HP FX900 Pro 2TB PCIe 4 M.2 SSD Review
There's no shortage of amazingly fast storage solutions these days. In the last ten years, we've seen the steady transition from 3.5″ mechanical HDDs, to faster SATA 2.5″ SSDs, and now, M.2 PCIe Gen 3 and 4 drives are becoming the dominant choice for high-end PCs. While you need a newer motherboard and CPU to take full advantage of the PCIe 4.0 technology, it still presents one of the most attractive upgrades in recent years, with drives offering speeds significantly faster than ever before. With that in mind, HP has just unleashed their new FX900 Pro, a Gen 4 NVMe drive that promises to impress.
HP FX900 Pro
Now, HP may not be a byword for high-end PC gamers, at least, not in the past, but they have been making great efforts in that area. However, this new drive is actually made by the mighty BIWIN, who design and manufacture high-performance memory and storage for the biggest names in the business and typically use the best of the best components, so this drive should really be able to compete with the cool kids when it comes to hardware and performance. It's available in 512GB, 1TB and 2TB models, but I have the top-end 2TB model at my disposal today.
- 8-channel Gen4 x4 controller
- Up to 7400 MB/s read speed
- Built with 3D NAND Flash
- Independent DDR4 DRAM cache
- Effective Graphene Thermal Pad
- 5-year Limited Warranty
What BIWIN Had to Say
“Designed for high performance and gaming, FX900 Pro uses 8-channel Gen 4 x 4 controller, supports NVMe 1.4 technology, and takes the sequential read/write speeds up to 7000 MB/s and 6700 MB/s. It breaks through the performance bottleneck of previous PCIe generations to upgrade the computing experience for gamers, professionals, and video makers.” – BIWIN
Packaging & Accessories
The box is nicely presented from the front, with a clear photo of the drive, and details about the various technologies the drive offers.
Around the back, there are some limited specifications, but I mean REALLY limited. There's no detail here of the drive speeds, other capacities available, or anything and no apparently clear link to that information online. HP, add a bloody QR code or something, please!
In the box, the drive is well packaged and protected, so no issues there. Plus, like virtually all M.2 drives, it's pretty much plug and play, so there's not really anything else to worry about here.
A Closer LookThere's not really a lot to say about the design, in that it's a fairly typical looking M.2 drive, which broadly look the same. It comes in the M.2 2280 form factor, so it's going to be broadly compatible with most M.2 slots on most motherboards.
While it runs on the PCIe Gen 4.0 x 4, NVMe 1.4 interface, it'll still work on a Gen 3 slot, but you'll be limited to the Gen 3 speeds and bandwidth. So, ensure it's fitted to a fully compatible slot if you want to see those top-end speeds of 7000 Mbps+.
The FX900 comes equipped with their 8-channel Gen 4 x4 controller, using the latest NVMe 1.4 protocol. This means the 1 and 2TB models can reach speeds up to 7400 MB/s, while the 512GB will hit around 7000 MB/s. The 512GB, 1TB and 2TB will also reach write speeds of 3800, 6400 and 6700 MB/s respectively.
The FX900 comes equipped with DRAM Independent Cache (Dynamic SLC Caching and DRAM Cache Buffer). This can improve the 4K Random Read and Write performance and reduce access delay significantly. The 2TB will do around 1344K IOPS Read and 1122K IOPS Write. There's also support for NCQ and TRIM too, which are certainly welcome additions for those who intend to multi-task the drive a lot.
Heat dissipation is easily dealt with too, thanks to their Graphene Thermal Pad design. It may not look like much, but Graphene is a seriously impressive material. That thing pad can reduce temperatures by around 20c, and that's more than enough to significantly improve performance when the drive is being taxed heavily and overheating results in reduced speeds until the drive is in a cooler state. However, the Graphene is also impressively thin, so it'll still be compatible with slim systems such as laptops.
The drive is well made, and backed by a 5-year warranty. The 512GB, 1TB and 2TB are covered for 300, 600, and 1200 TBW, which is certainly more than most consumers would ever get even close to. If you need more than that, you'll be wanting to invest in an enterprise-class drive instead.
PreparationThe drive will be formatted as NTFS with default settings, as most users will do. The quick format option isn't used as that might affect the performance the first time data is written.
Modern operating systems all take care of the TRIM command in the background and it isn't something to worry about for regular users. However, for these reviews, I will add a waiting period between each benchmark to make sure that the TRIM command has been fully executed and finished. After all, we want a clear picture of the drive's performance with minimal interference from the operating system.
We will start with a typical benchmark analysis of the formatted drive with various fillage scenarios. However, depending on how a drive is built, the performance may differ depending on how much data it is already storing. The drive will be tested empty and at 25%, 50%, and 75% space usage for this area. We're using Anvil's Storage Utilities, AS SSD Benchmark, and CrystalDiskMark for this part of the review.
Application and Gaming
Besides the synthetic fill tests, the drive is tested with PCMark 10's storage benchmark to get real-world performance results for various gaming and application usages.
Durability is a vital factor in NAND-based drives as the chips can only be rewritten so often before they'll stop working properly. Modern SSDs come with wear-level algorithms to increase the lifetime and reduce this factor as much as possible. Where appropriate, we will test this using Anvil's Storage Utilities. Following this conditioning process, all of the previous benchmarks will be run again in the same scenarios and the same order.
- ASRock X570 ProM
- AMD 3700X
- GeForce RTX 2080
- Crucial Sport 4 x 8GB 3200MHz DDR4
- be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 (1200W)
- Noctua NH-U15S
- Anvil's Storage Utilities
- AS SSD Benchmark
- ATTO Benchmark
- PCMark 10 Storage Benchmark
- Windows 11 64 bit
Anvil's Storage Benchmark
Anvil's Storage Utilities is a complete benchmark solution used to test any writeable storage drive.
AS SSD Storage Benchmark
The AS SSD software determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains five synthetic and three practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD, and they aren't using the operating system cache. The copy tests are cached and as such not viable results at this time.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Measure your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Several options are available to customise your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously.
CrystalDiskMark is a small HDD and SSD benchmark utility that allows you to measure a drive's sequential and random performance. All results are MB/s, and higher is better.
How Much Does it Cost?
While I couldn't find stock of the HP SSD FX900 Pro M.2 drives in the UK, that's no surprise. Products are still constantly shifting from available to out of stock all over the place, but it is getting better. I suggest checking Amazon here, or with your favourite retailers to see if they have stock. However, in the US, all three capacities are available from Amazon, with the 512GB, 1TB and 2TB costing $85, $130 and $250 respectively. Overall, that's a perfectly competitive price given the overall features and performance on offer here.
This drive really is the sum of its parts. That is to say, BIWIN makes many of the best drives out there right now, and it's no surprise that this drive was also one of the fastest out there. Having already tested the HP EX950 last year, and the ACER Predator GM7000, both made by BIWIN, I had high expectations for their latest one, and it does not disappoint at all. Not only did it meet my performance expectations, it actually exceeded the top rated speed of 7400 MB/s by 35 MB/s, not too shabby!
The build quality is spot on, with quality components used throughout. Utilising the latest PCIe Gen 4 technology, and offering up a high-speed DDR4 cache, the FX900 is able to deliver some fiercely competitive read and write speeds. When it comes to gaming, I hope you can real those loading screen tool-tips in record time, because they'll be gone in a flash. It's amazing to think that just a few years back, the 550 MB/s of a 2.5″ SSD was regarded as swift, but it feels almost glacial in comparison to the latest generation of drives.
The 8-channel Gen 4 x4 controller, 3D NAND Flash, DRAM Cache, and even that Graphene heatsink all add up to a premium price of hardware here, and while that is reflected in the price, it is certainly still a competitively priced product too. There are other welcome features, such as the Phasor Measurement Unit (PMU), and a decent temperature management unit, which can help improve power usage and reduce overall running costs, while helping maintain the lifespan of the drive too. While NCQ and TRIM will help maintain performance then the drive is under heavy usage.
Should I Buy One?
Overall, the drive does not disappoint, offering a good range of capacities and performance figures. Admittedly, you'll get faster read and write speeds from the larger 2TB model, but even the 1TB and 512GB still deliver very competitive speeds and prices to suit your needs. Whichever one you choose though, you're sure to be happy with it, as this is a pretty fantastic drive that is ticking all the right boxes, with no negatives as far as I can see. Highly recommended!