First Look: Apacer Assaults High-Performance NVMe With Commando SSD

Two years ago we awarded an unnamed AR15-inspired Apacer SSD the Computex Most Ridiculous Award. We didn’t see the drive at this year’s show, so naturally we assumed that Apacer killed it, but lo and behold, it landed on our doorstep.

The first showing at Computex 2015 featured a black design with a paltry PCIe x2 lane adapter card, but the retail version doubles the bandwidth with a PCIe 3.0 x4 connection. The Phison PS5007-E7 controller is capable of delivering up to 2,500 sequential reads in full auto and up to 175,000 IOPS rounds in single-shot random write mode.

Product Commando PT920 240GB Commando PT920 480GB
Controller Phison PS5007-E7 NVMe Phison PS5007-E7 NVMe
Flash Toshiba 15nm MLC Toshiba 15nm MLC
Sequential Read 2,500 MB/s 2,500 MB/s
Sequential Write 860 MB/s 1,350 MB/s
Random Write Up to 160,000 IOPS Up To 175,000 IOPS
Warranty 3-Years 3-Years

Apacer released the drive to market last month, but we haven’t seen it at Newegg or Amazon yet. We don’t have any pricing details yet, either.

We do know, though, that the Commando PT920 comes to market in 240GB and 480GB capacities. The drives look impressive with sequential read performance up to 2,500 MB/s for both capacities, but we can already see some issues that could leave users firing blanks.

The Commando adds a Chuck Norris Delta Force flair with its AR-15 handle design shroud. The color changed from black to gold for some unknown reason, but that’s a nonissue for your local gunsmith who can “blue” the aluminum in an afternoon for full authenticity. A can of Krylon will net similar results.

At first glance, the aluminum cover looks like a radical heatsink, but that’s not the case. The Phison E7 controller doesn’t actually come in contact with anything. Further, the E7 starts to thermal throttle around 90 degrees Celsius. With other SSDs, we’ve recorded temperatures as high as 100C in tests designed to stress the controller. The shroud has some openings, but for the most part, it acts as a chamber to block system airflow from intake fans.

We’ll put that to the test when the SSD makes its way to our firing range.