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Nextorage NEM-PA NVMe SSD Review & Benchmark – THE Sony & Phison Choice?

26 janvier 2022 à 01:41

Review of the Nextorage NEM-PA PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD

Why should you care about the Nextorage NEM-PA SSD? It is a reasonable question at the start of 2022, as it is fair to say that there are now quite a lot of SSDs available in the market that promise upwards and over 7,000MB/s. The hardware architecture and components needed for a brand to piece together a PCIe SSD for the home or business market is now nowhere near as difficult or restrictive as it once was and therefore alongside big names that we in the west have got used to seeing (such as Seagate, WD and Samsung), we have started seeing a myriad of brands arriving in the prosumer SSD market crop up. Now, with this in mind, many users home/domestic US/UK/EU users might see the brand name ‘Nextorage’ and think, who? Well, this Japanese brand was a Sony (yes, as in Sony Playstation) own company first launched in 2019 and made up of SSD specialist teams from the past 20yrs of development in the storage medium. Then 2 weeks ago it was announced that Phison (yes, as in Phison E18, the biggest and most popular PCIe 4 SSD controller in the world right now) acquired shares of its joint-venture company Nextorage Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “Nextorage”) from its joint-venture partner, Sony Storage Media Solutions Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “SSMS”; SSMS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Group Corporation). So what does all that actually mean? Japan is an enormous eSports country and alongside demanding the fastest and more durable gaming components in their setups, the priority of a drive that is so closely linked with the developer of the gaming machine AND invested in by the controller manufacturer themselves means that this SSD Brand is in a fantastically unique position to ensure the slickest performance across the board, as well as access to building resources that ensure taht the price point can be better maintained (see WD and Samsung with their pricing thanks to in-house development/hardware). These are all very lofty words of course and boasts of quality and performance do not always translate to delivering it in reality, so let’s review the Nextorage NEM-PA SSD, take a closer look at that hardware and get some testing done to see how well it fulfil on its promises. Let’s start. 

Update 25/01/22 – Nextorage got in touch to highlight that although the NEM-PA 1TB and 2TB is only available in Japan & China at the time of this review, they will be releasing this series at a competitive price in Spring 2022 in the U.S, with the launch in Europe (UK, Germany, France, etc) in the first half of 2022. I (Robbie @nascompares ) will be revisiting this SSD then to see if any firmware updates that have arrived improve/change the results of this review and benchmark and make suitable updates as appropriate.

Nextorage NEM-PA SSD Review – Quick Conclusion

Put simply, this IS an unquestionable good SSD for a PS5 upgrade. That is clearly what the brand has been going for when promoting and presenting the NEM-PA SSD and Nextorage clearly succeeded. There are hurdles to overcome at the time of writing (such as availability outside of Japan right now) that the brand say will be resolved in Spring of 2022, but if you are looking for a long term storage upgrade for your PS5, this is one of the best examples out there. The performance stands up well in both PS5 and PC testing, the architecture holds nothing back (the NAND choice and inclusive heatsink particularly add value) and the presentation (though unimportant really) go the extra mile to assure the buyer of its pedigree. I am less sure of its price point being competitive enough to stand against the WD Black SN850 (a drive with long enough in the market and first-party manufacturer to arrive at incredibly compelling pricing), but if price is not a barrier to you and you are looking for a solid PS5 upgrade for your PS5, this SSD sits comfortably in the top 5 and maybe even top 3 in the market right now. Recommended.

SPEED - 8/10
HARDWARE - 9/10
PERFORMANCE - 9/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 8/10


8.4
PROS
👍🏻Inclusive Heatsink that is radioactive black Alumite coated
👍🏻176L 3D TLC NAND is always good
👍🏻Backed by Phison AND Sony
👍🏻Solid Controller and Memory Combo
👍🏻Expertly applied heatsink
👍🏻Dynamic SLC caching stores cache size up to 1/3 of the total storage area of ​​SSD
👍🏻Exceptionally High Write Performance
👍🏻Impressive overall team control during sustained tests
CONS
👎🏻Currently only available in Japan (worldwide availability assured for Spring 2022)
👎🏻Price less competitive than the WD Black SN850

Nextorage NEM-PA SSD Review – Packaging

The retail packaging of this Japanese SSD is surprisingly well thought out. I have checked into previous Sony (or Sony connected) SSD releases and although previous releases have been a little more understated/basic-box for the most part, this is very much targeted to PS5 owners who want to upgrade this storage, first and foremost!  The affiliations with Sony are very clear here, from the official Playstation Logo and PS5 system images used on the packaging (something practically no other SSD that I have reviewed in 2021/2022 has ever featured) along with tailored instructions on PS5 installation, the synergy between all this is remarkably clear! Even the colour palette of the box is dripping in PS5 design (placement, colour scheme, layout, etc).

Opening the box reveals only a couple of bits inside, held in a cardboard outer frame. This isn’t hugely surprising, but it DID answer one of my earliest concerns when it comes to any SSD that includes a heatsink – does it come pre-attached (at the factory level) as that normally means it was applied significantly more efficiently and in a dust-free environment, and indeed, that is the case here. The only things inside are the Nextorage NEM-PA SSD + Heatsink combo and the instruction manual.

However, I do want to take the tiniest pause to look at the instructions manual. Although I generally ignore this paper leaflet/pamphlet style documents with an SSD (as they tend to be just related to warranty and regional material disposal regulations – sexy stuff I know), in the case of the Nextorage NEM-PA SSD things have a slight change that we should look at. Once again, much like the packaging being very PS5 focused with official livery, the included document is specifically tailored to installing this SSD in a PS5 console and is surprisingly detailed. Installing an SSD inside the PlayStation 5 is not exactly rocket science, however for technical newbies, m.2 NVMe SSD storage is quite intimidating compared with domestic storage from gaming past such as Memory cards, USB and SD Cards. I definitely liked this tiny little presentational extra and although it bears little importance in the grand scheme of things, I did think it worthy of note.

Removing the Nextorage NEM-PA SSD from it’s antistatic bag, we find quite a chunky looking SSD+heatsink combo. Measuring 23 mm×11.2 mm×80.4 mm, it fits in the PS5 M.2 SSD upgrade slot at the 2280 mark (more detail later) and definitely feels like a sturdy build piece of kit. The logo for the brand is printed in an understated fashion on it’s side and base, but clearly, the heatsink takes up the bulk of its physical architecture.

Flipping the SSD over shows us that this heatsink is a completely surrounding cage design. The 2TB model of the NEM-PA is a double-sided SSD (1TB single-sided) and once again, the understated branding is pretty slick. Indeed, the heatsink at a casual glance looks quite generic, but when you get up close you definitely see a few little tweaks of uniqueness.

For a start, the heatsink does not COMPLETELY cover the SSD, it holds the 2280 M.2 SSD in a tray/bay and allows a little air/heat escape at the tail end. The main body of the heatsink top is a few millimetres further along and allows any airflow through the dips/valleys of the length of it to open out quite neatly.

The top of the heatsink is held in place at 6 individual screw points and although this seems a little overkill, it makes a lot of sense when you see how the thermal pads have been distributed on the SSD to balance pressure against the SSD but not crunch it.

Another lovely bonus of getting a pre-attached heatsink+SSD combo that is applied at the factory level is just how slick the unit is applied. The heatsink is in perfect alignment with the furthermore NAND chip and leaves amply room for the m.2 connectors to connect with the host system. Again, this is a rather minor point BUT you would be staggered how badly this can be done and results in inefficient heat dissipation and airflow.

The heatsink’s 6 screw attachment was held in place remarkably tightly (likely to increase contact and assist heat transference as much as possible) and although I went ahead and removed them (VERY carefully, as they were very soft-headed screws) Netorage is pretty clear that removing this heatsink will largely invalidate their warranty support. Reasons for this became clear as soon as I managed to remove it.

The SSD features a layer of thermal padding on either side of the drive, however, it is much more comparable to paste (think of the silicon gel and paste you use with a CPU) and once removed, flaked and completely lost cohesion (fortunately Nextorage supplied two review samples).  I was able to remove the heatsink top and base with little difficulty, but the pressure of those 6 screws around the heatsink assembly meant that removal from the SSD components themselves was much messier!

The surrounding heatsink casing around the SSD is remarkably well spaced and the heatsink itself is aluminium in core material, however (as highlighted in my video review) it is also coated with a highly thermal radioactive black alumite, for assisted heat pass through.

Indeed, throughout our 18 stage test period, with 1 minute cool down time between and sustained Read and/or Write activity, the Nextorage only peaked at 44 degrees celsius – very impressive indeed!

However, PC benchmarking is less of a current subject for the Nextorage NEM-PA SSD, as this drive has PS5 users squarely in its sights. So, how did this SSD perform i nthe PS5?

If you install the Nextorage SSD into a PS5 storage expansion bay, the heatsink sits in perfectly, as well as looking quite in-line with the rest of the hardware inside the PS5 chassis. The next question of course is whether this rather chunky SSD heatsink of the Nextorage NEM-PA will actually allow the metal cover plate of the PS5 M.2 expansion bay to close?

And yes, it closed with zero issue/contact. The jury is still out on whether you should use the aluminium m.2 cover plate on the PS5, but nevertheless, this SSD definitely fits neatly and without issue.

Unlike PC benchmarks that are typically advertised on all SSD product pages that point at CrystalDisk, AJA, ATTO and more (we will cover those later), the PS5 has it’s own very unique internal benchmark system (which has been updated since it was first available last autumn). Although the key points of what an SSD scores on are not provided, we can make some educated guesses based on results from other drives tested. High sequential Read and Write are always going to contribute, however the IOPS performance of an SSD seems to be a big factor and on-drive cache performance/flushing too seems to help. In the case of this SSD, the benchmark (the 1TB version was tested) was 6,539MB/s, which for a 1TB SSD is very impressive! I performed this benchmark 3 more times and scores of 6300, 6100 and 6500MB/s were reached (factoring in repeated benchmarks can oversaturate the cache a bit). All in all, very good numbers.

As you might expect, the SSD storage immediately appears on your PS5 Storage manager (2TB shown below as ref) and is available for games storage immediately. It’s a minor point (raised by the less PS5 storage awareness) but do remember that installing an SSD in your PS5 does NOT replace the internal PS5 SSD, it simply adds it as another area of available storage.

So, lets take a look at how that benchmark compares with over similar architecture and priced drives in the market for PS5.

Nextorage NEM-PA SSD Review – PS5 Benchmark

To put the Nextorage NEM-PA SSD PS5 Performance Benchmark into a little perspective, here is how it compares against the Addlink A95, Adata XPG Gammix S70, Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus and Gigabyte Aorus 7000s – four SSDs that are all PS5 supported and VERY similar architecture very little difference between the others in this tier, it is a solid benchmark.

Addlink A95 PS5 Benchmark – 6556MB/s XPG GAMMIX S70 PS5 Benchmark – 6235MB/s
Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus – 6557MB/s Gigabyte Aorus 7000s PS5 Benchmark6557MB/s

Full PS5 Testing of the Nextorage NEM-PA PCIe 4 NVMe SSD will be live on the NASCompares YouTube channel soon. When they are, you will find them below.

So that is the physical design of the Nextorage NEM-PA SSD. But what about the hardware components themselves? Does the Nextorage NEM-PA cut the mustard in terms of current generation hardware and protocols? Let’s find out.

Nextorage NEM-PA SSD Review – Hardware Specifications

As you might expect from an M.2 NVMe SSD that boldly promises performance of over 7,000MB/s sequential read (ie BIG data), the hardware specifications and architecture of the Nextorage NEM-PA are quite modern. Indeed, for all the big talk of the Seagate Firecuda 530 hardware (still currently the ‘score to beat’ PCIE Gen4 m.2 NVMe right now) being top tier, the Nextorage NEM-PA is pretty darn similar on the spec sheet! Below is how it looks:

Nextorage NEM-PA

1TB – $TBC, 2TB – $TBC

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe Rev 1.4
NAND 176L 3D TLC NAND
Max Capacity 2TB
Controller Phison E18
Warranty 5yr

I know a lot of the above will seem needlessly technical, so below we can bring the most important considerations into sharper focus.

Hardware Focus of the Nextorage NEM-PA SSD Series

Once you remove the heatsink and brush off the thermal gel/paste, you have a regular designed PCIe 4 SSD as you would expect. The controller is located in the middle, alongside the 2666Mhz DDR4 memory (scaled) and the 2TB SSD has NAND on either side of the PCB. Although Nextorage are rather quite about the specifications of the SSD components on their official pages, they really do not need to be, as a brief look up of the part numbers shows that a couple are top-notch indeed.

As you might expect from NeXtorage and its NEM-PA being heavily invested in by Phison themselves, the controller of this SSD is the Phison PS5018-E18. Although the NEM-PA is by no means the first commercially available SSD to use this PCIe4 controller, it is worth highlighting that this component was given additional thermal padding (as visible by the circle on the chip in the image) to further increase conductivity for heat passing to the heatsink. Also, this SSD controller has a high precision error correction algorithm “4th Gen LDPC (Low Density Parity Check)”, which has advanced detection and correction technology for random bit errors that occur during reading and largely protects the data from corruption.

The Netsorage NEM-PA features 1/2GB of DDR4 memory (depending on the capacity of the SSD) and alongside that being pretty much the best-performing memory at PCIe4 SSD level you can get at this time, the drive also features Dynamic SLC, which mean provides cache size up to 1/3 of the total storage area of ​​SSD, which accelerates frequently accessed data and extends the life of TLC NAND. Lovely stuff.

The NAND on the Nextorage NEM-PA (where the data lives!) is an area I am surprised that the brand is not louder about, as even a quick investigation shows that it is 176L 3D TLC NAND (ID -IA7BG94AYA). Currently there are only about 4-5 other SSDs in the market at this tier that uses 176L NAND and given the inclusive heatsink, E18 controller and top tier brand backing, that makes this a very nice bonus as 176L NAND means better performance, IOPS, durability and general usability in numerous ways (with the bulk of other SSDs in the market at 96L).

Overall, the building blocks of the Nextorage NEM-PA NVMe SSD are all pretty darn good and make it clearly stand on ar with similar SSDs such as the Seagate Firecuda 530 in terms of build, but challenge the performance of lower priced alternatives like the Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850. Let’s have a look at how they compare on the datasheets!

Overall, you really cannot fault the hardware inside/onboard the Nextorage NEM-PA, as it is still promising higher performing in sequential Read and Write than many other M.2 NVMe PCIe 4 SSDs released in that time. Before we go into the full testing, however, it is worth taking a moment to look closely at the reported performance benchmarks of the Nextorage NEM-PA, as although the performance seems stellar, there are areas such as IOPS and endurance when compared with its main rivals that are worth taking into consideration.

Nextorage NEM-PA SSD Review – Official Stats First

Taking a deep dive into the specifications of the Nextorage NEM-PA and how they compare with the Seagate Firecuda 530 and WD Black SN850, we can see that in terms of architecture, it is extremely close to the Firecuda build. These two SSDs arrived on the market around 5 months apart, unlike the WD Black which arrived almost 1.5yrs before! So, lets take a closer look:

Brand/Series Nextorage NEM-PA

1TB – $TBC, 2TB – $TBC

Seagate Firecuda 530

500GB – $149.99, 1TB – $239.99, 2TB – $489.99, 4TB – $949.99

WD Black SN850

500GB – $169.99, 1TB – $249.99, 2TB – $549.99

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND 176L 3D TLC NAND 3D TLC Micron B47R 176L BiCS4 96L TLC
Max Capacity 2TB – Double Sided 4TB – Double Sided 2TB
Controller Phison E18-PS5018 Phison E18-PS5018 WD_BLACK G2
Warranty 5yr 5yr 5yr
500GB Model N/A ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Price in $ and $ N/A $139 / £119 $119 / £99
1TB Model NEM-PA1TB ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Price in $ and $ $TBC / £TBC $239 / £199 $249 / £169
2TB Model NEM-PA2TB ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Price in $ and $ $TBC / £TBC $419 / £379 $399 / £339
4TB Model N/A ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Price in $ and $ N/A $949 / £789 N/A
500GB Model N/A ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) N/A 640TB 300TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) N/A 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD N/A 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
1TB Model NEM-PA1TB ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 700TB 1275TB 600TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,600,000 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.38DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
2TB Model NEM-PA2TB ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 1400TB 2550TB 1200TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,600,000 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.38DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
4TB Model N/A ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) N/A 5100TB N/A
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) N/A 1,800,000 N/A
DWPD N/A 0.7DWPD N/A

The durability in terms of Terabytes written in the 5 year warranty period (also the drive writes per day) put the Nextorage NEM-PA in the middle of the three (despite the slightly outmoded MTBF figure). Pricing at the month is tough to compare, given that the NEM-PA is only available in Japan (with plans for global availability in Spring 2022. For a better understanding of the specifications and terms of these SSDs, here is a video that breaks down the terminology of modern SSDs:

Now, let’s break down the performance of these three SSDs in terms of throughput (i.e Read and Write speeds at the top end sequentially) and IOPS (individual commands of the smallest size that can be delivered to the SSD per second at the 4k level randomly. Here is the result of that comparison:

Brand/Series Nextorage NEM-PA

1TB – $TBC, 2TB – $TBC

Seagate Firecuda 530

500GB – $149.99, 1TB – $239.99, 2TB – $489.99, 4TB – $949.99

WD Black SN850

500GB – $169.99, 1TB – $249.99, 2TB – $549.99

500GB Model N/A ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB N/A 7000MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB N/A 3000MB 4100MB
1TB Model NEM-PA1TB ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6000MB 6000MB 5300MB
2TB Model NEM-PA2TB ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB 6900MB 5100MB
4TB Model N/A ZP4000GM3A013  
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB N/A 7300MB N/A
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB N/A 6900MB N/A
Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530 WD Black SN850
500GB Model N/A ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 N/A 400,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 N/A 700,000 680,000
1TB Model NEM-PA1TB ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 750000 800000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1000000 1000000 720,000
2TB Model NEM-PA2TB ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1000000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1000000 1,000,000 710,000
4TB Model N/A ZP4000GM3A013  
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 N/A 1,000,000 N/A
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 N/A 1,000,000 N/A

The Nextorage NEM-PA is RIGHT BEHIND the Seagate Firecuda in IOPS and on the same level on throughput. The WD Black, released much, much earlier carries similar numbers on IOPS but write performance (less key to PS5 users of course) is noticeably lower. Overall, the NEM-PA definitely stands up well against these two popular PS5 choices and even surpasses them in a few areas. Let’s get this SSD in the test machine and begin the benchmarks!

Testing the Nextorage NEM-PA m.2 PCIE4 NVMe SSD

The Nextorage NEM-PA was selected for this test and it was tested using multiple benchmark tools, from a cold boot, in the 2nd storage slot (i.e not the OS drive). Each test was conducted three times (full details of this are shown in the YouTube Review of the Nextorage NEM-PA over on NASCompares):

Test Machine:

  • Windows 10 Pro Desktop System
  • Intel i5 11400 Rocket Lake – 6-Core 2.6/4.4Ghz
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory
  • Intel B560M mATX Motherboard
  • OS Storage, Seagate Firecuda 120 SSD
  • Test SSD connected to Secondary PCIe Gen 4 M.2 Slot

Using CrystalDisk, we got a good measure of the drive and verified that this PCIe Gen 4 x4 SSD was indeed using the 4×4 lane. Additionally, the temp averaged out around 41C between each test being conducted.

The first tests were conducted using the ATTO disk benchmark software. The first was a 256MB test file size and below is a breakdown of the transfer rates and IOPS. The 2nd Test was a 1GB test file and finally, the last test was with a 4GB test file. The system was given 1-minute cool downtime between tests, no screen recording software was used (remove overhead) and a heatsink was used throughout (no reboots)

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #1

256MB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 6.61GB/s

256MB File PEAK Write Throughput = 6.33GB/s

 


 

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #2

1GB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 6.61GB/s

1GB File PEAK Write Throughput = 6.32GB/s

 


 

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #3

4GB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 6.59GB/s

4GB File PEAK Write Throughput = 6.47GB/s

 


 

Next, although the ATTO tests were quite good, but not what I would have hoped from this SSD, so I moved on to the Crystal Disk Mark testing to see how well it would handle our last barrage of tests. The first test was the 1GB file testing, which measured both sequential and random, as well as the read and write IOPS. Test were conducted on a 1GB, 4GB and 16GB Test File. I also included a mixed 70/30 read and write task to give a little bit more of a realistic balanced workload. These tests were conducted with a 1-minute cooling break in between

CRYSTALDISK MARK 1GB TEST


CRYSTALDISK MARK 4GB TEST


CRYSTALDISK MARK 16GB TEST

 

Next, I switched to AS SSD benchmark. A much more thorough test through, I used 1GB, 3GB and 5GB test files. Each test includes throughput benchmarks and IOPS that are respective to the larger file sizes (important, if you are reading this and trying to compare against the reported 4K IOPS from the manufacturer).

AS SSD Benchmark Test #1

 


AS SSD Benchmark Test #2

 


AS SSD Benchmark Test #3

 

Ordinarily, I would introduce tests like BlackMagic and AJA into the mix here, but even a short burst of testing on an NVMe like this would over saturate the cache memory on board. Nevertheless, in the short term we still could ascertain the reported performance on 1GB, 4GB and 16GB file testing was:

1GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 5920MB/s Read & 5703MB/s Write

4GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 5861MB/s Read & 5678MB/s Write

16GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 5829MB/s Read & 5553MB/s Write

Overall, the Nextorage NEM-PA was certainly able to provide some solid performance, as well as potentially exceed the test figures here on a more powerful machine. Given the reported Read and Write statistics that the brand has stated publically, I think there is enough evidence here to back up those claims. IOPs were a little lower than I expected, but again, we were testing very large file types, so this would have to be taken in context.

Nextorage NEM-PA SSD Review – Conclusion

Put simply, this IS an unquestionable good SSD for a PS5 upgrade. That is clearly what the brand has been going for when promoting and presenting the NEM-PA SSD and Nextorage clearly succeeded. There are hurdles to overcome at the time of writing (such as availability outside of Japan right now) that the brand say will be resolved in Spring of 2022, but if you are looking for a long term storage upgrade for your PS5, this is one of the best examples out there. The performance stands up well in both PS5 and PC testing, the architecture holds nothing back (the NAND choice and inclusive heatsink particularly add value) and the presentation (though unimportant really) go the extra mile to assure the buyer of its pedigree. I am less sure of its price point being competitive enough to stand against the WD Black SN850 (a drive with long enough in the market and first-party manufacturer to arrive at incredibly compelling pricing), but if price is not a barrier to you and you are looking for a solid PS5 upgrade for your PS5, this SSD sits comfortably in the top 5 and maybe even top 3 in the market right now. Recommended

PROs of the Nextorage NEM-PA CONs of the Nextorage NEM-PA
  • Inclusive Heatsink that is radioactive black Alumite coated
  • 176L 3D TLC NAND is always good
  • Backed by Phison AND Sony
  • Solid Controller and Memory Combo
  • Expertly applied heatsink
  • Dynamic SLC caching stores cache size up to 1/3 of the total storage area of ​​SSD
  • Exceptionally High Write Performance
  • Impressive overall team control during sustained tests
  • Currently only available in Japan (worldwide availability assured for Spring 2022)
  • Price less competitive than the WD Black SN850

 


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Addlink A92 SSD Review – The Lowest Priced PS5 SSD You Can Buy?

13 décembre 2021 à 01:35

Review of the Addlink A92 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD

I think it would be fair to say that NVMe SSDs that take advantage of QLC NAND in order to provide a much lower price point get a bit of a bad RAP. The Addlink A92 SSD from Addlink is the 3rd and lowest priced entry into their PS5 A-Series of SSDs for expanding your console storage and a lot of that affordability stems from the use of more low priced NAND. For those that are not away, an SSD is made of several internal components – a controller (the brains of the outfit), the memory (keeps things moving) and the NAND (where the data actually lives). The NAND on an SSD can dictate many things, that include the total storage, speed and durability of the SSD as it is regularly written to. In the world of SSD, the least enduring and performing NAND you can use typically is QLC NAND (quad-layer cell) but what you lose, you then gain in being able to get a lot more storage space for your money. The A92 NVMe SSD for PS5 however is something a pinch different. Arriving with PCIe Gen 4 M.2 connectivity, a controller that is used by many of the big-name SSD brands, same DDR 4 memory as many and arriving with PS5 compatibility, this QLC SSD might actually be quite a sensible move for a considerably more closed system like the PS5 – given that most typically users are going to Read data from the SSD 95% over 5% Writing games when downloading etc. Even the on-paper benchmarks which appear lower than the PS5 recommended minimum benchmark are then countered by the PS5 itself clocking it OVER the recommended 5,500MB/s minimum needed for PS5 compatibility. So, today I want to fully review the Addlink A92 NVMe SSD for PC and PC gaming, benchmark it on PS5, performance test it on a PC and hopefully help you decide whether the Addlink A92 is an SSD worthy of your gaming system? Let’s begin.

Interested in the Addlink A95 SSD? Here is the Addlink A95 Prosumer PS5 SSD Review herehttps://nascompares.com/2021/10/15/addlink-a95-ps5-ssd-review-bringing-its-a-game

Alternatively, there is the mid-range Addlink A90 NVMe SSD for PS5 Here – https://nascompares.com/2021/10/15/addlink-a95-ps5-ssd-review-bringing-its-a-game

Addlink A92 SSD Review – Quick Conclusion

Fairplay to Addlink – the A92 SSD DEFINITELY works on the PS5. From its confirmed benchmarks to like for like performance comparisons on PS5 (Full tests HERE), it cannot be said that this rather modest QLC M.2 NVMe SSD is not suitable for PS5. Arriving as easily one of the best value SSDs for the PS5 storage expansion upgrade, as well as being one of the highest performing QLC SSDs I have yet to feature on the channel in 2021, I have almost nothing but praise for it. My professional ‘hat’ will tell you that QLC NAND SSD is always to be avoided, as they lack the long term endurance and performance of their TLC alternatives in the market. However, it has to be acknowledged that their utility is much more closed gaming systems like the PS5, where the end user cannot push these SSDs in particularly hard or any unconventional ways. Therefore there is an argument that QLC NAND SSDs might have finally found their ideal use for most day-to-day users. Of course, the performance of the Addlink A92 in the PS5 seems great now, but we have no idea how much devs are going to push the PS5 hardware in years to come and if the A92 has the staying power in your system to still be a reliable storage upgrade to run your games in 2023-2024. That said, at this price tag, with it’s the inclusive heatsink and arriving at almost half the price of some other brands at the 4TB level, those looking for a much more affordable PS5 SSD upgrade have little to complain about here.

SPEED - 6/10
HARDWARE - 7/10
DURABILITY - 3/10
PRICE - 7/10
VALUE - 7/10


6.0
PROS
👍🏻Genuinely Impressive Performance on a Phison E16 SSD in PS5 & PC
👍🏻First Time QLC NAND SSDs might have found a home
👍🏻
👍🏻Inclusive Heatsink and STILL lower in price than the Sabrent Rocket Q4 by around 10%
👍🏻
👍🏻PS5 Benchmark rated at 5,600MB/s+
👍🏻
👍🏻Lowest Prices 4TB 2280 PCIe4 SSD in the Market
CONS
👎🏻QLC NAND SSD’s are always a bit of an industry negative and durability is very low
👎🏻Low Sustained Write Performance

Addlink A92 SSD Review – Packaging

Shiny. Very, VERY Shiny! That is how I would begin in describing the packaging here. Arriving in somewhat holographic packaging, the retail box of the Addlink S95 pulls no punches here when it comes to aiming at the gamers, with most of the focus going to performance stats and highlighting their A Game gamer series (the A92, A92 and A92).

The rear of the box makes a point of not only highlighting that this SSD is PS5 compatible, but also it’s one of the first SSDs I have had in for review that actually features the official PS5 logo. Along with that, there is a little nod to the heatsink and rather unique (at least as far as other M.2 SSDs on the market) application of the heatsink, using a much more malleable substance (we will go into more detail later) they are keen to highlight that this does an improved job of maintaining the SSD temperature. This will be covered at the last 3rd of this review in the testing and benchmarking.

The contents of the box are a little small, but not in a bad way. A first-time setup guide and warranty information is included in a booklet (as well as the usual web/3D-Barcode links), as well as the SSD itself (with heating pre-applied).

The Heatsink on the Addlink A92 is an interesting mix of elements that include aesthetical design, air efficiency and professional application. Addlink have an impressive range of m.2 NVMe solutions in their catalogue, many using modified versions of this heatsink (depending on the product series), so the need to add the Add AGame logo and PCIe4.0 architecture makes sense.

Looking at the A92 heatsink directly, it is a sweet looking design. Comprised of 3 main elements, a pre-cute metal plate with air channel grooves, a secondary metal clip that surrounds it and finally the thermal silica gel pad that connected the Heatsink to the SSD.

Looking at the Addlink A92 at an angle shows that, despite the aggressive nature of the heatsink, it is actually not very tall. In fact, the Low-Profile designed heatsink is only has a 9.1 mm height, with the total Heatsink+silica+SSD coming to just under 11.25mm. With space being at a premium in the PS5 M.2 SSD slot (and users wanting a little space around/above their SSD+HS to promote any airflow, this is particularly impressive.

Likewise, the heatsink is fractionally raised from the SSD a degree higher than most SSD+HS combos on the Adddlink A92, as the silica gel between them is particularly thick and envelopes the chips underneath a tad (on purpose). This means that is a surrounding around that can capture passing airflow around the SSD, that is not obstructed by a surrounding casing.

Removing the Addlink A92 Heatsink was NOT easy. I cannot stress enough how well attached this heatsink was! I nearly snapped the SSD in two trying to remove it. The SSD uses an adhesive coated silica gel that covered the entirety of the M.2 NVMe SSD, but also slightly envelopes each chip on the drive. It doesn’t smother them (so no touching the PCB) but it does surround the edges of each component to cover a greater physical density, whilst still remaining tidy.

A closer look a the heatsink base shows you just how well it surrounds each chip (with clear indications of where each was placed from imprints). Additionally, you can see that the consistency of the silica gel pad is not the same as the reusable pads in other heatsinks, with this substance having more in common with thermal paste found on CPUs. The slightly porous nature of it definitely seemed to ensure that the components were adequately covered and it does leave you with a distinct feeling of quality and professional application.

Taking the time to clean a little of the silica gel away, you can see that the A92’s controller is much lower on the board than many other SSDs (where it will more often be located directly beneath the m.2 key connector.

As mentioned, the Addlink A92 NVMe SSD fits very neatly into the PS5 SSD upgrade slot, with a clear few millimetres between the heatsink and the m.2 slot cover. Although it is worth highlighting that this heatsink was originally designed for a gaming desktop PC installation (like 99% of other M.2 SD heatsinks), so I will hold full judgement on how efficient the A92 heatsink is for PS5 heat dissipation for another article/video soon.

So that is the physical design of the Addlink A92 SSD. But what about the hardware components themselves? Does the Addlink A92 cut the mustard in terms of current generation hardware and protocols? Let’s find out.

Addlink A92 SSD Review – PS5 Benchmark

Upon installing the Addlink A92 SSD into the PS5, the system gave an impressive benchmark of 5620MB/s. It should be noted that the PS5 has a very unique benchmarking system internally for its own software needs and although Sony recommends that you only use SSDs with a reported 5,500MB/s+ performance (sequential Read) minimum, we have seen SSDs with a lower reported PC benchmark of this be rated at 5,500MB/s+ om the PS5 benchmark. So, there is definitely wiggle room there.

To put the Addlink A92 SSD PS5 Performance Benchmark into a little perspective, here is how it compares against the Sabrent Rocket Q4, as these SSDs that are both PS5 supported and VERY similar architecture:

Addlink A92 PS5 Benchmark – 5620MB/s Sabrent Rocket Q4 PS5 Benchmark – 5621MB/s

With very little difference between the top three others in this tier, it is a solid benchmark. Additionally, the Addlink A92 takes care of overprovisioning at the NAND/Controller level (with four 96L QLC NAND modules of 512GB), so that means that this 2TB SSD is genuinely available as 2TB on the Playstation 5 Storage manager (not 1,920GB as seen previously):

Full PS5 Testing of the Addlink A92 (along with the A90 and A95) are available HERE on the NASCompares YouTube channel. But for now, let’s carry on with looking at the hardware of the A92, how it conventionally benchmarks and how it compares with currently favourite QLC NAND SSD, the Sabrent Rocket Q4.

Addlink A92 SSD Review – Hardware Specifications

The first thing to look at is the architecture of this SSD. Later we will compare it against a very similar built SSD, the sabrnet Rockeet QLC, but for now, here is how the SSD SSD is built:

Addlink A92

1TB – $139/£115 – 2TB – $267/£249 4TB – $539 / £499

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.3
NAND QLC KIOXIA 96L
Max Capacity 4TB – Double Sided
Controller Phison E16-PS5016
Warranty 5yr

I know a lot of the above will seem needlessly technical, so below we can bring the most important considerations into sharper focus.

Hardware Focus of the Addlink A92 SSD Series

The first big, BIG thing to remember here is the controller, that Phison E16. An SSD is much like a microcosm version of a whole computer. The Controller is equivalent to the CPU, and Phison are one of the bigger 3rd party SSD controller manufacturers in the world! I say 3rd party, because some long-running storage brands like Samsung and WD have most of their development and hardware engineering ‘in-house’ and use their own branded controllers. Whereas some brands source some/all components for their SSDs from 3rd parties – which is not necessarily a bad thing for both them and the industry (there are pros and cons on either side). Phison has been at the cutting edge of this subject for years now and the newer E18 was first revealed last year in 2020, but due to the pandemic making storage trends unpredictable and semi-conductor shortages, most SSDs that utilized the Phison E18 eventually arrived in 2021. Before that though was the Phison E16, the brands first PCIe 4.0 controller for NVMe SSD and it was widely featured by SSD brands at launch. This controller is one of the biggest reasons that the Addlink A92 can actually back up its promises about the 5,00MB/s+ Sequential Read (sequential data = big chunks of data). However, that is not the only reason.

The NAND on the Addlink A92 is where the data lives! SSDs (as you no doubt know) do not use moving parts as found in traditional hard drives and instead uses cells that are charged and data is read/written to them in this process. The quality of the NAND and the layers used will make a big difference to the durability and performance. The Addlink A92 and it’s Phison 16 arrive with 96 layer 3D QLC NAND onboard but it’s pairing with QLC NAND (not the more common but arguably more expensive TLC NAND) but does feature it at 96L, which is on par with more current-gen PCIe 4 M.2 SSDs in the market.

Much like the Controller on the Addlink A92 being the ‘CPU’, it also has an area of memory. The Addlink A92 SSD uses DDR4 memory on board and this in conjunction with the SSD provides a massive body of data handling resources for getting your data moving through the SSD and out of the m.2 NVMe PCIe 4 interface. The amount of memory scales in conjunction with the 1TB or 2TB SSD you use, with 2GB of DDR4 at the on the 2TB tier, 1GB DDR4 on the 1TB, etc.

Finally, there is the M.2 NVMe connection. Not all m.2 SSDs are created equal and although M.2 SATA and M.2 NVMe look similar, they provide massively different performance and connectivity. However, the Addlink A92 takes it one step further, by using a newer generation of PCIe Connectivity. In short, M.2 NVMe SSDs are connected to the host PC/Console system via PCIe protocol (think of those slots that you almost always use for your graphics cards, but a much, MUCH smaller connector). These allow much larger bandwidth (ie maximum speed) for the connected storage media, Much like regular PCIe slots, they have different versions (i.E PCIe Gen 1, 2, 3, 4, etc) and also a multiplying factor (x1, x2, x4, etc). Up until around 18 months ago, the best M.2 NVMes were M.2 PCIe Gen 3×4 (so a maximum 4,000MB/s possible). However, never generation SSD like the Addlink A92 use PCIe Gen 4×4 (a potential 8,000MB/s possible) and it is only now that SSD controllers and NAND production has reached a point where it can catch up and fully saturate (i.e fill) this connection.

Overall, you really cannot fault the hardware inside/onboard the Addlink A92 (apparent from querying that NAND), as it is still (at release) higher performing in sequential Read and Write than many other M.2 NVMe SSDs in the market at both QLC use AND those at PCIe Gen 3. Before we go into the full testing, however, it is worth taking a moment to look closely at the reported performance benchmarks of the Addlink A92, as although the performance seems stellar, there are areas such as IOPS and endurance when compared with its main rivals that are worth taking into consideration.

Addlink A92 SSD Review – Official Stats First

Before we conduct our own testing on this SSD, Let’s take a closer look at the reported specifications and benchmarks first. The Addlink A92 SSD arrives in multiple capacities (below), although rather odd that there is no 8TB version, given the space increases that QLC SSDs allow and some brands able to squeeze 8TB on a 2280 SSD at QLC level. The Prices currently are a little inconsistent (with each higher capacity tier actually having a higher price per GB – quite unusual) likely due to the hardware shortages, the Pandemic, Chia has affected SSD availability in the last 12 months and most recently the announcement that PS5 supports this SSD and it has increased the majority of PS5 supported SSDs price point in most regions. Below is a breakdown of how each Addlink A92 SSD compares against its closest competitor, the Sabrent Rocket Q4:

Brand/Series Addlink A92

1TB – $139/£115 – 2TB – $267/£249 4TB – $539 / £499

Sabrent Rocket Q4

1TB – $159/£140 – 2TB – $319/£285 4TB – $749/£605

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.3 NVMe 1.3
NAND QLC KIOXIA 96L QLC Micron 96L
Max Capacity 2TB – Double Sided 4TB – Single Sided
Controller Phison E16-PS5016 Phison E16-PS5016
Warranty 5yr 1yr/5yr
500GB Model N/A N/A
Price in $ and $ N/A N/A
1TB Model AD1TBA92M2P SB-RKTQ4-1TB
Price in $ and $ $139 / £135 $159 / £140
2TB Model AD2TBA92M2P SB-RKTQ4-2TB
Price in $ and $ $267 / £249 $319 / £285
4TB Model AD4TBA92M2P SB-RKTQ4-4TB
Price in $ and $ $539 / £499 $749 / £605
500GB Model N/A N/A
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) N/A N/A
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) N/A N/A
DWPD N/A N/A
1TB Model AD1TBA92M2P SB-RKTQ4-1TB
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 200TB 200TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) N/A 1,800,000
DWPD 0.1DWPD 0.1DWPD
2TB Model AD2TBA92M2P SB-RKTQ4-2TB
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 400TB 400TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) N/A 1,800,000
DWPD 0.1DWPD 0.1DWPD
4TB Model AD4TBA92M2P SB-RKTQ4-4TB
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 800TB 800TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) N/A 1,800,000
DWPD 0.1DWPD 0.1DWPD

There are clear throughput improvements as you rise through the capacity tiers (not unusual), as does the rated 4K IOPS. Though one area worth focusing on a little is that TBW (terabytes Written) and DWPD (Drive writes per day), as the expected massive drop in durability (chiefly focused on daily/annual write activity) is massive compared with other higher tier SSDs in the market, allow on par with the Sabrent Rocket Q4. s mentioned, although the durability of an SSD is incredibly important, the PS5 (and indeed PC gaming outside of streaming and recording/capture) is an INCREDIBLY heavy READ activity, so although durability is important still, the drop to 0.1 Drive Write per day (when compared against the 0.4 and 0.9 DWPD of the A95 and A90) is not as make-or-break as it might have been elsewhere.

As you might expect from the use of the Phison E16 controller and 96 layer NAND, the reported IOPS on each capacity is actually pretty similar to the 96L Sabrent Rocket Q4. This is still very impressive anyway (if compared against older-gen SSDs and not prosumer class drives). As aside from the NAND on the A92, the rest of the architecture of the drive is actually very similar indeed to the Firecuda 520, Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 and Silcon Power US70 – with write performance vs those TLC NAND SSDs almost half in some places (getting considerably worse at the lower capacities). Below is the read and write of the Addlink A92 vs the Sabrent Rocket Q4, along with reported IOPS:

Brand/Series Addlink A92

1TB – $139/£115 – 2TB – $267/£249 4TB – $539 / £499

Sabrent Rocket Q4

1TB – $159/£140 – 2TB – $319/£285 4TB – $749/£605

500GB Model N/A N/A
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB N/A N/A
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB N/A N/A
1TB Model AD1TBA92M2P SB-RKTQ4-1TB
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 4700MB 4700MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 1850MB 1850MB
2TB Model AD2TBA92M2P SB-RKTQ4-2TB
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 4850MB 4800MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3600MB 3600MB
4TB Model AD4TBA92M2P SB-RKTQ4-4TB
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 4900MB 4900MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3600MB 3500MB
Brand/Series Addlink A92 Sabrent Rocket Q4
500GB Model N/A N/A
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 N/A N/A
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 N/A N/A
1TB Model AD1TBA92M2P SB-RKTQ4-1TB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 180,000 180,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 450,000 450,000
2TB Model AD2TBA92M2P SB-RKTQ4-2TB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 350000 350000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700,000 700000
4TB Model AD4TBA92M2P SB-RKTQ4-4TB
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 350000 350,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700000 700,000

So incredibly similar! There are a few slithers of difference here, but given the 10% or so price decrease in the Addlink A92 (as well as the fact it includes a premium heatsink), it does make that drive look the better choice of the two. That said, both SSDs (on paper at this stage!) are fantastic examples of where consumer and prosumer SSDs are evolving towards. Let’s get the Addlink A92 on the test machine!

Testing the Addlink A92 m.2 PCIE4 NVMe SSD

The Addlink A92 was selected for this test and it was tested using multiple benchmark tools, from a cold boot, in the 2nd storage slot (i.e not the OS drive). Each test was conducted three times (full details of this are shown in the YouTube Review of the Addlink A92 over on NASCompares):

Test Machine:

  • Windows 10 Pro Desktop System
  • Intel i5 11400 Rocket Lake – 6-Core 2.6/4.4Ghz
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory
  • Intel B560M mATX Motherboard
  • OS Storage, Seagate Firecuda 120 SSD
  • Test SSD connected to Secondary PCIe Gen 4 M.2 Slot

Using CrystalDisk, we got a good measure of the drive and verified that this PCIe Gen 4 x4 SSD was indeed using the 4×4 lane. Additionally, the temp averaged out around 41C between each test being conducted.

CRYSTAL DISK BENCHAMRK

The first tests were conducted using the ATTO disk benchmark software. The first was a 256MB test file size and below is a breakdown of the transfer rates and IOPS. The 2nd Test was a 1GB test file and finally, the last test was with a 4GB test file. The system was given 1-minute cool downtime between tests, no screen recording software was used (remove overhead) and a heatsink was used throughout (no reboots)

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #1

256MB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 5.24GB/s

256MB File PEAK Write Throughput = 3.49GB/s

 


 

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #2

1GB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 5.23GB/s

1GB File PEAK Write Throughput = 3.53GB/s

 


 

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #3

4GB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 5.23GB/s

4GB File PEAK Write Throughput = 3.53GB/s

 


 

Next, although the ATTO tests were quite good, but not what I would have hoped from this SSD, so I moved on to the Crystal Disk Mark testing to see how well it would handle our lasts barrage of tests. The first test was the 1GB file testing, which measured both sequential and random, as well as the read and write IOPS. Test were conducted on a 1GB, 4GB and 16GB Test File. I also included a mixed 70/30 read and write task to give a little bit more of a realistic balanced workload. These tests were conducted with 1-minute cooling break in between

CRYSTALDISK MARK 1GB TEST


CRYSTALDISK MARK 4GB TEST


CRYSTALDISK MARK 16GB TEST

Next, I switched to AS SSD benchmark. A much more thorough test through, I used 1GB, 3GB and 5GB test files. Each test includes throughput benchmarks and IOPS that are respective to the larger file sizes (important, if you are reading this and trying to compare against the reported 4K IOPS from the manufacturer).

AS SSD Benchmark Test #1

 


AS SSD Benchmark Test #2

 


AS SSD Benchmark Test #3

 

Ordinarily, I would introduce tests like BlackMagic and AJA into the mix here, but even a short burst of testing on an NVMe like this would over saturate the cache memory on board. Nevertheless, in the short term we still could ascertain the reported performance on 1GB, 4GB and 16GB file testing was:

1GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 4231MB/s Read & 3958MB/s Write

4GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 4307MB/s Read & 3935MB/s Write

16GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 4350MB/s Read & 3938MB/s Write

Overall, the Addlink A92 was certainly able to provide some solid performance, as well as potentially exceed the test figures here on a more powerful machine. Given the reported Read and Write statistics that the brand has stated publically, I think there is enough evidence here to back up those claims. IOPs were a little lower than I expected, but again, we were testing very large file types, so this would have to be taken in context. Below is the full temperature reading throughout the entire tests, with the SSD and its unique heatsink maintaining a solid temperature of between 40-50 degrees throughout – very impressive for a QLC NAND SSD, though still higher than the A90 and A95 that were tested before it.

Addlink A92 SSD Review – Conclusion

Fairplay to Addlink – the A92 SSD DEFINITELY works on the PS5. From its confirmed benchmarks to like for like performance comparisons on PS5 (Full tests HERE), it cannot be said that this rather modest QLC M.2 NVMe SSD is not suitable for PS5. Arriving as easily one of the best value SSDs for the PS5 storage expansion upgrade, as well as being one of the highest performing QLC SSDs I have yet to feature on the channel in 2021, I have almost nothing but praise for it. My professional ‘hat’ will tell you that QLC NAND SSD is always to be avoided, as they lack the long term endurance and performance of their TLC alternatives in the market. However, it has to be acknowledged that their utility is much more closed gaming systems like the PS5, where the end-user cannot push these SSDs in particularly hard or any unconventional ways. Therefore there is an argument that QLC NAND SSDs might have finally found their ideal use for most day-to-day users. Of course, the performance of the Addlink A92 in the PS5 seems great now, but we have no idea how much devs are going to push the PS5 hardware in years to come and if the A92 has the staying power in your system to still be a reliable storage upgrade to run your games in 2023-2024. That said, at this price tag, with it’s the inclusive heatsink and arriving at almost half the price of some other brands at the 4TB level, those looking for a much more affordable PS5 SSD upgrade have little to complain about here.

PROs of the Addlink A92 CONs of the Addlink A92
Genuinely Impressive Performance on a Phison E16 SSD in PS5 & PC

First Time QLC NAND SSDs might have found a home

Inclusive Heatsink and STILL lower in price than the Sabrent Rocket Q4 by around 10%

PS5 Benchmark rated at 5,600MB/s+

Lowest Prices 4TB 2280 PCIe4 SSD in the Market

QLC NAND SSD’s are always a bit of an industry negative and durability is very low

Low Sustained Write Performance

 


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ADATA XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD Review – New Phison Killer?

6 décembre 2021 à 01:35

Review of the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD

Of all of the brands that are spread across the SSD industry, very few have the same level of market coverage of ADATA. With a strong memory division that has resulted in their hardware being featured in countless hardware clients in home and business, environments, as well as a long-established presence in the PC gaming community in their XPG series, there is a pretty good chance that ADATA components or accessories are somewhere near you right now. When they entered the NVMe SSD market, they did with a remarkably strong footing, with releases being separated into consumer and business needs – with virtually no compromise on wither. The XPG Gammix S70 Blade is a physically slim lined version of their popular chunky heatsink version, the Gammix S70 (non-blade), arriving with a similarly unique architecture using that Innogrit PCIe 4 controller, thin thermal plate deployment and arriving at a price point that makes a number of the Phison E18 alternatives in the market look a bit overpriced indeed. Now that the PS5 has enabled console storage and the non-Blase Gammix S70 proves too large for the task, the Adata XPG Gammix S70 Blade serves as a great choice. Add to this that many users have low expectations for how much heat will be generated in a 90/10% Read over Write systems like PS5 and even concerns over the thin Thermal plate heatsink deployment may be unwarranted. So, today I want to review the Adata XPG Gammix S70 blade and help you decide if it deserves your data.

XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD Review – Quick Conclusion

Given the stronghold that Phison has over the bulk of SSDs in the current generation of NVMe, it takes a lot for a drive that chooses a different way of doing things to make its mark. The XPG Gammix S70 blade achieves this in practically every way, proving itself as an excellent example of the Innogrit Rainer controller. With performance that matches or surpasses that of its biggest rivals, yet arriving at a more affordable price point, the Gammix S70 Blade is another great gamer release from Adata in their XPG series. The slimline heatshield, although clearly designed for a particularly compact deployment, is arguably less effective than a regular heatsink (or the non-blade fat heatsink) and does possibly limit the Blade’s use in high write situations, but for traditional PC gamers and especially for PS5 SSD upgrades, the Adata XPG Gammix S70 Blade is a solid SSD that most gamers will not regret.

SPEED - 9/10
HARDWARE - 9/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
PRICE - 9/10
VALUE - 9/10


8.8
PROS
👍🏻Great to see non-Phison E18 SSDs in the market
👍🏻176L 3D TLC NAND is a big plus over the current 96L non-Blade Version
👍🏻
👍🏻Excellent Value (Especially With the Reported Performance)
👍🏻
👍🏻PS5 Compatibility Confirmed
👍🏻
👍🏻Unparalleled Compact Deployment
👍🏻
👍🏻Low Heat Temp Recordings in Read Activity
👍🏻
👍🏻August ’21 Update Increased Performance Further
CONS
👎🏻The heatshield is very limited in its deployment vs traditional ‘fat’ heatsinks
👎🏻PS5 Has an oddly resistant Benchmark vs Phison E18 SSDs (still unknown why – largely academic in its impact though)

XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD Review – Packaging

The retail box that the Gammix S70 Blade arrives in is shiny. No, that is not enough. It’s REALLY shiny, covered in holographic sheen and is oozing with gamer focus branding! The box makes a bold impact and although the majority of PCIe 4.0 SSDs in 2021/2022 are quite loud and brash in their presentation, this is a big step up still., especially given that ADATA is generally quite a ‘background’ company in most other components.

The top left of the retail box highlights a number of the drive’s key features that, although fairly standard in PCIe4 M.2 NVMes of late in most cases, still has a few stand out specs. 

Opening up this retail gives us JUST the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD. No instructions, warranty information (displayed on the rear of the box) or screws, the XPG S70 SSD and unattached slimline graphene heatshield.

If you look at the metal cover next to the SSD, you can see that the heatshield is remarkably compact. Unlike the non-blade version of the XPG S70 with its oversized heatsink, the single-use plate (with readily applied adhesive) is of course designed for much more compact deployment, such as the new PS5 SSD expansion slot activated in Summer ’21. Generally, when it comes to PCIe 4 SSDs, I would always recommend a larger and more effective heatsink for dissipating the large amount of heat the controller will be generating. However, in deployments that are going to be larger read based (which less complicated systems like PS5 will be doing) this thermal plate will likely be fine. Comparative heat testing on the PS5 vs the likes of the non-blade heatsink and the Sabrent PS5 heatsink will be coming soon on NASCompares YouTube, but even the first two test sessions with the S70 Blade on the PS5 (linked below) went perfectly well.

The heatshield is applied simply by removing the pealed panel, utilizing an adhesive topped thermal pad. It is attached INCREDIBLY firmly and is effectively single-use, in that if removed (with force) will tear the thermal pad away.

Even a casual glance at the XPG Blade and heatshield next to the non-blade fat heatsink gives you some idea of just how thin that metal panel is. The non-blade heatsink even manages to raise the height of the SSD M.2 connector notably too.

Applying the XPG S70 Blade heatshield to the SSD, although making the drive arguably cooler looking, definitely shows how little surface area and density of heat dissipation are going to be possible. I would be concerned about the Blade in deployment in an area that has limited/zero airflow, as that heatshield is only going to be able to offload a small amount of heat from the SSD controller compared with the bigger version. Again, less of a concern in heavy read activity though.

So, what about in PS5 deployment? For those of you who have been considering the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade for installation in the PS5 SSD expansion slot to increase storage, I am pleased to confirm that this SSD is 100% supported by the system (currently in software beta, but the Gammix S70 Blade will definitely be on the compatibility list of the full software update release. However, the physical installation needs highlighting.

Comparing it against the non-Blade, you can see why many have been looking at the XPG Gammix S70 Blade for PS5 deployment.

BLADE Version

Non-BLADE Version

The XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade takes up considerably less space in the PS5 storage expansion slot, leaving more room to allow air to flow over the heatsink. The non-Blade included heatsink, being considerably larger, not only fills the m.2 slot considerably more, but it also presents a new problem. Namely that the Gammix S70 NON-BLADE is too large and prevents a user from installing the M.2 bay cover. On the one hand, the fat heatsink is in the direct line of airflow through the PS5 system, which means it will get getting air passing on/through the fat-heatsink. However, this also means that it is partially obstructing the airflow inside the PS5 towards other components. The PS5 utilizes negative airflow (pulling air through one set of vents and push it through the net) and it is unknown whether an M.2 in this slot uncovered AND protruding out into the air path would negatively affect the system as a whole. Hence why many users would opt for the Blade version as a matter of overall precaution.

BLADE Version

Non-BLADE Version

Installing the ADATA Gammix S70 Blade in the PS5 M.2 SSD bay at startup allows you to run a benchmark on the drive. Oddly, despite the high performance of this SSD, the PS5 rated the drive at over the recommended minimum of 5,500MB/s in its initial benchmark. Below is how the Adata XPG Gammix S70 Blade and non-Blade version compared when the PS5 Benchmarked them both:

PS5 Benchmark – 6,009MB/s

BLADE Version

PS5 Benchmark – 6,235MB/s

Non-BLADE Version

The fact that ADATA includes the heatsink with your purchase of the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade will always be attractive to buyers who want hassle from installation, as well as doing so at no additional cost and STILL arriving at a lower price point than many competitors is inarguably appealing. So that is the physical design of the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD. But what about the hardware components themselves? Does the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade cut the mustard in terms of current generation hardware and protocols? Let’s find out.

ADATA XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD Review – PS5 Benchmark

To put the ADATA XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD PS5 Performance Benchmark into a little perspective, here is how it compares against the Addlink A95, Adata XPG Gammix S70, Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus and Gigabyte Aorus 7000s – four SSDs that are all PS5 supported and VERY similar architecture very little difference between the others in this tier, it is a solid benchmark.

Addlink A95 PS5 Benchmark – 6556MB/s XPG GAMMIX S70 PS5 Benchmark – 6235MB/s
Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus – 6557MB/s Gigabyte Aorus 7000s PS5 Benchmark6557MB/s

Full PS5 Testing of the Adata XPG Gammix S70 is all available as a playlist over on the NASCompares YouTube channel. But for now, let’s carry on with looking at the hardware of the A90S70 Blade, how it conventionally benchmarks and how it compares with currently favourite PS5 SSDs like the WD Black and Seagate Firecuda 530,

XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD Review – Hardware Specifications

As you might expect from an M.2 NVMe SSD that boldly promises performance of over 7,000MB/s sequential read (ie BIG data), the hardware specifications and architecture of the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade are quite modern. Indeed, for all the big talk of the Seagate Firecuda 530 hardware (still currently the ‘score to beat’ PCIE Gen4 m.2 NVMe right now) being top tier, the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade is pretty darn similar on the spec sheet! Below is how it looks:

ADATA GAMMIX S70 Blade

500GB –  $99, 1TB – $199, 2TB – $389

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4
NAND 3D TLC Micron 176L
Capacity 500GB – 1TB – 2TB
Controller Innogrit IG5236
Warranty 5yr

I know a lot of the above will seem needlessly technical, so below we can bring the most important considerations into sharper focus.

Hardware Focus of the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD Series

The first big, BIG thing to remember here is the controller, that Innogrit RainIer IG5236. An SSD is much like a microcosm version of a whole computer. The Controller is equivalent to the CPU, and although Inoogrit has produced several high profile SSD controllers in the last few years, this is their first PCIe 4.0 controller. This is a particularly big deal when most reports and measurements seemingly indicate that the Innogrit IG2536 is higher in performance than the Phison E18 controller used by most other recent PCIe 4 M.2 NVMe SSD, as well as because some long-running storage brands like Samsung and WD have most of their development and hardware engineering ‘in-house’ and use their own branded controllers. Indeed, the XPG Gammix S70 Blade is one of very, VERY few SSDs that are using this controller in the home/prosumer gamer sector.

Earlier in 2021, CDRLabs ran performance testing with CrystalDisk on the Gammix S70 Blade SSD, comparing against a Phison E18 SSD of similar architecture (176L 3D TLC NAND, DDR4 RAM, NVMe 1.4, etc) and largely surpassed it by hundreds of Megabytes in Sequential Read and Write performance. So these results tend to back up the increased performance benchmarks that ADATA provide on the XPG S70 Blade. This is further improved with a recent software/firmware update for this drive released in August 2021 that further improved the write performance.

The NAND on the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade is where the data lives! SSDs (as you no doubt know) do not use moving parts as found in traditional hard drives and instead uses cells that are charged and data is read/written to them in this process. The quality of the NAND and the layers used will make a big difference to the durability and performance of an SSD and the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade arrives with the current highest layer NAND in the industry at this tier right now (originally premiered in the Seagate Firecuda 530), it is bigger than most, arriving at 176 Layers of 3D TLC NAND. Although the majority of modern PCIe M.2 SSD use 3D TLC NAND (avoid QLC NAND like the PLAGUE btw!), most are still at 128L or 96L layers or so, so this is a big jump up for the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD. Although detailed information on the NAND used is not readily available online, we observed that the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade featured FOUR blocks of ADATA NAND modules (256GB each), which really pushes the performance up!

Much like the Controller on the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade being the ‘CPU’, it also has an area of memory. The XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD uses DDR4 memory on board and this in conjunction with the SSD controller provides a massive body of data handling resources for getting your data moving through the SSD and out of the m.2 NVMe PCIe 4 interface. The amount of memory scales in conjunction with the 1TB or 2TB SSD you use, with 2GB of DDR4 at the on the 2TB tier, 1GB DDR4 on the 1TB, etc.

As mentioned, all available capacities of the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade arrive at 2280 in length. This is quite normal for the 1TB and 2TB versions, but the fact that the 2TB can arrive on single-sided SSD boards is very impressive. Physical storage NAND is distributed evenly in order to space out the storage and allow even cooling, NAND wear and performance.

Finally, there is the M.2 NVMe connection. Not all m.2 SSDs are created equal and although M.2 SATA and M.2 NVMe look similar, they provide massively different performance and connectivity. However, the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade takes it one step further, by using a newer generation of PCIe Connectivity. In short, M.2 NVMe SSDs are connected to the host PC/Console system via PCIe protocol (think of those slots that you almost always use for your graphics cards, but a much, MUCH smaller connector). These allow much larger bandwidth (ie maximum speed) for the connected storage media, Much like regular PCIe slots, they have different versions (i.E PCIe Gen 1, 2, 3, 4, etc) and also a multiplying factor (x1, x2, x4, etc). Up until around 18 months ago, the best M.2 NVMes were M.2 PCIe Gen 3×4 (so a maximum 4,000MB/s possible). However, never generation SSD like the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade use PCIe Gen 4×4 (a potential 8,000MB/s possible) and it is only now that SSD controllers and NAND production has reached a point where it can catch up and fully saturate (i.e fill) this connection.

Overall, you really cannot fault the hardware inside/onboard the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade, as it is still (2-3 months after release) higher performing in sequential Read and Write than many other M.2 NVMe PCIe 4 SSDs released in that time. Before we go into the full testing, however, it is worth taking a moment to look closely at the reported performance benchmarks of the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade, as although the performance seems stellar, there are areas such as IOPS and endurance when compared with its main rivals that are worth taking into consideration.

XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD Review – Official Stats First

Before we conduct our own testing on this SSD, Let’s take a closer look at the reported specifications and benchmarks first. The XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD arrives in multiple capacities (below). The Prices currently are a little inconsistent (with each higher capacity tier actually having a higher price per GB – quite unusual) likely due to the hardware shortages, the Pandemic, Chia has affected SSD availability in the last 12 months and most recently the announcement that PS5 supports this SSD and it has increased the current price of both models around 10-20%!. Below is a breakdown of how each competitor drive and the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD compare:

Brand/Series ADATA GAMMIX S70 Blade

500GB – $99 1TB – $199 , 2TB – $389

Seagate Firecuda 530

500GB – $149.99, 1TB – $239.99, 2TB – $489.99, 4TB – $949.99

WD Black SN850

500GB – $169.99, 1TB – $249.99, 2TB – $549.99

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND 3D TLC ADATA 176L 3D TLC Micron B47R 176L BiCS4 96L TLC
Max Capacity 2TB – Double Sided 4TB – Double Sided 2TB
Controller Innogrit IG5236 Phison E18-PS5018 WD_BLACK G2
Warranty 5yr 5yr 5yr
500GB Model AGAMMIXS70B-512G-CS ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Price in $ and $ $99 / £80 $139 / £119 $119 / £99
1TB Model AGAMMIXS70-1T-C ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Price in $ and $ $199 / £175 $239 / £199 $249 / £169
2TB Model AGAMMIXS70-2T-C ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Price in $ and $ $389 / £340 $419 / £379 $399 / £339
4TB Model N/A ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Price in $ and $ N/A $949 / £789 N/A
500GB Model AGAMMIXS70B-512G-CS ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 370TB 640TB 300TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 2,000,000 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.4DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
1TB Model AGAMMIXS70-1T-C ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 740TB 1275TB 600TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 2,000,000 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.4DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
2TB Model AGAMMIXS70-2T-C ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 1480TB 2550TB 1200TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 2,000,000 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.4DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
4TB Model N/A ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) N/A 5100TB N/A
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) N/A 1,800,000 N/A
DWPD N/A 0.7DWPD N/A

There are clear throughput improvements as you rise through the capacity tiers (not unusual), as does the rated 4K IOPS. Though one area worth focusing on a little is that TBW (terabytes Written) and DWPD (Drive writes per day), as this drive is rated a pinch higher than the Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850 in terms of NAND lifespan on daily writes, likely down to that controller and 176 Layer 3D TLC NAND used, rather than the 96L or 128L used by those used by competitors. This is an important point because the brand has significantly less ‘end user’ recognition in-home/business SSD media than the likes of Samsung, WD and Seagate and people will want to know they are going to get a product from a brand that they have heard of.

However, despite the use of the Innogrit Rainier IG5236 controller and 176 layer NAND, the reported IOPS on each capacity is actually a noticeable degree lower (for the most part) than those reported by their competitors. Indeed, the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade is one of the few SSD/Memory focused brands with a PCIe 4.0 SSD that does not cross into the reported 1 Million IOPS mark, maxing out at 740k. This is still very impressive anyway, but it does make me wonder where the disparity stems from. Indeed, when you look at the bulk of PCIe 4×4 M.2 NVMe 1.4 SSD that feature the E18 controller and 96L (or higher) on board, it really only leaves about 4 other SSDs in the market today that this can be compared against. The Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus, the MSI Spatium M480, the Gigabyte Aorus 7000s and (current leader) the Seagate Firecuda 530. Of those, the only one that seemingly ‘out specs’ the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade is the Seagate Firecuda 530. However, the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD has been available in the market for longer and has certainly embedded itself in the minds and budget’s of PC/PS5 gamers who think the Firecuda 530 is too expensive and the others are less impress – it makes a very appealing middle ground. Below is how these drives compare in terms of throughput and IOPS:

Brand/Series ADATA GAMMIX S70 Blade

500GB – $99 1TB – $199 , 2TB – $389

Seagate Firecuda 530

500GB – $149.99, 1TB – $239.99, 2TB – $489.99, 4TB – $949.99

WD Black SN850

500GB – $169.99, 1TB – $249.99, 2TB – $549.99

500GB Model AGAMMIXS70B-512G-CS ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7400MB 7000MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 2600MB 3000MB 4100MB
1TB Model AGAMMIXS70-1T-C ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7400MB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 5500MB 6000MB 5300MB
2TB Model AGAMMIXS70-2T-C ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7400MB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6700MB 6900MB 5100MB
4TB Model N/A ZP4000GM3A013  
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB N/A 7300MB N/A
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB N/A 6900MB N/A
Brand/Series GAMMIX S70 BLADE Seagate Firecuda 530 WD Black SN850
500GB Model AGAMMIXS70B-512G-CS ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 425,000 400,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 510,000 700,000 680,000
1TB Model AGAMMIXS70-1T-C ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 740000 800000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 740000 1000000 720,000
2TB Model AGAMMIXS70-2T-C ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 740,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 750,000 1,000,000 710,000
4TB Model N/A ZP4000GM3A013  
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 N/A 1,000,000 N/A
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 N/A 1,000,000 N/A

Yes, that is a LONG table, but you can immediately see that the Seagate Firecuda 530 raises the stakes on all of the key specifications. Additionally, the WD Black arriving at a better price point, higher IOPS in most tiers and the fact it does this whilst still hitting that 7,000MB/s certainly gives pause for thought. However, for many, the additional cost for higher durability they may never need, peak performance their core system will not reach and IOPS rating that their larger file handling will never utilize will mean that holding out for the Firecuda or WD Black SN850 is not in their interest. Both SSDs (on paper at this stage!) are fantastic examples of where consumer and prosumer SSDs are evolving towards. Remember that you can get 1TB of XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade for the same price as 500GB of the Firecuda 530 – which given the similarity of that performance means that you are getting incredible value! Additionally, it is worth noting that although IOPS on the XPG Gammix S70 Blade were lower than those reported on the WD Black SN850 and Seagate Firecuda 530 were higher, the Sequential Read and Write for the XPG Gammix S70 Blade were higher on both versus the WD Black and even a pinch higher on Read vs the Firecuda 530 – which is a particularly impressive vote of confidence in the Innogrit controller and the XPG GAMMIX S70 SSD. Let’s get the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade on the test machine!

Testing the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade m.2 PCIE4 NVMe SSD

The XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade was selected for this test and it was tested using multiple benchmark tools, from a cold boot, in the 2nd storage slot (i.e not the OS drive). Each test was conducted three times (full details of this are shown in the YouTube Review of the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade over on NASCompares):

Test Machine:

  • Windows 10 Pro Desktop System
  • Intel i5 11400 Rocket Lake – 6-Core 2.6/4.4Ghz
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory
  • Intel B560M mATX Motherboard
  • OS Storage, Seagate Firecuda 120 SSD
  • Test SSD connected to Secondary PCIe Gen 4 M.2 Slot

Using CrystalDisk, we got a good measure of the drive and verified that this PCIe Gen 4 x4 SSD was indeed using the 4×4 lane. Additionally, the temp averaged out a little higher in idle than most previously tested SSD, HOWEVER, the ADATA Gammix S70 Blade heatsink kept the drive at a consistent temp of late 40’s for most of the tests and did an incredible job of maintaining a working temp without spiralling too high between each one being conducted.

The first tests were conducted using the ATTO disk benchmark software. The first was a 256MB test file size and below is a breakdown of the transfer rates and IOPS. The 2nd Test was a 1GB test file and finally, the last test was with a 4GB test file. The system was given 1-minute cool downtime between tests, no screen recording software was used (remove overhead) and a heatsink was used throughout (no reboots)

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #1

256MB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 6.50GB/s

256MB File PEAK Write Throughput =5.85GB/s

 


 

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #2

1GB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 6.56GB/s

1GB File PEAK Write Throughput = 5.84GB/s

 


 

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #3

4GB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 6.50GB/s

4GB File PEAK Write Throughput = 5.89GB/s

 


 

Next, although the ATTO tests were quite good, but not what I would have hoped from this SSD, so I moved on to the Crystal Disk Mark testing to see how well it would handle our lasts barrage of tests. The first test was the 1GB file testing, which measured both sequential and random, as well as the read and write IOPS. Test were conducted on a 1GB, 4GB and 16GB Test File. I also included a mixed 70/30 read and write task to give a little bit more of a realistic balanced workload. These tests were conducted with 1-minute cooling break in between

CRYSTALDISK MARK 1GB TEST


CRYSTALDISK MARK 4GB TEST


CRYSTALDISK MARK 16GB TEST

 

Next, I switched to AS SSD benchmark. A much more thorough test through, I used 1GB, 3GB and 5GB test files. Each test includes throughput benchmarks and IOPS that are respective to the larger file sizes (important, if you are reading this and trying to compare against the reported 4K IOPS from the manufacturer).

AS SSD Benchmark Test #1

 


AS SSD Benchmark Test #2

 


AS SSD Benchmark Test #3

Ordinarily, I would introduce tests like BlackMagic and AJA into the mix here, but even a short burst of testing on an NVMe like this would over saturate the cache memory on board. Nevertheless, in the short term we still could ascertain the reported performance on 1GB, 4GB and 16GB file testing was:

1GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 5797MB/s Read & 5063MB/s Write

4GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 5874MB/s Read & 5218MB/s Write

16GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 5920MB/s Read & 5234MB/s Write

Throughout the testing, the XPS GAMMMIX S70 Blade SSD started at a slightly higher than average temp, but maintained a good operational temperature throughout the whole testing:

Overall, the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade was certainly able to provide some solid performance, as well as potentially exceed the test figures here on a more powerful machine. Given the reported Read and Write statistics that the brand has stated publically, I think there is enough evidence here to back up those claims. IOPs were a little lower than I expected, but again, we were testing very large file types, so this would have to be taken in context.

XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade SSD Review – Conclusion

Given the stronghold that Phison has over the bulk of SSDs in the current generation of NVMe, it takes a lot for a drive that chooses a different way of doing things to make its mark. The XPG Gammix S70 blade achieves this in practically every way, proving itself as an excellent example of the Innogrit Rainer controller. With performance that matches or surpasses that of its biggest rivals, yet arriving at a more affordable price point, the Gammix S70 Blade is another great gamer release from Adata in their XPG series. The slimline heatshield, although clearly designed for a particularly compact deployment, is arguably less effective than a regular heatsink (or the non-blade fat heatsink) and does possibly limit the Blade’s use in high write situations, but for traditional PC gamers and especially for PS5 SSD upgrades, the Adata XPG Gammix S70 Blade is a solid SSD that most gamers will not regret.

PROs of the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade CONs of the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade
Great to see non-Phison E18 SSDs in the market

176L 3D TLC NAND is a big plus over the current 96L non-Blade Version

Excellent Value (Especially With the Reported Performance)

PS5 Compatibility Confirmed

Unparalleled Compact Deployment

Low Heat Temp Recordings in Read Activity

August ’21 Update Increased Performance Further

The heatshield is very limited in its deployment vs traditional ‘fat’ heatsinks

PS5 Has an oddly resistant Benchmark vs Phison E18 SSDs (still unknown why – largely academic in its impact though)

 


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