The Skylake NUCs have faced plenty of issues since their introduction late last year. However, stability has improved with the latest BIOS updates. One of the issues with the early BIOS versions was the M.2 SSD slot being effectively limited to PCIe 2.0 rates despite the chipset supporting PCIe 3.0. The latest BIOS version resolves this issue. We had carried a detailed evaluation of different M.2 SSDs for usage in the Skylake NUC. At that time, the Samsung SSD 950 PRO was the only option for providing maximum possible theoretical performance – a NVMe SSD with a PCIe 3.0 x4 link. Since then, Toshiba has also entered the fray with the Toshiba OCZ RD400. The RD400 has already been put through our rigorous SSD evaluation suite. In this review, we take a look at how the 512GB version fares in the NUC6i5SYK.
Introduction to the Toshiba OCZ RD400
The Toshiba OCZ RD400 is a PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD in the M.2 form factor. It can be purchased either in standalone M.2 2280 form factor, or with an add-in card. We have already discussed the RD400 hardware in detail. The important takeaway is that the controller is likely to be the Marvell 88SS1093, though we do not have direct confirmation of this aspect.
The 512GB version we evaluated is a single-sided card with two flash packages, a single DRAM package and the controller on board. These packages are covered by a sticker with the OCZ logo. In the Skylake NUC, the thermal strip attached to the lid is able to make contact with this sticker to aid in cooling down the components.
OCZ’s site provides a special driver that improves performance compared to the standard Microsoft NVMe driver that ships with Windows 10. The SSD Utility software also gives an overview of the current state of the drive (including the currently active driver).
There are plenty of SSDs compatible with the Intel NUC6i5SYK, but, what does one choose for the best experience? There are decisions to make – PCIe 3.0 vs. PCIe 2.0, NVMe vs. AHCI, PCIe vs. SATA and so on. In this review, we are going to compare the Toshiba OCZ RD400 against four other M.2 SSD options: