Finding a decent-performance PCIe 4 SSD with a large capacity can be a challenge, especially if you’re on a budget. But now, TeamGroup has introduced a new SSD that offers both speed and storage at an affordable price. The TeamGroup MP44L SSD is a PCIe 4 SSD that delivers read/write speeds of up to 5,000/4,500MB/s respectively, and a huge storage capacity. It is also a solid-state drive that is designed with Phison’s latest DRAMless controller, the E21T. This makes it affordable because it has no DRAM cache. It also supports an SLC Cache that drastically enhances the work efficiency of the storage drive as well as a heat-dissipating graphene SSD label for maintaining a low temperature. Though it is not under TeamGroup’s T-Force brand, the mid-range SSD may not be the showiest SSD on the market, but it delivers solid everyday performance.
In terms of price, the TeamGroup MP44L M.2 PCIe Gen4x4 SSD is very competitive and offers great value for its performance. The 250GB version is available for PHP 2,634, while the 500GB version can be purchased for PHP 3,281. For those who need even more storage space, the 1TB and 2TB versions are available for PHP 5,461 and PHP 9,808 respectively. These prices make the MP44L an affordable option for users who want to upgrade their system with a high-quality SSD without breaking the bank.
In this review, we will be taking a closer look at the TeamGroup MP44L SSD and evaluating its performance, features, and value. We will discuss if a cheaper DRAM-less SSD is worth it to help you decide if this is the right choice for your needs.
The TeamGroup MP44L SSD comes in a simple box with a color combination of blue and white. The front cover of the box prominently displays the SSD and its capacity.
The back cover of the package features a detailed breakdown of the product’s specifications, including its storage capacity, interface, and read and write speeds. You can also see a clear picture of the SSD itself, allowing you to get a good look at its design and construction before making a purchase.
Opening the package, you will find the drive itself securely nestled inside a plastic tray. The tray is designed to hold the SSD securely in place and protect it from damage during shipping and handling. The drive is easily accessible and can be removed from the tray with minimal effort. I wonder, what is that blank space in the tray?
Overall, the packaging is straightforward and does a good job of highlighting the key features of the MP44L SSD.
The TeamGroup MP44L SSD
The drive itself has a simple yet effective design, with a white and black color scheme that is sure to complement any system. The drive features a heat-dissipating graphene sticker that not only adds to its aesthetic appeal but also helps to keep the drive cool and running smoothly. The drive uses the compact standard 80mm size, which makes it compatible with most motherboards and even the latest gaming consoles such as the PS5 (Note: haven’t yet tested the performance on PlayStation).
The back of is pure PCB black and devoid of any additional design elements.
After removing the thermal label (which is not advisable and will void the warranty), you can see the DRAM-less Phison E21T controller chip (PS5021-E21-48) which is the latest SSD DRAM-less controller from Phison. However, the absence of DRAM can also have some drawbacks. Because DRAM is used to store data temporarily, the lack of it can result in slower performance. However, as the technology of DRAM-less drive continues to evolve, the drive itself has an almost comparable speed to those with the older DRAM-full SSDs one year ago and is able to achieve faster speeds even without the use of DRAM.
The MP44L SSD uses IA7BG94AYA flash storage. This is Micron’s 176-layer TLC flash, which is known for its compatibility with most controllers. The flash storage used in the MP44L SSD is arranged in packages of 256GB each, with four 64GB dies per package for a total capacity of 1TB.
One of the standout features of the TeamGroup MP44L SSD is its impressive durability. The 1TB drive is capable of handling up to 600TBW, which means that it can withstand a significant amount of usage and able to operate up to 70°C.
Additionally, the MP44L comes with a five-year warranty, providing added peace of mind and ensuring that you can enjoy its performance for years to come.
Is DRAM-less really bad?
DRAM-less SSDs were considered a bad idea because they lacked the high-speed cache provided by DRAM, which should help improve the performance of a solid-state drive. However, with the development of new technologies such as the host memory buffer (HMB), manufacturers have been able to overcome this limitation by using the host system’s CPU and DRAM to improve the performance of DRAM-less SSDs.
Fortunately, MP44L uses the Phison PS5021-E21T controller wherein it supports Host Memory Buffer (HMB) technology. This allows the DRAM-less SSDs to perform similarly to traditional SSDs that use DRAM, making them a more viable option for some applications.
On a side note, some people have suggested that the performance of DRAM-less SSDs may slow down over time. However, we cannot say for sure until we conduct long-term testing. We will update this review after using the drive for a year to see if there have been any changes in performance.
To evaluate the performance of the TeamGroup MP44L M.2 PCIe Gen4x4 SSD, we used several benchmarking tools and a test system with the following specifications:
- Benchmark software:
- 3DMark’s Storage Benchmark
- PCMark 10
- ATTO CrystalDiskMark
- AS SSD Benchmark
- PC Specs:
- AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
- TUF Gaming B550M-Plus (WIFI) PCI-e 4.0
- 4 x T-Force ARGB XTREEM DDR4 16GB, 3600MHz (64GB Total)
We used these tools and this test system to evaluate the MP44L’s performance in a variety of scenarios. Here’s a quick look at the device information for the SSD: it stayed at 57° C throughout our benchmark, and its idle temperature was 25° C.
For the 3DMark’s Storage Benchmark, which focuses on real-world gaming performance. This benchmark stresses storage based on gaming activities, including loading games, saving progress, installing game files, and recording gameplay video streams.
As you can see, the performance in terms of gaming and recording was surprisingly good, with an average bandwidth speed of 426.45 MB/s and an average access time of 72.
We also tested the MP44L SSD using PCMark 10, which is a trace-based benchmark that uses a wide-ranging set of real-world traces from popular applications and everyday tasks to measure the performance of storage devices.
We get a score of 2,454 for the full system drive benchmark.
For the Data Drive benchmark, we get a score of 2,952.
And another solid score of 2,459 for the Quick System Drive Benchmark.
In addition to the benchmarks mentioned above, we also used AS SSD, ATTO and CrystalDiskMark to evaluate the performance of the MP44L SSD. These are free and easy-to-use storage benchmarking tools that are commonly used by SSD vendors to assign performance specifications to their products. They provide insight into how each device handles different file sizes, giving us a more comprehensive view of the MP44L’s performance.
For the Crystal Disk Mark, the MP44L SSD managed to exceed the promised write/read speed of 5,000 MB/s and 4,500 MB/s, the actual speed we get is 5,037 MB/s for Read and 4,612 MB/s for Write.
For the AS SSD Benchmark, we get a score of 3,993 MB/s read and 3,957 MB/s write.
Then these are the average speed of data transfer based on specific sizes. Above 64 KB size, the drive manages to give an average of 4.8 GB/s write and 6.8 GB/s read. While for lower 16 KB file sizes, it gets half performance compared to a DRAM-full SSDs.
The TeamGroup MP44L M.2 PCIe Gen4x4 SSD is a solid-state drive that offers decent performance, storage, and value for its price. Even without a DRAM cache, the drive can keep up with older top DRAM-full SSDs. On performance benchmarks, the MP44L SSD performs well, delivering its promised speed of up to 5,037 and 4,612MB/s for read, and write respectively. However, the drawback is it tends to perform slower when it comes to random smaller files but this won’t affect real-world usage. It is a solid everyday performance and an excellent choice for gaming and other activities, and it also comes with a generous five-year warranty, providing peace of mind for those concerned about the longevity of their SSD.
Overall, the TeamGroup MP44L SSD is a good option for those looking for an affordable drive that offers solid everyday performance. While its benchmark scores may not be as high as some top-of-the-line solid-state drives, its real-world speed, low price, and five-year warranty make it a worthwhile option for those on a budget.