 (1TB) and $290 (2TB).