Lite-On Partners With Phison For New T10 NVMe SSD

In terms of volume, Lite-On is one of the largest SSD manufacturers. However, the brand isn’t as well known in the United States or Europe as its Plextor subsidiary. Most Lite-On SSDs come in OEM systems where performance  take a back seat to validation and pricing. In Asia, the brand has a strong following and is known for products that offer very high reliability at low prices. Across the Pacific, Lite-On is more like our Crucial; conservative, affordable, and dependable.

This week we spotted the the Lite-On T10 NVMe SSD at Newegg. It sells through the First From Asia third-party retailer service. The drives ship to buyers from Asia, but don’t expect the same excellent support from Newegg for these transactions. Last year we purchased ten CPU coolers from the service, but they never arrived. After normal support channels had dropped the ball, it took a LinkedIn message to a Newegg executive to get a refund nearly two months later. The Lite-On T10 ships from a different reseller, so hopefully buyers won’t have the same problem.

Lite-On sells the T10 with the heatsink inside the package and not installed. We found three assorted colors available in Asia: blue, red, and white. You’ll need to peel back the 3M-branded thermal tape and install the cooler the DIY way. This does, however, give notebook users the ability to run the drive in a system that doesn’t have enough room for the aluminum cooler.

The seller says you’ll receive either the red or the blue heatsink, but it doesn’t give you a choice. We found that both the red and blue heatsinks are older designs superseded by a new white heatsink cooler with a unique design. The retailer also lists this as a SATA SSD with Toshiba 3D MLC. Toshiba produced 3D MLC NAND, but the Phison PS5007-E7 controller does not support it. The E7 isn’t a SATA controller — the SATA interface doesn’t even support the T10’s performance specifications.

Product T10 120GB T10 240GB T10 480GB
Pricing $94.99 $139.99 Unknown
Controller Phison PS5007-E7 Phison PS5007-E7 Phison PS5007-E7
NAND Toshiba 15nm MLC Toshiba 15nm MLC Toshiba 15nm MLC
Sequential Read 2,300 MB/s 2,700 MB/s 2,750 MB/s
Sequential Write 1,200 MB/s 1,300 MB/s 1,350 MB/s
Random Read 130,000 IOPS 190,000 IOPS 200,000 IOPS
Random Write 160,000 IOPS 170,000 IOPS 170,000 IOPS

The Lite-On T10 boasts impressive performance numbers for its low price point. Newegg only lists the two lowest capacities of 120GB for $95 and 240GB for $140. It also features MLC NAND flash, a dying breed that most shoppers should put on the endangered species list with extinction imminent.

The real story here is that Lite-On has moved away from Marvell controllers entirely. The company released a few products last year with SMI controllers in entry-level products sold under the Plextor name, but historically Lite-On has primarily been a Marvell company.

As far as we call tell, the company has never joined forces with Phison to release a product. Give the lackluster performance of the Marvell powered M8Se mainstream NVMe SSD, a lower-cost but better performing Phison-based product could be on the horizon.

The M9Pe is the only future Plextor NVMe product we are aware of. It will come to market with a Marvell controller backed by Toshiba’s 3D BiCS FLASH in 3-bit per cell form (TLC). We don’t expect to see the M9Pe launch until 2018.

The Phison PS5007-E7 has been on the market for two years. It powers the MyDigtialSSD BPX NVMe SSD that we like so much for its low price point and strong NVMe performance that outshines every SATA 6Gbps SSD on the market.

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