Team Group’s EX2 is an inexpensive SATA SSD composed of a mix of both new and old hardware that is very similar to the Crucial BX500. Combining both TLC flash and Silicon Motion’s somewhat dated DRAMless SM2258XT SSD controller, Team Group has created an inexpensive SSD that delivers mixed signals. On the one hand, the BiCS4 96-layer TLC flash is generally more reliable than QLC, but on the other, the dated controller allows for inconsistent performance under mixed and write-heavy workloads.
Team Group’s EX2 wouldn’t be our first choice when upgrading our own systems, especially since its sustained write performance can drop to slower speeds than the Crucial BX500, and even HDDs. It’s not much cheaper than competitors, but if you’re pinching pennies and you’re okay with the performance compromises, the EX2 might be worth considering if you don’t write a lot of data to your drive and can crash it for a while. very low price.
|Product||EX2 512GB||EX2 1TB||EX2 2TB|
|Capacity (User / Raw)||500GB / 512GB||1000GB / 1024GB||2000GB / 2048GB|
|form factor||2.5 “SATA”||2.5 “SATA”||2.5 “SATA”|
|Interface / Protocol||SATA 6 Gbps / AHCI||SATA 6 Gbps / AHCI||SATA 6 Gbps / AHCI|
|controller||Silicon movement SM2258XT||Silicon movement SM2258XT||Silicon movement SM2258XT|
|Memory||SanDisk 96L TLC||SanDisk 96L TLC||SanDisk 96L TLC|
|Security||AES 256-bit encryption||AES 256-bit encryption||AES 256-bit encryption|
|Endurance (TBW)||400TB||800TB||1600 TB|
|Guarantee||3 years||3 years||3 years|
The EX2 comes in three capacities of 512 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB, priced at about $0.0-$0.11 per gigabyte. Team Group rates the EX2 to achieve sequential read and write speeds of up to 550/520 MBps, but unlike most SSDs, it lacks performance ratings for arbitrary workloads. Team Group’s EX2 is backed by a three-year warranty and comes with solid endurance.
The drive uses Silicon Motion’s proprietary NANDXtend ECC, which uses 1 KB codeword LDPC and RAID, along with SRAM ECC and end-to-end data path protection to ensure data integrity. The EX2 can handle up to 400TB of write capacity per 512GB capacity within the warranty period, which is much higher than most of its QLC-based competitors.
A closer look
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A large sticker with a brushed metal finish covers the top of the Team Group EX2 and depending on your preference, the look can be an advantage or a disadvantage. We prefer the more refined look of Samsung’s SATA SSDs and the like over the EX2. The EX2 comes in a 2.5-inch 7mm form factor and is largely made of plastic to cut costs. Internally, the PCB snaps into the housing and the housing snaps together without the need for screws.
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Team Group’s EX2 uses a Silicon Motion SM2258XT SATA 6Gbps SSD controller to manage the flash. It is an older SATA controller based on a single 32-bit ARC CPU and manufactured on a low power 40nm process node for cost effectiveness.
The drive also has a DRAM-less architecture, meaning that instead of using a fast DRAM buffer space to update the FTL map table, the drive updates and retrieves LBA metadata on the much slower NAND. Unlike NVMe SSDs, SATA SSDs cannot use a Host Memory Buffer (HMB) to use the host system’s DRAM as a cache. However, the EX2 does support Trim and SMART data reporting.
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This four-channel controller is paired with four SanDisk BiCS4 96L TLC NAND packs, two on each side of the PCB. This flash runs with Toggle DDR3.0 speeds of up to 800 MTps in a dual plane configuration (doubling the performance over a single plane) and narrowly powering 1.8V. Each pack contains four 512Gb NAND dies, for a total of sixteen dies.
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