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NVMe 2230 SSD round-up (late 2023)

6 min read

Just picked up a base model Steam Deck (maybe even saving a buck with a refurb), fully expecting to swap that eMMC module as soon as FedEx drops it off at your door? Smart move, since that will save you some serious cash over buying a 256 or 512 GB model that’s “pre-upgraded.”

It has certainly not taken long for the market of 2230-size M.2 NVMe SSDs to explode. What began as enthusiasts over on Reddit finding OEM drives on eBay and through component distributors such as DigiKey quickly ballooned into household-name brands selling compatible drives direct to consumers. In a matter of months, Sabrent, Corsair, TEAMGROUP, and more have put out tiny SSDs in a multitude of capacities, ranging from 256 GB all the way up to an eye-watering 2 TB. Here at Handheld PC, we picked up a Western Digital SN740 through Framework’s marketplace, but we’ve rounded up some solid choices from other brands that earn our recommendation. As we are not currently equipped to perform testing on internal SSDs, this is not a review and is not categorized as such. This is a showcase of compatible drives from brands we have had solid experiences with when using similar products, such as desktop/laptop NVMe SSDs and DIMM/SO-DIMM memory. As we grow, we will be able to perform thorough testing on products, but for now enjoy this round-up of capable SSDs you’ll love to use in your handheld PC.

Be sure to check out our preferred choice at the end of the article! Also, please see our transparency footnote regarding Amazon Affiliate links in this article.1

Sabrent Rocket 4.0

Shooting up like a rocket (ha) from a sudden entry into PC storage around 2019, Sabrent has quickly made a name for itself making affordable, high-performance flash storage devices. We here at Handheld PC picked up an original Rocket 3.0 in 2019, as well as several others since then. Every drive still works perfectly, showing no signs of slowing down. Based on reviews, it seems that their Rocket 4.0 in 2230 size is no exception to this great track record.

Coming in several capacities up to 1 TB, the TLC NAND-based Rocket 4.0 2230 proves to be a reliable contender for your NVMe slot, boasting good warrantied endurance up to 600 TBW and speeds exceeding the needs of most handheld gaming PCs. Sequentials top out at 4750 MB/s read and 4300 write, so it’ll keep up with even the most demanding workloads. At $40 for 256 GB and $90 for 1 TB, pricing is reasonable given the solid specs.

Buy a Sabrent Rocket 4.0: 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB

Corsair MP600 Mini

While only offering a single capacity, the MP600 Mini from Corsair offers great bang for your buck with 1 TB of space for the same $90 that Sabrent asks from your wallet.

In fact, the similarities don’t stop there. Corsair’s drive offers the same warrantied endurance of 600 TBW as well as nearly the same sequential read speed at 4800 MB/s. Where they differ is in write speed. While Sabrent coasts along at a good 4300 MB/s, the MP600 Mini kicks it up a notch with a symmetrical 4800 MB/s sequential write to give you that small write time reduction that may make a difference when installing large games.

Corsair as a brand is much larger than Sabrent, offering nearly every component you need to build a PC apart from a motherboard, CPU, or GPU. That being said, both brands are reputable and the drives are similar enough that either is a great choice. If it were up to us, we’d just pick whichever is on sale at the time of purchase.

Buy a Corsair MP600 Mini: 1 TB

Inland TN446

At this point, most know the scoop on Inland. It’s Micro Center’s in-house brand, which has slowly made its way onto other online marketplaces including Amazon. That’s not to discount the products, though – we at Handheld PC have purchased many Inland products over the years and have not yet encountered a true dud. In fact, for a time our test system Steam Deck housed the featured product’s predecessor, the TN436, with zero issues.

How about this new model, then? Well, it comes in either a 512 GB or 1 TB capacity, offers similar high throughput as others mentioned so far, and carries a similar price at $90 for 1 TB. While write speeds do suffer a bit at 3700 MB/s, the drives are still solid contenders offering identical warrantied endurance to other offerings mentioned so far – 600 TBW for 1 TB, and 300 TBW for 512 GB. The price on the 512 GB at time of writing is comparably steep at $50, so we’d only recommend this if other brands are out of stock or a sale brings the price back down to Earth.

Buy an Inland T446: 512 GB, 1 TB

TEAMGROUP MP44S

Boasting up to a massive 2 TB of capacity for a pocket-friendly $180 at time of writing, TEAMGROUP certainly offers phenomenal value. What’s also great is the 1 TB is only $76 at this time, beating out everything else mentioned so far. TEAMGROUP doesn’t provide anything smaller than that, though.

To make the pricing even sweeter, the sequential read speed on both SKUs is also the fastest of the bunch, hitting as high as 5000 MB/s. The write speeds are unimpressive and similar to the Inland drives, but your gaming experience is far more sensitive to read speeds than write.

There’s always a catch, though, and with this model it’s the endurance. TEAMGROUP only warranties up to 450 TBW for the 2 TB variant and a measly 250 TBW for the 1 TB. While actual endurance typically exceeds what the manufacturer warranties, it’s not a great sign that the drives offer less than half the endurance per GB of the other drives. These figures do not seem to be listed on the Amazon page, so we tracked down the info on the brand’s own website. TEAMGROUP does not seem to mention the type of flash used in either location, though it can be inferred that these drives use cheaper QLC flash.

With all that said, the Handheld PC website is hosted on a server that uses TEAMGROUP DDR4 memory, and we have used the brand’s products on occasion for the past decade. So far, no issues, and we’d expect a similar experience with these budget SSDs.

Buy a TEAMGROUP MP44S: 1 TB, 2 TB

Handheld PC’s Choice: Silicon Power UD90 2230

This drive is impressive, no doubt about it. Silicon Power is only asking for $172 for a 2 TB drive with 5000 MB/s read and 3200 MB/s write, or $76 for the same but in 1 TB flavor. To up the ante, these drives offer the solid warrantied endurance found on more expensive drives, with 600 TBW per TB. That’s 1200 TBW for the 2 TB model. At $172. Nice.

If this were some no-name brand we’d be suspicious. But Silicon Power has been around for a long time, just not always in the spotlight. We’ve purchased enough of their flash storage and RAM to confidently say that this is our recommendation, hands down. We’ll put it this way – if this was available when we picked up the WD SN740 from Framework, we would have gone with this instead.

Buy a Silicon Power UD90 2230: 1 TB, 2 TB

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  1. This article contains links to products on Amazon, directed through our Amazon Affiliate account. If you choose to purchase any product mentioned in this article, please consider doing so through the links we’ve provided. This gives us a small referral kickback at no cost to you, and helps support Handheld PC. As always, any support is greatly appreciated! ↩︎

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