Real-life test of the world’s cheapest SSD was so bad, a hard drive would probably beat it — which is what the reviewer actually did and broke the poor thing in two

The Goldenfir cheap SSD
(Image credit: Goldenfir)

With Amazon Prime Day now here, you’re likely to be considering all kinds of deals for the cheapest SSDs out there right now. But just because something’s cheap, that doesn’t mean it’s worth buying – as the Goldenfir SSD proves.

This $3 SSD – available on AliExpress – has a 120GB capacity and may seem far too good to be true. But that’s because it is, according to Storage Review, which analyzed its specifications and tested the device extensively.

Goldenfir claims it offers read speeds of 550MB/s and write speeds of up to 510MB/s, thanks to its YS9083XT SSD controller – which supports multiple types of NAND Flash memory and a variety of form factors. The Goldenfir SSD is, specifically a 2.5-inch SATA SSD.

Goldenfir’s $3 SSD is the opposite of a must-buy

Its reported speeds, according to the manufacturer, aren’t super slow, but they’re nothing like the fastest SSDs out there. In theory, at least, they’re actually more akin to speeds recorded when the first consumer-grade SSDs hit the market. But how does that work in practice?

Storage Review tested the SSD with a Lenovo ThinkSystem SR635 server, fitted with an AMD 7742 CPU and 512GB DDR4 RAM, and compared it with the Kingston DC600M – an industry-leading enterprise storage device.

The drive registered a score of 554MB/s and 518MB/s for reads and writes respectively on CrystalDiskMark – which is not bad at all considering the Kingston DC600M SSD scored 557MB/s and 541MB/s. 

But the catch is the benchmarking software may have generated an inflated score due to the way it was configured (it leveraged host-side cache). Other metrics produced awful results, and the device even snapped in half during testing.

In 4K random read and write benchmarking, the Goldenfir severely underperformed – and demonstrated terrible latency, which was backed up by 64K sequential tests. 

In the former testing, it hit 13,000 IOPS with 10,225ms latency for reads, while Kingston hit 780,000 IOPs and 1,630ms latency. For writes, it was even worse, barely creeping beyond 5,000 IOPs and peaking at 14,000ms latency. 

This pattern continued, with the Goldenfir even producing abysmal results against other budget SSDs. The $33 Intel 670p 2TB Gen3 SSD, for example, hit a peak of 473,000 IOPS at 264ms for the 4K random reads test.

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Keumars Afifi-Sabet
Features Editor, ITPro

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is the Features Editor for ITPro, CloudPro and ChannelPro. He oversees the commissioning and publication of in-depth and long-form features, including case studies and op-eds, across a breadth of topics in the B2B technology space. He also contributes to a vareity of other publications including The Week Digital and TechRadar Pro. Keumars joined ITPro as a staff writer in 2018, and has expertise in a variety of areas including  AI, cyber security, cloud computing and digital transformation, as well as public policy and legislation.