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Seagate Firecuda 530 Star Wars Special Edition SSD Review – This is the way?

16 février 2022 à 01:29

Review of the Seagate Firecuda 530 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD


Of all the PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSDs that I have discussed in the last year or so, very few have stood out as much as the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD. Although arriving late in the game in August 2021 (whilst their biggest rivals WD and Samsung released their own drives in Autumn 2020), the Seagate firecuda made up for lost time by releasing one of the very best examples of Phison E18 Controller architecture in the market and fast forward 6 months and it still continues to stand out. Indeed, in my original review and benchmarks of the Seagate Firecuda last summer, I heaped praise on the SSD for its remarkably high durability, higher than most write performance and inclusive 3 years of data recovery services. Now, since its initial release, the Seagate Forecuda 530 has seen updates in firmware, a 4TB version, an EK designed high durability heatsink and now… a Star Wars Mandalorian licenced SSD+Heatsink combo. Now, there is a lot to unpack there! The Mandalorian is arguably one of the hottest current properties that Disney Lucasfilm have released in a long time and aside from the clear move by Seagate here to appeal to the disposable ‘geek dollar’, Seagate say that this SSD has more to shout about than it looks. So, today I am taking the opportunity to revisit the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD in its latest form, with its latest firmware and see if this new version of this premium SSD deserves your data?


Seagate Firecuda 530 Mandalorian Edition SSD Review – Quick Conclusion


I mean, there are two ways to look at this SSD. On the one hand, you can judge the Seagate Firecuda 530 Beskar Ingot Drive on its looks (which I am fairly certain I was always told not to) and if you are even slightly following the Mandalorian on Disney plus, this is a lovely presented drive. However, the more practical of us will question the long term value of a beautiful SSD that we are going to immediately enclose inside our PC/PS5 systems, never to be seen again. It’s a fair point, but to some buyers (perhaps those that favour LEDs or hyper metallic ‘future’ design on their memory heatsinks or steampunk esc internal cooling) this small detail will be enough for them to spend a pinch more on this special edition of the drive. It’s no coincidence the presentation of this drive right out of the box differed wildly from that of the more traditional component kit approach of the regular Firecuda 530 SSD. But dig deeper and what you find is the same incredible SSD from Seagate that still continues to impress. The price tag of the special edition Firecuda 530 is still higher than most out there (even the regular version is priced some 10-15% higher than others in the market), but you still need to factor in that this SSD is capable of hitting performance and durability figures that are still unchallenged in the market right now and Seagate seemingly know that! Until Seagate decide whether to release a more affordable alternative to the Firecuda 530 SSD (Firecuda 535 or 525 maybe?), this is always going to be a pricey drive (whether you opt into the Mandalorian version or not) and if you are running a system that can hit those lofty benchmarks it can achieve or plan on using it extensively without fear of durability, I STILL think it is worth the asking price. Just keep in mind that the additional highs that this Drive is capable of hitting are going to need other serious horsepower under the bonnet too! Also, remember that the Firecuda 530 is available with the standard EK heatsink and a non-heatsink version and you can say £25-50 respectively on the terabyte.

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


9.0
PROS
👍🏻I mean – It looks ridiculously cool!
👍🏻Highest PCIe 4×4 M.2 Performance Right Now
👍🏻
👍🏻176 Layer 3D TLC NAND is still a rare treat in 2022
👍🏻
👍🏻Best Example of Phison E18 Performance
👍🏻
👍🏻Highest Endurance PCIe Gen 4×4 M.2 SSD Right Now
👍🏻
👍🏻Inclusive Data Recovery Services
👍🏻
👍🏻PS5 Compatibility Fully Confirmed
👍🏻
👍🏻Firecuda 530 is Available in up to 4TB
CONS
👎🏻Costs more than most
👎🏻Branding and License design will be obscured in your PS5/PC enclosure
👎🏻Mandalorian Design only available in 500GB and 1TB

Seagate Firecuda 530 Star Wars SSD Review – Packaging


Immediately upon seeing the Firecuda 530 Beskar Ingot SSD retail box, it is pretty clear that Seagate wants to shout as loudly as possible about the Star Wars / Mandalorian branding of this SSD. It makes sense, they almost certainly had to pay a decent chunk of change to get the licencing on this and aside from this drive being a limited run, they clearly want to make it clear that this SSD is a special edition. Indeed, if I saw this drive on the shelf of my local Forbidden Planet, it would fit right in. Indeed, if you compare the Firecuda 530 retail boxes of the standard and Special edition, you can see that the layout is the same, but a lot of the Seagate specific branding has been reduced/removed in favour of the big, big Disney/LucasFilm branding on this SSD. Given the noticeably price differences between each version of this SSD, it would be expected that Seagate would want to differentiate as much as they can. For example, the Firecuda 530 1TB SSD arrives at (at the time of writing) £149 without a heatsink, £179 with the professional EK heatsink and £199 with the Beskar Ingot EEK heatsink. That is some noticeably jumps at each tier.


Indeed, the Seagate Firecuda 530 Mandalorian Special Edition drive is by no means the first SSD/HDD by brands targetted at gamers or followers of ‘geek’ culture. From connections with licenced games (so the brand includes a download code for a game + livery on the drive) all the way through to presenting arguably dull components like HDDs and SSDs in more stylistic means. Indeed, a great example of this is by Patriot and their Viper VP4300 SSD, designed in the style of an action figure. So, no one can really blame Seagate for shifting the retail packaging up a gear on this SSD.


I cannot really recall Disney ever endorsing a solid-state drive, so the idea of seeing the Star Wars logo on an m.2 NVMe SSD still blows my mind a bit, particularly when in the star wars fraternity an ‘SSD’ stands for Super Star Destroyer! Still, there it is, loud and proud.



Opening the box is a little different too (compared with the regular Firecuda 530 and other SSDs) as it opens into a picture of the Mandalorian, in a pull out display box (not the plastic shell of the regular Firecuda 530). Inside is the retail kit that I would expect with a firecuda 530, but with some Star Wars tweaks along the way.



The box contained a lot of star wars ‘bumpf’ that I know I personally will largely ignore BUT I know there is an audience for it! The range of branded stickers for your gaming rig/laptop/console is expanded for the usual ‘Seagate Gaming’ focused ones and I can perhaps see myself using one or two on my laptop – MAYBE! There is also information on the rescue recovery services that the drive includes (I’ll touch on this later), information on first-time installation, details on the 5 year included warranty and, of course, the Firecuda 530 Beskar Ingot SSD itself.



The SSD arrives in a pre-applied EKWB heatsink that surrounds the entire SSD. The non-special edition SSD uses this same high-quality heatsink, but this is the one that has all the Mandalorian /Beskar ingot branding. The top of the heatsink is textured across the waved white pattern and the ‘Galactic Empire’ logo is laser engraved very well.



The heatsink is weightier than many that I have used and although it would be easy to write off this kind of heatsink printing/engraving as pointless, I will say that the build quality of the EKWB heatsink on both this AND the regular Seagate Firecuda 530 really stands up to sustained use. I nthe last 3-4 months I have been putting the standard heatsink that the Firecuda arrives with through the wringer with sustained tests on PC benchmarks and repeated PS5 testing. So, although the surface of this Mandalorian SSD differs from the regular version, the shape and material used in these two heatsinks remain the same.



Indeed, when I put the standard 1TB Seagate Firecuda 530 Heatsink version through 13 SSD benchmarks back in 2021, even at the heaviest activity (a 64GB CrystalDisk Benchmark action, that also included 70/30 mixed activities) the SSD only hit 42 Degrees. And that was with the big test sandwiched between 12 other tests over the course of 2 hours. Below was the temperature breakdown:



Likewise, I repeated the same tests with the Mandalorian edition of the Seagate Firecuda 530 and performed the same testing. I am pleased to say that the Star Wars themed EK heatsink performed jsut as well:



Then I checked the controller temperature throughout the PS5 games tests + heavy read/write activities and once again, very impressively low temperature readings throughout:



I then followed that test up with a comparison with another big PCIe 4 NVMe SSD that gamers compare with Firecuda 530 with regularly, the WD Black SN850 (released in Oct 2020, 10 months before!). The Seagate Firecuda 530 and EKWB Heatsink maintained noticeably lower temps both on the PC benchmarks and the range of PS5 tests. You can see the full breakdown and test results in the video below:



So, you cannot really fault the Seagate Firecuda 530 Heatsink, as it comes from a well-established gaming cooling company and is built to withstand significantly harsher use than most users are even going to deliver upon it. So, what about the SSD inside? The heatsink is held in place with 4 very small and soft Phillips head screws. Removing the SSD from its casing will invalidate the warranty, so please do not try this at home!



The inside of the heatsink reveals a single long thermal pad, but it is noticeably more porous than disposable pads (a little more like gel and putty silicon base ones). I am a little surprised it is not cut to cover the Phison E18 controller in particular, but it is still an amply covered SSD inside the EKWB heatsink enclosure.



Removing the Firecuda 530 from the heatsink allows us to have a closer look at the SSD itself and it’s components. The 1TB model of this SSD arrives with a single-sided build, so the NAND on board are 4x 256GB modules all sharing the same side with the PCIe4 controller and SK Hynix 1600 MHZ DDR4 DRAM Memory buffer.



It’s a familiar arrangement



The drive is fairly standard in height to other m.2 NVMes, however, it is easy to forget that the micron NAND featured in the Firecuda 530 is significantly higher quality than many at 176L (something we will touch on later). Since it’s original release (the non star wars version from Summer 2021 I mean), we have still seen very few 176L NAND arrive on the scene and the Firecuda 530 Beskar Ingot and it’s Micron NAND still manage to stand out.



The larger capacity Firecuda 530s drives at 2TB and 4TB (the Mandalorian edition is not available in 4TB) feature double-sided NAND placement, resulting in both better capacity handling, performance and durability. However, this needs to be balanced against a larger heatsink/thermal pad application. In PC use, this is of little-to-no concern, but now the Firecuda 530 NVMe SSD is pretty much the ‘score-to-beat’ on PS5 SSD upgrades, this is an important consideration for some. NAND is ok to get a little warm in use, but the controller needs to maintain that lower temp of between 50-70 degrees to run fine and under 50 Degrees to be at it’s best for performance and durability. So lots of warm NAND surrounding the controller can raise tips a few degrees. In a PC case environment, the Firecuda 530 SSD will have plenty of airflow, however, the PS5 (a target user market that this SSD is aiming at in a big way in 2022) uses a close M.2 slot that has a cover lid and noticeably less active airflow to run over the heatsink.



The Seagate Firecuda 530 Special Edition fits in the PS5 SSD expansion slot perfectly fine and is wide enough to connect with the air slots, whilst still being compact enough to allow the m.2 cover to be applied inside the PS5. When the PS5 system was booted, we got a benchmark (not to be confused with PC benchmarks, as the PS5 as a different range of tests/priorities). Three tests were performed and this 1TB benchmark was around 6,250MB/s Read on average. This is very respectable for a 1TB SSD and the typically performance of a Phison E18 SSD at 1TB is around 6,100MB/s. Larger capacities such as TB or 4TB tend to hit 6,500-6,00MB/s as they have a great distribution of NAND and more DRAM.



As you would expect, the Seagate Firecuda 530 appears immediately in the PS5 storage manager for use.



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Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD Review – Hardware Specifications


Below is a breakdown of the hardware specifications of the Firecuda 530. There are a number of key factors here that really need your attention!

Drive Firecuda 530 500GB Firecuda 530 1000GB Firecuda 530 2000GB Firecuda 530 4000GB (Regular)
Price 500GB – $149.99 1TB – $239.99 2TB – $489.99 4TB – $949.99
Warranty, Limited (years) 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue
PCIe Gen M.2 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND Type 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND
Controller E18-PS018 E18-PS018 E18-PS018 E18-PS018
Performance ZP500GM3A013 ZP1000GM3A013 ZP2000GM3A013 ZP4000GM3A013
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 7300MB 7300MB 7300MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB 6000MB 6900MB 6900MB
IOPS ZP500GM3A013 ZP1000GM3A013 ZP2000GM3A013 ZP4000GM3A013
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 400,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
DWPD 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7
MTBF, hours 1,800,000 1,800,000 1,800,000 1,800,000

Now, the above is clearly a little more technical than many gamers would like. Obviously, the general performance of the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD is going to be high (as detailed in the performance tests later in the review), however, its sequential Read performance is actually not too far ahead of the likes of the Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850 released some 5-6 months ago, so why should gamers spend more on this drive? Well, a lot of the more technical aspects that focus on SUSTAINED performance and DURABILITY make up a lot of this. Likewise, this architecture and its impact on Sequential WRITE is also something to consider. Write activity in console/pc gaming of a noticeably smaller fraction of activity over Read, approx 85% Read and 15% Write over time. However this is changing all the time, as games are being regularly streamed or shared, as well as world creation games and create-your-own-adventure sandbox titles growing quite significantly, smaller but sustained write activity running parallel with read is an important consideration. Let’s take a closer look at those key specifications and translate them into normal speak!


Hardware Focus of the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD Series


The first big thing to focus on with the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD is the controller. This is the brains of the SSD and in the case of this SSD, it’s a good one! The Phison E18 has already featured on a few other SSD releases in early 2021 to wide praise and given Seagate’s history of using their controllers right up to the E16 in the previous drive in this series, it was always going to be their SSD controller of choice here. This controller has some remarkably high bandwidth capabilities that the rest of the SSD can stretch it’s muscles a bit in order to try and saturate! Supporting up to a maximum 7,400MB/s and 7,100MB/s sequential Read/Write and up to 1Million 4K Read/Write IOPS, the Phison Controller is pushed quite far to it’s limits at the 4TB Firecuda 530 model. It’s a shame that Seagate does not have it’s own in house teams as WD/Samsung do, but the Phison E18 is still an industry leader right now and an inevitable choice by the brand.



Alongside this controller, the NAND featured on the Seagate Firecuda 530 is quite a top-end choice too. As mentioned, the Phison E18 controller has been featured on a number of other solutions in the last 6+ months, however, the Firecuda 530 arrives with an extra advantage with Micron 176 layered 3D TLC NAND. This is very important, as this massive jump over the bulk of other SSDs that arrive with 96L NAND allows better-sustained performance through the drives lifetime and (more importantly) a MUCH higher endurance rating. With most other M.2 PCIe4 NVMe SSDs arriving with 0.3 or 0.38 drive writes per day, this one is rated at 0.7 DWPD. Even if you are not planning on hammered this drive daily, that only means this SSD NAND will last even longer and will in all likelihood massively outline whatever system it is installed within.



Alongside the controller and NAND, the Firecuda 530 features DD4 DRAM/memory. This scales in capacity alongside each storage tier of the series. Another interesting thing of note on the Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD drive physically is that regardless of whether you chooses the 500GB, 1TB, 2TB or 4TB, they ALL arrive at 2280 length. This is to be expected on the smaller capacities, but the 4TB in particular managing to hit that cap without resorting to a 22110 (without compromising the NAND storage to QLC etc) is impressive indeed. This does mean that the 2TB and 4TB model then need to be double-sided drives (something to factor in at the heatsink level on more compact PC and console systems like PS5) but nevertheless, only 2-3 brands including Seagate include a 4TB drive at this architecture and performance threshold.



As mentioned (about a million times, I know) the Firecuda 530 features M.2 PCIe4 architecture, arriving in NVMe 1.4 revision. This is an important detail as, although there are currently a large number of PCIe4 M.2 SSDs on the market, some are using older revisions. This can be updated in some cases, but it is by no means consumer-friendly/universal. Overall, you really cannot fault the hardware inside/onboard the Seagate Firecuda 530, as it is still by far one of the highest performing sequential Read and Write drives in the market over many other M.2 NVMe PCIe 4 SSDs released in the last 6-8 months. Before we go into the full testing, however, it is worth taking a moment to look closely at the reported performance benchmarks of the Seagate Firecuda 530, as although the performance is good, there are areas such as IOPS and endurance when compared with its main rivals that make quite a stark contrast.

Seagate Firecuda 530 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 Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD arrives in four capacities at 500GB,1TB, 2TB and 4TB (with the Beskar Ingot, Mandalorian branding only available on the 500GB and 1TB model). 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 24 months and most recently the announcement that PS5 supports this SSD and it has increased the current price of most models around 20%! Below is a breakdown of how each Firecuda 530 SSD compares:

Drive Firecuda 530 500GB

Firecuda 530 1000GB

Firecuda 530 2000GB

Firecuda 530 4000GB

Price 500GB – $149.99 1TB – $239.99 2TB – $489.99 4TB – $949.99
Warranty, Limited (years) 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue 5+3yr Rescue
PCIe Gen M.2 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4 PCIe Gen 4×4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND Type 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND 176L 3D NAND
Controller E18-PS018 E18-PS018 E18-PS018 E18-PS018
Performance ZP500GM3A013 ZP1000GM3A013 ZP2000GM3A013 ZP4000GM3A013
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 7300MB 7300MB 7300MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB 6000MB 6900MB 6900MB
IOPS ZP500GM3A013 ZP1000GM3A013 ZP2000GM3A013 ZP4000GM3A013
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 400,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
DWPD 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7
MTBF, hours 1,800,000 1,800,000 1,800,000 1,800,000

The first very clear thing is that the performance clearly scales quite hugely as you go through each capacity tier. The 500GB model features a rather underwhelming 3000GB sequential write compared with the more than double 6,000MB/s and 6,900MB/s reported on the rest of the series, but the sequential read performance of all capacities is still reported at 7,000MB/s (with a peak of 7,300MB/s at the highest end). Likewise, the 4K IOPS scales noticeably through the tiers, with the 500GB being the only version that does not break the 1,000,000 IOPS rating. Understandably this is an architecture/physical NAND scale limitation, but it is definitely worth highlighting, as many buyers who are looking at the Seagate Firecuda 530 series and are somewhat intimidated by the higher price tag over other M.2 PCIe4 NVMe SSDs (but still want the endurance and durability of use) might scale to the 500GB model and then be unaware they are getting a very different ‘write’ experience. That said, modern PC and console gamers who are going to use the Seagate Firecuda 530 are going to largely need to focus on Read activity. For a better understanding of the most commonly used terms in the word of SSDs, take a moment to watch my video below that breaks down all of the most complex and repeated terms and anacronyms into plain, chewable English!



So, now you know the hardware specifications, the performance benchmarks and exactly what makes the Seagate Firecuda 530 a particularly advantageous drive. However, there are quite a few drives n the shelves right now that are shoving for gamer’s attention and for both PS5 and PC Gamers alike, there are 2 main alternative drives, the WD Black SN850 and Samsung 980 Pro. These two alternative drives have been available to consumers for well over 12 months and in that time have dominated this tier of the storage market significantly. The WD and Samsung gamer SSD arrived on the market last year at a lower price point than the Seagate Firecuda 530, as well as had plenty of time to get more flexible with that price in the meantime. So, with the Seagate SSD arriving at a higher price point, they can only really win on the subject of VALUE, not the price tag. Ultimately, what you GET for your money in terms of performance, responsiveness, service and (Seagate hope) durability. Below is how these three SSDs compare at each available capacity tier:

Brand/Series

 

Seagate Firecuda 530

WD Black SN850

Samsung 980 Pro

500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P500BW
Price in $ and $ $139 / £119 $119 / £99 $119 / £109
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Price in $ and $ $239 / £199 $249 / £169 $209 / £179
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Price in $ and $ $419 / £379 $399 / £339 $390 / £369
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013   N/A
Price in $ and $ $949 / £769 N/A N/A
Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530 WD Black SN850 Samsung 980 Pro
PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.3c
NAND 3D TLC Micron B47R 176L BiCS4 96L TLC 3D TLC
Max Capacity 4TB – Double Sided 2TB 2TB
Controller Phison E18-PS5018 WD_BLACK G2 Custom Elpis
Warranty 5yr + Data Recovery 3yrs 5yr 5yr
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,800,000 1,750,000 1,500,000
DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD 0.3DWPD
500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P500BW
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 7000MB 6900MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3000MB 4100MB 5000MB
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7000MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6000MB 5300MB 5000MB
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB 7000MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB 5100MB 5100MB
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013   N/A
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7300MB N/A N/A
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6900MB N/A N/A
Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530 WD Black SN850 Samsung 980 Pro
500GB Model ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P500BW
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 400,000 1,000,000 800,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 700,000 680,000 1,000,000
1TB Model ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P1T0BW
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 800000 1,000,000 1000000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1000000 720,000 1000000
2TB Model ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0 MZ-V8P2T0BW
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 710,000 1,000,000
4TB Model ZP4000GM3A013   N/A
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 N/A N/A
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 N/A N/A

So, when looking at these drives, we have to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the Seagate Firecuda 530 vs the WD Black SN850 and Samsung 980 Pro. They break down as follows:


+ Highest Peak Performance at 1TB and 2TB


+ 4 Terabyte Option


+ More Than Double The Reported Endurance & Durability than WD/Samsung


+ Inclusive Rescue Data Recovery Service


– More Expensive at ALL Capacities


– 500GB Model Has Noticeably Lower Seq Write than 500GB WD/Samsung


– Not 100% Developed In-house


Overall, I do genuinely think that Seagate and the Firecuda 530 win overall on points versus the Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850. It definitely costs more, but you seemingly get quite a lot for your money. That does mean that you need to price these SSDs in terms of their lifetime utility and value (which many might not want or need to), but Seagate does make a compelling argument here. Additionally, the available 4TB drive will please a lot of professional gamers, as that is quite a lot of space to play with – albeit at quite an intimidating price tag! Let’s get the Seagate Firecuda 530 in the test machine:

Testing the Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB m.2 PCIE4 NVMe SSD


When testing the Seagate Firecuda 530, I wanted to perform a good balance of consumer-accessible tests. So the results below come from testing this 1TB SSD on a PC system and loading game tests from a PS5 system (for those considering this SSD for a console gaming system).


PC 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

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The Drive was first checked on Crystal Disk to check that it was clearly accessible, utilizing the PCIe Gen 4 bandwidth interface fully and was in good, healthy working order.



The PC Tests of the Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB SSD included ATTO Diskbench Mark, CrystalDisk, AS SSD and spikes of AJA Disk Speed Test (over time).

Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB – 1GB Test


Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB – 4GB


Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB – 16GB


Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB – 64GB



 

Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB – ATTO 256MB Test

Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB – ATTO 1GB Test

Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB – ATTO 4GB Test


 

Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB – AS SSD Tests


We performed three different file type tests in AS SSD, 1GB, 3GB and 5GB. They were as follows:

AS SSD 1GB TEST FILE

AS SSD 3GB TEST FILE

AS SSD 5GB TEST FILE


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:

Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB 1GB AJA File Test Results (Max)


5816MB/s Read & 5383MB/s Write


Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB 4GB AJA File Test Results (Max)


5829MB/s Read & 5672MB/s Write


Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB 16GB AJA File Test Results (Max)


6008MB/s Read & 5427MB/s Write


Seagate Firecuda 530 1TB – Playstation 5 Load Times


Below I tested 4 different games on the Playstation 5, with each game being stored on the m.2 SSD expansion slot populated with the Seagate Firecuda 530. In three out of four cases, the game loaded 1 Sec + faster on the Seagate:


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SSD NEXT TO BOX RANGE

Seagate Firecuda 530 SSD Review – Conclusion



I mean, there are two ways to look at this SSD. On the one hand, you can judge the Seagate Firecuda 530 Beskar Ingot Drive on its looks (which I am fairly certain I was always told not to) and if you are even slightly following the Mandalorian on Disney plus, this is a lovely presented drive. However, the more practical of us will question the long term value of a beautiful SSD that we are going to immediately enclose inside our PC/PS5 systems, never to be seen again. It’s a fair point, but to some buyers (perhaps those that favour LEDs or hyper metallic ‘future’ design on their memory heatsinks or steampunk esc internal cooling) this small detail will be enough for them to spend a pinch more on this special edition of the drive. It’s no coincidence the presentation of this drive right out of the box differed wildly from that of the more traditional component kit approach of the regular Firecuda 530 SSD. But dig deeper and what you find is the same incredible SSD from Seagate that still continues to impress. The price tag of the special edition Firecuda 530 is still higher than most out there (even the regular version is priced some 10-15% higher than others in the market), but you still need to factor in that this SSD is capable of hitting performance and durability figures that are still unchallenged in the market right now and Seagate seemingly know that! Until Seagate decide whether to release a more affordable alternative to the Firecuda 530 SSD (Firecuda 535 or 525 maybe?), this is always going to be a pricey drive (whether you opt into the Mandalorian version or not) and if you are running a system that can hit those lofty benchmarks it can achieve or plan on using it extensively without fear of durability, I STILL think it is worth the asking price. Just keep in mind that the additional highs that this Drive is capable of hitting are going to need other serious horsepower under the bonnet too! Also, remember that the Firecuda 530 is available with the standard EK heatsink and a non-heatsink version and you can say £25-50 respectively on the terabyte.

PROs of the Seagate Firecuda 530 CONs of the Seagate Firecuda 530
I mean – It looks ridiculously cool!

Highest PCIe 4×4 M.2 Performance Right Now


176 Layer 3D TLC NAND is still a rare treat in 2022


Best Example of Phison E18 Performance


Highest Endurance PCIe Gen 4×4 M.2 SSD Right Now


Inclusive Data Recovery Services


PS5 Compatibility Fully Confirmed


Available in up to 4TB

Costs more than most

Branding and License design will be obscured in your PS5/PC enclosure

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Corsair MP600 PRO LPX SSD Review and Benchmark – Changing Gear?

11 février 2022 à 01:49

Review of the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD


When Corsair released their first high performing SSD entry onto the PCIe 4 m.2 NVMe tier, they did so into a significantly less crowded marketplace than it is right now. The MP600 was one of the first Phison E16 SSDs to arrive on the scene and it made quite the mark! Then the Phison E18 prosumer model arrived in the MP600 Pro (Originally reviewed here on NASCompares, it scored very well in its review and benchmark ), but fast forward to 2022 and corsair have revisited this SSD with a new heatsink and tweaked firmware (optimized in favour of PS5 utilization) in the new Corsair MP600 Pro LPX. This new revision of the Corsair MP600 embraces some physical differences in the heatsink (changing the rather beefy PC targetted H/S), but for the most part is the same SSD, with the same architecture as the MP600 that came before it. That said, with the boost in SSD deployment in PS5 consoles around the world, the move by the brand to make their flagship prosumer SSD more accessible to that market makes a lot of sense. That said, is this the same old SSD with a simple paint job? What sets the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX apart from its predecessor? Let’s find out.


Corsair MP600 PRO LPX SSD Review – Quick Conclusion


Arriving as a slight change on the blueprints of the previously released Corsair MP600 Pro, the newly PS5 optimized Corsair MP600 Pro LPX is very much a second helping of what that same SSD did previously. It does bring a few tweaks into the mix (modified Heatsink, improved NAND, etc) but if you are already an owner of the PC focused MP600 Pro, there isn’t going to be much new for you here. However, if this is your first time considering the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX as your gamer SSD of course, is it a remarkably solid, well built and understated piece of storage! Performing remarkably well in testing on the PC and PS5, this IS a good SSD. That said, the PCIe Gen 4 SSD market is fast becoming a very crowded place and despite its pluses, the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX may be in danger of fading into the background. Luckily its pricing appears more dynamic than many out there (even at its launch) and the Corsair name carries enough kudos in the PC market to get picked up by console gamers nonetheless. A good SSD that, had it been released just 6 months before, I think would have made a bigger noise for buyers to hear! PS5 Buyers, don’t hesitate! PC buyers, maybe save a few quid and opt for the MP600 Pro standard version.

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


8.4
PROS
👍🏻Another good Phison E18 SSD
👍🏻Same Architecture (inc NAND quality) to the Seagate Firecuda 530
👍🏻
👍🏻Good Price Point vs WD & Seagate Options
👍🏻
👍🏻Genuinely Impressive value for the price tag
👍🏻
👍🏻PS5 Compatibility is Confirmed and the heatsink fits great
👍🏻
👍🏻No overpromising of its abilities and solid performance
👍🏻
👍🏻Durability is a pinch better than the WD Black SN850 and Samsung 980 Pro
👍🏻
👍🏻Higher 4K Random IOPS ratings than most
👍🏻
👍🏻Impressively high write performance compared with similar architecture SSD
CONS
👎🏻The retail package is a little underwhelming
👎🏻Ran a little hotter than most SSDs in PC benchmark tests

Corsair MP600 PRO LPX SSD Review – Packaging


A close look at the retail box of the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX shows us that this range differs ever so slightly from the original version and its yellow/black design. The box is fairly monotone and conservative, lacking the loud luminous yellow of its predecessor.



The retail box shows us the familiar rigid packaging we saw in the Corsair MP600 Pro, as well as the inclusion of installation instructions and warranty information. All fairly standard stuff.



There are details on the box regarding the performance of the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX, as well as further information on how well this SSD performs. Much like the Corsair MP600 Pro original version, the new LPX release is remarkably restrained in its reported performance from the brand (in our testing of its general predecessor, we would it could achieve a good 10-15% more than the brand implied. Let’s hope this is the case once again.



Removing the SSD from all the retail packaging, we find the SSD and its PS5 optimised heatsink. Quite similar to the Nextorage NEM-PA discussed here on the channel a couple of weeks ago, the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX SSD is a chunky but low profile m.2 heatsink that features multiple airflow channels for assisting heat dissipation. However, this SSD heatsink will likely be encased in the PS5 SSD expansion slot and that will marginally limit airflow.



The Corsair MP600 Pro LPX SSD heatsink though is still quite coversome and surrounds the SSD very neatly. Arriving as a pre-installed heatsink purchase, this SSD arrives tightly cases inside the aluminium surrounding case.



With so many first party SSD heatsinks arriving in the market (largely due to the increased heat generated by PCIe 4 Performance generally), the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX heatsink still manages to be a little generic but is certainly built to a standard that I feel it will do the job it is built for. The heatsink has been clearly designed to fit inside the PS5 m2 SSD expansion slot (hence the several references to the console on the retail packaging) and I am pleased to confirm that it fits without a hitch! I’m still not a huge fan of the covered design of the SSD slot on the PS5, but still, this heatsink has adapted well compared with the standard MP600 model.



The heatsink on the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX in a PS5 deployment seems a good fit, but when we performed our PC benchmarks (detailed later in the review) it should be noted that the temperature of the controller rose a pinch higher (around 10-12 degrees) higher than most other similarly designed SSD+Heatsink combos, peaking at the most intense testing at 57 degrees. This is still well within the operational temperatures of this SSD to perform, but I have seen similar architecture SSDs (in the controller, NAND, memory) to the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX maintain the temperature better and that is often down to the heatsink being chunkier or a larger surface area in a PC environment to capture active airflow.



When installing the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX in the PS5, we performed a benchmark using the system’s own tool several times and although the highest it achieved was 6388MB/s, the best average temp was around 6300-6400MB/s.


As you would expect, the SSD immediately appeared in the PS5 storage manager and was available for use straight away.



Full PS5 Games Loading testing of the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX NVMe SSD will be coming soon to the YouTube channel here on NASCompares, but in the meantime, here is how it compared again games loading on 6 games against the internal PS5 SSD:


Let’s see how the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX PS5 benchmark compared with other SSDs we have tested.


Corsair MP600 PRO LPX SSD Review – PS5 Benchmark


To put the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX 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 this 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 A440, how it conventionally benchmarks and how it compares with currently favourite PS5 SSDs like the WD Black and Seagate Firecuda 530,



So that is the physical design of the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX SSD. But what about the hardware components themselves? Does the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX cut the mustard in terms of current generation hardware and protocols? Let’s find out. First thing’s first, let’s remove the heatsink of the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX, which is done by the removal of four individual Phillips head screw heads. Also, don’t do this! It will invalidate your warranty.



Inside, we find thermal paste/gel applied directly onto the key components. This SSD was a 2-sides PCB (8x 256GB NAND) and thermal material was applied on either side. I expected to see a rectangular thermal pad, but this direct application onto the key components is arguably better (more precisely on the controller). Let’s discuss the main components and architecture of this SSD:


Corsair MP600 PRO LPX 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 Corsair MP600 PRO LPX are quite modern. Indeed, for all the big talk of the incredibly similar Seagate Firecuda 530 hardware (still currently the ‘score to beat’ PCIE Gen4 m.2 NVMe right now, though a noticeable degree more expensive than all the others) being top tier, the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX is pretty darn similar on the spec sheet! Below is how it looks:

Corsair MP600 PRO LPX


500GB – $99, 1TB – $169, 2TB – $3394TB – $745

PCIe Generation PCIe 4 x4
NVMe Rev NVMe Rev. 1.4
NAND & Memory 176L 3D TLC Micron B47R
Max Capacity 1-4TB
Controller Phison PS5018-E18
Warranty 5 Years

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 Corsair MP600 PRO LPX SSD Series


The first big, BIG thing to remember here is the controller, that Phison E18. 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 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. This controller is one of the biggest reasons that the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX can actually back up it’s promises about the 7,000MB/s+ (reporting a max 7,100) Sequential Read (sequential data = big chunks of data). However, that is not the only reason.



The NAND on the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX 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 Corsair MP600 PRO LPX features the same NAND quality as the Seagate Firecuda 530 at 176 layer 3D TLC NAND), which is bigger than most, arriving at 96 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 96 layers or so, which still puts the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX SSD ahead.



Much like the Controller on the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX being the ‘CPU’, it also has an area of memory. The Corsair MP600 PRO LPX SSD uses 2GB DDR4 DRAM/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 2TB tier, 1GB DDR4 on the 1TB, etc.



As mentioned, all available capacities of the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX arrive at 2280 in length. The Corsair MP600 PRO LPX range arrives in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB, with the latter two choices arriving as double-sided SSDs. Performance increases (less so in Read, but very much in Write) as your scale-up in the capacities and the larger distribution of NAND that can be accessed simultaneously is a big reason for this.



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 Corsair MP600 PRO LPX 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 Corsair MP600 PRO LPX 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 Corsair MP600 PRO LPX, as it is still 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 Corsair MP600 PRO LPX, 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.

Corsair MP600 PRO LPX 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 Corsair MP600 PRO LPX 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 20-30%! That said, the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX arrives at a price point that undercuts the Seagate and even challenges popular SSDs in the market from WD and Samsung, despite being the newest SSD on the scene. Below is a breakdown of how each Corsair MP600 PRO LPX SSD compares:

Brand/Series Corsair MP600 PRO LPX


500GB – $99, 1TB – $169, 2TB – $3394TB – $745

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 Micron B47R 3D TLC Micron B47R 176L BiCS4 96L TLC
Max Capacity 4TB – Double Sided 4TB – Double Sided 2TB
Controller Phison E18-PS5018 Phison E18-PS5018 WD_BLACK G2
Warranty 5yr 5yr 5yr
500GB Model CSSD-F0500GBMP600PLP ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Price in $ and $ $99 $139 / £119 $119 / £99
1TB Model CSSD-F01000GBMP600PLP​ ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Price in $ and $ $169 / £169 $239 / £199 $249 / £169
2TB Model CSSD-F02000GBMP600PLP​ ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Price in $ and $ $339 / £289 $419 / £379 $399 / £339
4TB Model CSSD-F04000GBMP600PLP ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Price in $ and $ $749 / £699 $949 / £789 N/A
500GB Model CSSD-F0500GBMP600PLP ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 350TB 640TB 300TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,600,000 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.38 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
1TB Model CSSD-F01000GBMP600PLP​ 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 CSSD-F02000GBMP600PLP​ 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 CSSD-F04000GBMP600PLP ZP4000GM3A013 N/A
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 2800TB 5100TB N/A
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,600,000 1,800,000 N/A
DWPD 0.38DWPD 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 Micron 176 Layer 3D TLC NAND used, rather than t used by those used by competitors. This is an important point because the brand has significantly less pedigree 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 that lasts!



Additionally, thanks to the use of the Phison E18 controller and 176 layer NAND, the reported IOPS on each capacity is actually a noticeable degree higher than those reported by their competitors. Indeed, the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX is one of the few E18 SSDs that does not state it’s reported 4K random IOPS on the official pages,so 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 leaves about 10 other SSDs in the market today that this can be compared against, such as the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus, the MSI Spatium M480, the ADATA Gammix S70 and (current leader) the Seagate Firecuda 530. Of those, the only one that seemingly ‘out specs’ the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX is the Seagate Firecuda 530. However, the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX SSD has been available in the market for mere weeks at the time of writing and has certainly embedded itself in the market at that time a fraction more. Below is how these two drives compare:

Brand/Series Corsair MP600 PRO LPX


500GB – $99, 1TB – $169, 2TB – $3394TB – $745

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 CSSD-F0500GBMP600PLP ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7100MB 7000MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 3700MB 3000MB 4100MB
1TB Model CSSD-F01000GBMP600PLP​ ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7100MB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 5800MB 6000MB 5300MB
2TB Model CSSD-F02000GBMP600PLP​ ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7100MB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6800MB 6900MB 5100MB
4TB Model CSSD-F04000GBMP600PLP ZP4000GM3A013  
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7100MB 7300MB N/A
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 6800MB 6900MB N/A
Brand/Series Seagate Firecuda 530 WD Black SN850
500GB Model CSSD-F0500GBMP600PLP ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 435,000 400,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 615,000 700,000 680,000
1TB Model CSSD-F01000GBMP600PLP​ ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 900000 800000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,200,000 1000000 720,000
2TB Model CSSD-F02000GBMP600PLP​ ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,200,000 1,000,000 710,000
4TB Model CSSD-F04000GBMP600PLP ZP4000GM3A013  
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,000,000 1,000,000 N/A
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 1,200,000 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. Although there are a number of micro reasons for this, the 176L NAND is the biggest factor here, but also that EK designed heatsink and inclusive data recovery services. Yes, that is why the Firecuda 530 commands a higher price tag. Additionally, the WD Black arrives at a better price point, solid 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. Let’s get the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX on the test machine!


Testing the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX m.2 PCIE4 NVMe SSD


The Corsair MP600 PRO LPX 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 Corsair MP600 PRO LPX 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

Once again, it is worth looking at the temperatures that this SSD hit during the testing. 1 minute cooldown was provided between tests and although the SSD clearly dissipated heat effectively, it still maintained a comparatively high temp during the tests.



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 47C 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 = 6.34GB/s


 



 


ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #2


1GB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 6.61GB/s


1GB File PEAK Write Throughput = 6.34GB/s


 



 


ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #3


4GB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 6.61GB/s


4GB File PEAK Write Throughput = 6,.38GB/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. Tests 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) = 5835MB/s Read & 5648MB/s Write



4GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 5816MB/s Read & 5678MB/s Write



16GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 6035MB/s Read & 5547MB/s Write



Overall, the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX 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 (I hoped to see them cross into the 1Million mark), but again, we were testing very large file types, so this would have to be taken in context.


Corsair MP600 PRO LPX SSD Review – Conclusion


Arriving as a slight change on the blueprints of the previously released Corsair MP600 Pro, the newly PS5 optimized Corsair MP600 Pro LPX is very much a second helping of what that same SSD did previously. It does bring a few tweaks into the mix (modified Heatsink, improved NAND, etc) but if you are already an owner of the PC focused MP600 Pro, there isn’t going to be much new for you here. However, if this is your first time considering the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX as your gamer SSD of course, is it a remarkably solid, well built and understated piece of storage! Performing remarkably well in testing on the PC and PS5, this IS a good SSD. That said, the PCIe Gen 4 SSD market is fast becoming a very crowded place and despite its pluses, the Corsair MP600 Pro LPX may be in danger of fading into the background. Luckily its pricing appears more dynamic than many out there (even at its launch) and the Corsair name carries enough kudos in the PC market to get picked up by console gamers nonetheless. A good SSD that, had it been released just 6 months before, I think would have made a bigger noise for buyers to hear! PS5 Buyers, don’t hesitate! PC buyers, maybe save a few quid and opt for the MP600 Pro standard version.

PROs of the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX CONs of the Corsair MP600 PRO LPX
Another good Phison E18 SSD

Same Architecture (inc NAND quality) to the Seagate Firecuda 530


Good Price Point vs WD & Seagate Options


Genuinely Impressive value for the price tag


PS5 Compatibility is Confirmed and the heatsink fits great


No overpromising of its abilities and solid performance


Durability is a pinch better than the WD Black SN850 and Samsung 980 Pro


Higher 4K Random IOPS ratings than most


Impressively high write performance compared with similar architecture SSD

The retail package is a little underwhelming

Ran a little hotter than most SSDs in PC benchmark tests


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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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Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD Review – Perfect All Rounder?

20 décembre 2021 à 01:15

Review of the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD

Of all the brands that have embraced the PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD revolution, few have been as aggressive as Sabrent. In a little over 10 months, they not only released their first PCIe4 SSD, but then fleshed out an entire multi-tiered range of drives within this tier. Named the Sabrent Rocket Series, there is three individual tiers available in the Rocket 4 Plus Premium/Prosumer level, the Sabrent Rocket Q4 Home/Budget level and finally, right there in the middle, the Rocket PCIe 4.0 series. That last one is the focus of today’s review, as it is the one that promises a good balance of performance, capacity and price. Although the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 was the first of this series to arrive, it is still quite current in 2021, arriving with a market endorsed Phison controller, 96Layered NAND and a very unique build & presentation. Although, it might have been usurped by the Rocket 4 Plus in the eyes of prosumer/business buyers and the ever-changing pricing of SSDs (thanks to the ripples of the pandemic, chia, semiconductor shortages and the trade war), as well as newer and more powerful SSDs landing in summer 2021 in the Firecuda 530 and MSI Spatium M480, so is the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 Still worth your time and your data? Let’s find out in my review and performance testing of the Rocket PCIe 4 SSD.

Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD Review – Quick Conclusion

In many ways, the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 is a victim of the brands own rising success (a bit overly flattering, but hear me out). Whether through accident or design, the fast-paced establishing of their range of PCIe 4.0 SSDs that cover budget buyers to Professional buyers has led to the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD being somewhat overshadowed by the Rocket 4 Plus SSD. Had the numerous market-changing events of the last 18 months not happened, then the pricing structure between these three SSD tiers would be must more distinguishable. As it stands, now the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 is very close to the Rocket 4 Plus and unless a buyer is highly concerned with durability (0.9 DWPD vs 0.3 DWPD), it makes spending a tiny bit more and opting for the premium class drive a no brainer. That said, judging the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD on its own merits, it is another solid release from the brand. It still features the strange warranty registration policy of the rest of the brand’s releases (nope, still can’t get behind that idea!), but the rest of the drive is exactly what I want in a all-purpose m.2 NVMe SSD. If you see this drive on sale, then do not hesitate to snap it up.

SPEED - 7/10
HARDWARE - 6/10
PERFORMANCE - 7/10
PRICE - 8/10
VALUE - 8/10


7.2
PROS
👍🏻Still Impressive Performance even a year since it’s release
👍🏻High Durability of over 0.9 DWPD
👍🏻
👍🏻Good Drive for those with Systems that cannot reach 7000MB/s Cap tier
👍🏻
👍🏻Good Build Quality and Presentation
👍🏻
👍🏻Includes Acronis True Image to clone/move OS to drive
👍🏻
👍🏻PS5 SSD Expansion Drive Support (Negotiable – check later software releases)
CONS
👎🏻Overshadowed by the Rocket 4 Plus SSD
👎🏻No 4TB Option (unless the Q4 / Rocket 4 Plus Series)
👎🏻
👎🏻SSD Pricing Madness in 2020/2021 hurts its appeal

Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD Review – Packaging

Much like the majority of Sabrent SSDs, the Rocket Rocket PCIe 4.0 is a very well presented drive. Arriving in a smaller retail box than their competitors, there is the hesitation that this drive is not going to be suitably protected or corners have been cut. However in reality this is one of the most impressively packaged (aesthetically and protectively) M.2 SSDs I have seen in a long time.

Inside the Rocket 4.0 retail box (with its promised performance abilities and specifications detailed) is a copper hinged case that is surprisingly sturdy and gives off a nice feeling of quality.

Inside this copper/rose-gold case is instructions for first-time drive installation, warranty information (which you are urged to register for, else you only have 1yr warranty as opposed to the expected 5yrs), a foam branded card that protected the M.2 NVMe and (of course) the Sabrent Rocket PCIe4 itself.

Removing the Sabrent PCIe 4.0 SSD from the carry case show you a nice and clear drive label. Indeed this label is also a little different from those that you might find on other SSDs.

The top label of the Sabrent Rocket PCIE4.0 SSD is actually a metal place that lies across the entirety of the SSD. This plate is attached with adhesive and is present on all Sabrent NVMe SSDs, including this more consumer class PCIe4 SSD. Later we will peel back this metal plate to show you the internal NAND, Controller and Memory, but this is still a very slick touch and although I query its effectiveness in real-world usage for heat dissipation, it’s still a nice extra touch of design.

The m.2 Connector on the Sabrent Rocket 4.0 has plenty of clearance and the distribution of the NAND on this drive is very even. We are reviewing the 2TB model of this SSD series and therefore there is little need to be conservative about the spacing of NAND/Components.

Of course, if you are going to deploy the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4 SSD in your PC or PS5 console, it is worth remembering that these drives get hot, plus in the case of the Sabrent PCIe4, it gets remarkably hot! To counter this you can always get a 3rd party heatsink OR get the Sabrent Rocket+Heatsink package. The heatsink that Sabrent supply for this SSD is both stylized similarly to the drive itself and made of impressive build quality. However, there are a few caveats that are worth keeping in mind.

First, unlike a lot of SSDs that when purchased in complete packages with the first party/branded heatsink, the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 does NOT arrive pre-installed in the heatsink. This is NOT a big deal, as its not exactly brain surgery to install an SSD inside a heatsink, however, two of the main benefits of buying an SSD+Heatsink combo is that 1) the thermal pads can/will be applied to the precisely most beneficial elements of the SSD (eg not a long, inefficient thermal pad, but selective area application to the SSD), and 2) a SSD+Heatsink combo might be applied at factory level with dust/air control meaning better-sealed installation. These are very minor points, however, it’s a real shame that the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0+Heatsink combo kit does not arrive readily attached at the point of manufacture. Another point that is worth noting, if largely not advisable, is if you are considering installing the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 drive in your PS5. It is still technically below the recommended minimum for drive installation and you might encounter gameplay issues later, but nonetheless, the drive is supported and WAS displayed as usable by the PS5 system software (currently in the beta at the time of writing and not a full-public release feature).

However, the 1st party Sabrent Heatsink is way, WAY too tall for PS5 expansion bay and will not allow you to install the m.2 cover by a big margin. You can still install the PS5 outer shell and panels, but this might well affect airflow too (TBC). When you uninstall the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4 inside a PS5 with supported SSD expansion update in the expansion slot, the Playstation 5 System software recorded a highly unusual read speed of 5,622MB/s. This is significantly higher than the reported maximum 5,000MB/s Sequential Read that Sabrent themselves say the Rocket 4.0 is capable of. So, take that measurement with a MASSIVE grain of salt!

So that is the physical design of the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD. But what about the hardware components themselves? Does the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 cut the mustard in terms of current generation hardware and protocols? Let’s find out.

Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD Review – Hardware Specifications

As you might expect from an M.2 NVMe SSD that boldly promises performance of over 5,000MB/s sequential read (ie BIG data), the hardware specifications and architecture of the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 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 Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 is pretty darn similar on the spec sheet to the firecuda 520 that came before it! There is, of course, the higher tier Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus premium model, which arrives around 15-20& more expensive, but what this gives in performance, it loses in endurance and cost per TB. Below is how the Sabrent Rocket PCIe4 looks:

Sabrent Rocket PCIe4

500GB – $89.99, 1TB – $149.99, 2TB – $399.99

PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.3
NAND 3D TLC KIOXIA 96L
Max Capacity 2TB – Single Sided
Controller Phison E16-PS5016
Warranty 1yr/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 Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD Series

The first thing to focus on 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 E16 was first introduced into the hardware market back in summer 2019 and is featured prominently on a number of PCIe4 SSDs that are now a pinch more affordable than the latest revision, the E18. This has created a two-tier system in the M.2 PCIe 4 market that some brands have used to produce two kinds of PCIe4 in their portfolio. A more affordable E16 SSD and a premium E18 SSD. Regardless of how the Phison E16 has slipped into the lower pricing/performance tier, this controller is still one of the biggest reasons that the Sabrent Rocket PCIe4 can actually back up its promises about the 5,000-4,400MB/s+ Sequential Read (sequential data = big chunks of data)

The NAND on the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 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 although the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 does not provide the best SSD in the industry at this tier right now (that, once again, goes to the Seagate Firecuda 530 at 176 layer 3D TLC NAND), it is bigger than most, arriving at 96 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 64 layers or so, so this is a big jump up for the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD.

Much like the Controller on the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 being the ‘CPU’, it also has an area of memory. The Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD uses 1GB 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.

As mentioned, all available capacities of the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 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 Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 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 Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 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 Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0, 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 Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0, 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.

Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 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 Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 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%! Below is a breakdown of how each Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD compares:

Brand/Series Sabrent Rocket PCIe4

500GB – $89.99, 1TB – $149.99, 2TB – $399.99

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 1.3 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND 3D TLC KIOXIA 96L 3D TLC Micron B47R 176L BiCS4 96L TLC
Max Capacity 2TB – Single Sided 4TB – Double Sided 2TB
Controller Phison E16-PS5016 Phison E18-PS5018 WD_BLACK G2
Warranty 1yr/5yr 5yr 5yr
500GB Model SB-RKTQ4-500GB ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 850TB 640TB 300TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,700,000 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.9DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
1TB Model SB-RKTQ4-1TB ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 1800TB 1275TB 600TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,700,000 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.9DWPD 0.7DWPD 0.3DWPD
2TB Model SB-RKTQ4-2TB ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Total Terabytes Written (TBW) 3600TB 2550TB 1200TB
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,700,000 1,800,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.9DWPD 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 THREE TIMES HIGHER than the Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850 in terms of NAND lifespan on daily writes, likely down to that Kioxia 96 Layer 3D TLC NAND used, rather than the used by those used by competitors. This is an important point because the brand has significantly less pedigree 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 that lasts!

However, despite the use of the Phison E16 controller and 96 layer NAND, the reported IOPS on each capacity is actually a noticeable degree lower than those reported by their competitors. Indeed, the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 is one of the few E18 SSDs that does not cross into the reported 1 Million IOPS mark, maxing out at 700k. 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 ADATA Gammix S70 and (current leader) the Seagate Firecuda 530. Of those, the only one that seemingly ‘out specs’ the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 is the Seagate Firecuda 530. However, the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD has been available in the market for almost 14 months longer and has certainly embedded itself in the market at that time more. Below is how these two drives compare:

Brand/Series Sabrent Rocket PCIe4

500GB – $89.99, 1TB – $149.99, 2TB – $399.99

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 SB-RKTQ4-500GB ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 5000MB 7000MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 2500MB 3000MB 4100MB
1TB Model SB-RKTQ4-1TB ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 5000MB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 4400MB 6000MB 5300MB
2TB Model SB-RKTQ4-2TB ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 5000MB 7300MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 4400MB 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 Sabrent Rocket PCIe4 Seagate Firecuda 530 WD Black SN850
500GB Model SB-RKTQ4-500GB ZP500GM3A013 WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 400000 400,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 550000 700,000 680,000
1TB Model SB-RKTQ4-1TB ZP1000GM3A013 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 750,000 800000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 750,000 1000000 720,000
2TB Model SB-RKTQ4-2TB ZP2000GM3A013 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Random Read (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 750,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Random Write (Max, IOPS), 4 KB QD32 850TB 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. Although there are a number of micro reasons for this, the 176L NAND is the biggest factor here. Yes, that is why the Firecuda 530 commands the higher price tag. 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. Let’s get the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 on the test machine!

Testing the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 m.2 PCIE4 NVMe SSD

The Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 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 Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 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 44C 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  = 5.24GB/s

256MB File PEAK Write Throughput = 3.94GB/s

 


 

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #2

1GB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 5.23GB/s

1GB File PEAK Write Throughput = 3.94GB/s

 


 

ATTO Disk Benchmark Test #3

4GB File PEAK Read Throughput  = 5.23GB/s

4GB File PEAK Write Throughput = 3.93GB/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) = 4468MB/s Read & 4145MB/s Write

4GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 4487MB/s Read & 4132MB/s Write

16GB AJA File Test Results (Peak) = 4487MB/s Read & 4125MB/s Write

Overall, the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 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.

Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD Review – Conclusion

The Sabrent Rocket 4.0 M.2 SSD is a good, solid release that although may appear a little safe in summer 2021 compared to its release in mid-2020, is still a drive that still delivers on what it promises. In many ways, the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 is a victim of the brands own rising success (a bit overly flattering, but hear me out). Whether through accident or design, the fast-paced establishing of their range of PCIe 4.0 SSDs that cover budget buyers to Professional buyers has led to the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD being somewhat overshadowed by the Rocket 4 Plus SSD. Had the numerous market-changing events of the last 18 months not happened, then the pricing structure between these three SSD tiers would be must more distinguishable. As it stands, now the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 is very close to the Rocket 4 Plus and unless a buyer is highly concerned with durability (0.9 DWPD vs 0.3 DWPD), it makes spending a tiny bit more and opting for the premium class drive a no brainer. That said, judging the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 SSD on its own merits, it is another solid release from the brand. It still features the strange warranty registration policy of the rest of the brand’s releases (nope, still can’t get behind that idea!), but the rest of the drive is exactly what I want in a all-purpose m.2 NVMe SSD. If you see this drive on sale, then do not hesitate to snap it up.

 

PROs of the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0 CONs of the Sabrent Rocket PCIe 4.0
Still Impressive Performance even a year since it’s release

High Durability of over 0.9 DWPD

Good Drive for those with Systems that cannot reach 7000MB/s Cap tier

Good Build Quality and Presentation

Includes Acronis True Image to clone/move OS to drive

PS5 SSD Expansion Drive Support (Negotiable – check later software releases)

Overshadowed by the Rocket 4 Plus SSD

No 4TB Option (unless the Q4 / Rocket 4 Plus Series)

SSD Pricing Madness in 2020/2021 hurts its appeal


Articles Get Updated Regularly - Get an alert every time something gets added to this page!


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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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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  

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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We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  

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