Team Group T-Force Cardea II TUF Gaming Alliance 1TB NVMe Review
Team Group takes the TUF Gaming Alliance to new heights with the introduction of the T-Force Cardea II TUF Gaming Alliance SSD lineup. They may not have reinvented the wheel with their current lineup to create this one but they have taken their well-received Cardea II drives and given them a fresh new look to fit in with the TUF theme and branding. According to Team Group, these drives are the first M.2 PCIe SSD that is carrying the TUF Gaming Alliance branding to fit in with the ASUS TUF Gaming Alliance moniker.
If the specifications of the Cardea II TUF seem similar to the normal Cardea II then that's easy to explain since the only surface difference in them is the color palette swap from red to black with the addition of the TUF Gaming Alliance screen print. Both versions of the drives carry a 5-year product warranty showing Team Group stands behind their products. The T-Force Cardea II TUF Gaming Alliance SSDs come in two sizes, a 512GB and a 1TB priced at $72.99 and $139.99 respectively.
First Look At T-Force Cardea II TUF Gaming – Unboxing And Closer Look
The packaging of the T-Force Cardea II TUF Gaming is quite an eye-catching and colorful design. But, it's not just pomp and circumstance as they've packed some useful information on the box as well. The front of the box carries a lot of marketing hype with the advertized 15% cool down thanks to the included heatsink, support for S.M.A.R.T, and TRIM. The back features details worthy of praise as so many SSD makers hide this information; You'll find interface information (PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3), Voltage, Operating temperatures, AND Crystal Disk Mark information for both drives. Technically you'll get information for all THREE Cardea II drives since they list the 256GB model in there as well.
The drive itself is a fairly standard affair. I could complain that Team Group used a blue PCB on the drives that are kind of a moot complaint as it's covered by a robust black heatsink that manages to not come off overly flashy. The heatsink is quite functional and is clearly designed to sincerely dissipate heat and not just act as a showpiece to boost your ego.
There is cause for concern, however. The heatsink is quite tall and if it's installed in a location behind the primary GPU and not above it on the motherboard it could pose itself to be problematic. There is a solution here, but it kinda defeats the reasoning for picking this particular drive, remove the heatsink. Removing the heatsink is possible and it isn't hard to do, but if you have to do that in order to use it then you really should consider saving a few bucks and looking at another drive.
T-Force CARDEA II TUF Gaming Alliance SSD Lineup
|CARDEA II TUF Gaming Alliance SSD 512GB||CARDEA II TUF Gaming Alliance SSD 1TB|
|Controller||Phison PS5012-E12||Phison PS5012-E12|
|NAND Flash||Toshiba 64L TLC Flash||Toshiba 64L TLC Flash|
|Sequential Read||3400 MB/s||3400 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||2000 MB/s||3000 MB/s|
|IOPs Read||350,000 IOPS MAX||450,000 IOPS MAX|
|IOPs Write||300,000 IOPS Max||400,000 IOPS MAX|
|Warranty||5 Years||5 Years|
Our test bench is now using the Ryzen 9 3900X on the ASUS TUF Gaming X570 Pro-WiFi so that now we have access to be able to take PCIe Gen 4 drives into account. We have the Ryzen 9 3900X clocked at 4.3GHz all core with the Hyper X Predator DDR4 3600 CL17. Before starting the tests I loaded the NVMe drive up to 60% capacity so that the testing would not be run on a clean empty drive.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 3900X @ 4.3GHz All Core|
|Motherboard||ASUS TUF Gaming X570 Pro-WiFi|
|Memory||Hyper X Predator 2x16GB (32GB) 3600MHz CL17|
|PSU||Cooler Master V1200P|
|OS||Windows 10-64 Bit|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE|
|Case||Lian Li T70X|
T-Force Cardea II TUF Gaming Alliance SSD
ATTO Disk Benchmark
As the industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage & network connectivity products, ATTO has created a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware software to help measure storage system performance. As one of the top tools utilized in the industry, Disk Benchmark identifies performance in hard drives, solid state drives, RAID arrays as well as the host connection to attached storage. Top drive manufacturers, like Hitachi, build and test every drive using the ATTO Disk Benchmark.
The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host bus adapters (HBAs), hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.
Crystal Disk Mark 6.0
CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software Made by a Japanese coder named Hiyohiyo and is one of the simplest and most frequently used tests for storage due to its simple and easy to understand UI. It measure sequential reads/writes speed,measure random 512KB, 4KB, 4KB (Queue Depth=32) reads/writes speed,select test data (Random, 0Fill, 1Fill).
AS SSD is the opposite of ATTO as it uses incompressible data rather than compressible data and simulates the worst possible scenario imaginable for an SSD which gives the best understanding of performance when pushing the drive to its limits.
We separate the IOPS and MB/s in the results for ease of reading.
ANVIL's Storage Utilities
Anvil's Storage Utilities benchmark may be a bit of an older benchmark, but it's still very much relevant today. It takes various performance and response time metrics and gives them a score in read and writes then delivers an overall rating, which is useful to see where an HDD or SSD slots in general performance.
The Team Group T-Force Cardea II TUF Gaming Alliance SSD 1TB version comes in right about where it should in terms of performance for the money. There are a lot of options in this price range so you'll want to consider your options carefully. The heatsink does it's job as in our testing the driver never came out of the 35-39C range under heavy load on an open test bench. Now, that shouldn't necessarily make you jump over the moon as there is a range where the flash memory operates optimally, so we tried it without the heatsink to see how it fared on the claims of 15% lower and it came in around 52C, so looks like their claims of the heatsink's functionality is working. Put that in long term use inside a case and those numbers should keep the flash in peak thermal range for functionality.
But at $139.99 you do have access to a decently quick PCIe 3.0 NVMe drive that will deliver consistently good performance and the added benefit, both aesthetically and functionally, of having an included heatsink. BUT, if your motherboard has it's own heatsink or you're going to have to remove it to fit under a graphics card, you might want to look at saving a few bucks on a different drive.
Products mentioned in this post
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A solid entry into the Gen 3.0 NVMe market with a great heatsink, but be wary it might be too tall in some instances.
- Heatsink included
- 5-year warranty
- Solid performance
- Runs cool
- TUF Gaming Alliance certified
- A bit pricey
- The heatsink may interfere with GPU or other components