Sabrent Rocket Q Review | PCMagJuly 14, 2020
The Sabrent Rocket Q (starts at $119.98; $1,499.99 for the 8TB version tested) presents a new category unto itself: the mega-capacity PCI Express NVMe internal SSD. It’s unique among consumer M.2 drives at this writing in offering an 8TB model. A drive that size can store a nice chunk of the Library of Congress and still have room left over for the final season of Bones and your latest Call of Duty install. While the version we tested isn’t the most cost-effective drive or the fastest in raw performance, its cavernous capacity in such a small, single-slot package makes it a head-turner for a select number of data-hoarding enthusiasts and content producers. Sure, you can get eight 1TB M.2 SSDs these days for a little over $100 each…but does your PC have eight M.2 slots?
Rocket Q: When Only Eight Is Enough
The Rocket Q comes in several capacities, but the 8TB drive is the one worth talking about. Sometimes, you simply need all the capacity you can get on a single PCI Express M.2 slot. Your only alternative to a drive like the Rocket Q, if you want to add 8TB of SSD storage, is to buy a full-size PCI Express M.2 expansion card (the kind that goes into a full-size PCIe slot, like a video card does) and mount, say, four 2TB or two 4TB NVMe drives on it. (An example: the Asus Hyper M.2 X16 Card.) Of course, this is only an option for a desktop. If you have no free PCIe slots, or a laptop, you’re out of luck.
It’s not every day that you see an 8TB internal NVMe drive in the wild. In fact, this is the first internal one that has hit PC Labs. Samsung has also announced an 8TB version of its SSD 870 QVO, but that is a 2.5-inch SATA drive, it won’t be out until August, and no pricing has been shared yet. (Here’s our review of the 2TB version.) Sabrent isn’t a well-known name in consumer-storage circles, but it’s quickly risen to prominence among enthusiasts and those in the storage know. The company is blitzing the marketplace with budget drives, while also releasing big-capacity drives like the one we’re reviewing today.
The Sabrent Rocket Q is a 96-layer QLC NVMe SSD that is launching in four different storage-volume sizes: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and the massive 8TB version. All capacities are M.2 Type-2280 (80mm-long) drives, and all rely on the PCI Express 3.0 bus. (Check out our SSD dejargonizer for more on some of these terms.)
The Sabrent Rocket Q’s 19-cent-per-gigabyte cost at 8TB puts it right in the range of drives like the Seagate FireCuda 510, a premium-cost drive that gains you a higher write durability (TBW) rating on the back end. More on that later. Also, in a move that’s the reverse of the usual, the Rocket Q gets substantially less expensive per gigabyte at the two lower capacities. The 1TB and 2TB versions of the Rocket Q at their list prices are only 12 cents per gigabyte. At those two capacities, the Rocket Q is actually a reasonable per-gig deal. But once the capacities jump to 4TB and 8TB, the 21 and 19 cents per gigabyte push a different…