Best M.2 NVMe SSD For Cache on a NAS or Server – Synology / TerraMaster / QNAP etc

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Following on from my recent TerraMaster upgrade posts, I have been looking at the best SSDs to use in a NAS.

I have already covered 2.5″ SATA SSDs, which was the only option for my TerraMaster F4-422. However, if you have built your own server or have a NAS with PCIe M.2 slots, then you can benefit from ultra-fast NVMe drives.

For example, the Synology DS920+ 4-Bay NAS enclosure includes two M.2 NVMe Slots that permit cache acceleration without occupying storage drive bays.

Alternatively, some of the larger NAS enclosures, such as the Synology DS2422+ or the new TerraMaster T9-423, have a dedicated expansion slot that can be used to add a PCIe M.2 expansion card or 10Gbps+ network cards.

When it comes to servers and storage, the overall read/write throughput is not necessarily the most important, but the drive endurance and warranty.

To keep things simple, I have looked at the price of drives with a capacity of  500GB and 1TB (thereabouts) and their endurance ratings.

Best SATA SSDs for Cache & Storage

Notes:

  • The list isn't exhaustive and I will add more drives over time, including more PCIe Gen4.
  • For most drives, the price and specification was taken from Scan
  • Some drives have a smaller capacity, such as 480GB instead of 512GB.
  • Read/Write speeds may not be 100% accurate as they change depending on capacity

What about data centre/enterprise drives?

You will often see people recommending used data centre drives for cache drives. There were some good choices for SATA SSDs the Samsung PM893 and PM897 were quite affordable with a large TBW.

The same isn't quite the same here as some of the consumer drives offer superior performance. The 960GB Samsung PM9A3 has 1.0 DWPD for 5 years, giving it a TDW of 1752 and costs £180, they don’t do a 480/500GB model as I have used for the list below, but at 1 DWPD, that would be the same as 876 TDW. The 1TB WD Red SN700 for £155 has a TBW of 2000.

Highlights – The best consumer SSDs for cache

Just like the SATA SSD cache recommendations, you get what you pay for.

The WD Red SN700 has the highest TBW on the list, which is perhaps no surprise considering it is designed for high-intensity NAS environments. It is also cheaper and better specced all round compared to the next best, the Seagate IronWolf 510.

WD Red SN700 500GB NVMe SSD for NAS devices, with robust...
  • Robust system responsiveness and exceptional I/O...
  • Tackle NAS workloads with exceptional reliability...
  • Tame tough projects like virtualisation and...
  • Perfect for multitasking applications with...

The Sabrent Rocket (SB-ROCKET-512) is particularily tempting. You technically only get a 1-year warranty, but if you register the drive, it is extended to 5. It then has a massive 850 TBW rating.

Sabrent 512GB Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2242 DRAM-less Low Power...
  • M.2 PCIe Gen3 x 4 Interface. PCIe 3.1 Compliant /...
  • DRAM-less Low Power Consumption. Power Management...
  • Supports SMART and TRIM commands. Supports ONFi...
  • Advanced Wear Leveling, Bad Block Management, and...

The Seagate FireCuda 510 isn't far behind, with a 650 TBW, the same read/write speeds but better IOPs.

Sale
Seagate FireCuda 530, 500GB, Internal SSD, M.2 PCIe Gen4 ×4...
  • Speed reigns — Seagate’s FireCuda 530...
  • Exhilarating performance up to 7,300 MB/s —...
  • Our fastest FireCuda SSD ever, built for the...
  • The FireCuda 530 is compatible with PS5 consoles...

The Synology SNV3510 is an interesting option. At 400GB, you might argue it shouldn't be on the list, but I believe this is due to overprovisioning. It obviously be a perfect fit for any Synology NAS, but on paper, it doesn't offer the same bang for your buck as other drives.

Synology M.2 22110 NVMe SSD SNV3510 400GB (SNV3510-400G)
  • Up to 400,000/70,000 sustained 4K random...
  • Suitable for intensive caching workloads at up to...
  • End-to-end data protection ensures data integrity
  • Actionable insight helps make optimal use of...

I'd advise several of the drives be avoided for caching purposes. Anything with less than 3 years or 150 TBW is probably not worth the trouble, they will be good in a PC for general use, not a NAS.

SATA SSDs Comparison Table

SSD500GB Price
£
Read/WriteIOPSEndurance
TBW
WarrantyPCIe GenMemoryDRAM
AORUS RGB 71.993480MB/s
2000MB/s
360k/440k800TBW5PCIe Gen33D TLC 512MB
CORSAIR MP510b62 3480MB/s
2000MB/s
120k/490k 360TBWPCIe Gen33D TLC Yes
Crucial P247.992300MB/s
940MB/s
95k/215k150TBW5PCIe Gen3TLC/QLCNo
GIGABYTE NVMe SSD46.991700MB/s
1550MB/s
430k/295k 1PCIe Gen33D TLC No
Intel 660p 54.781500MB/s
1000MB/s
90k/220k100 TBW3PCIe Gen3QLC Yes
Intel 670p49.493100MB/s
1600MB/s
220k/170k 185 TBW5PCIe Gen3QLC Yes
Kingston KC2000 59.993000MB/s
2000MB/s
350k/250k300 TBW3PCIe Gen33D TLC Yes
Kingston KC3000957,000MB/s
3900MB/s
450k/900k400TBW5PCIe Gen43D TLC Yes
Sabrent Rocket 66.983400MB/s
2000MB/s
357k/456k850 TB1PCIe Gen33D TLC Yes
Sabrent Rocket Q 59.992000MB/s
1000MB/s
95k/250k120TBW1PCIe Gen3QLC Yes
Samsung 970 EVO 71.993400MB/s
2300MB/s
370k/450k 300 TBW5PCIe Gen33D TLC Yes
Samsung 970 EVO PLUS74.393500MB/s
3200MB/s
480k/550k 300 TBW5PCIe Gen33D TLC Yes
Samsung 970 PRO125.483500MB/s
2300MB/s
370k/500k600 TBW5PCIe Gen3MLCYes
Samsung 98055.393100 MB/s
2600 MB/s
400l/470k300TBW5PCIe Gen33D TLC Yes
Seagate BarraCuda Q553.992300MB/s
900MB/s
119 TBW2PCIe Gen33D TLC Yes
Seagate FireCuda 51058.993450MB/s
2500MB/s
420k/600k650 TBW5PCIe Gen33D TLC Yes
Seagate IronWolf 510105.98 2650MB/s
600MB/s
193k/20k875 TBW5PCIe Gen33D TLC Yes
WD Blue SN57052.993500MB/s
2300MB/s
360k/390k300 TBW5PCIe Gen33D TLC No
WD Green SN35045.982400MB/s
1650MB/s
250k/170k 60 TBW2PCIe Gen33D TLC No
WD Red SN70081.493430MB/s
2600MB/s
420k/380k1,000 TBW5PCIe Gen33D TLC Yes
Synology SNV3400-400G1403,000 MB/s
750 MB/s
225k/45k491 TBW5

Which NAS enclosures can use M.2 NVMe SSD cache drives

Synology

All with 2x NVMe M.2 drive slots

  • DiskStation DS720+ – 2 bays, Intel Celeron J4125, 2GB RAM, 2x1GbE
  • DiskStation DS420+ – 4 bays, Intel Celeron J4025, 2 GB DDR4, 2x1GbE
  • DiskStation DS920+ – 4 bays, Intel Celeron J4125, 4GB DDR4, 2x1GbE
  • DiskStation DS1520+ – 5 bays, Intel Celeron J4125, 8GB DDR4, 4x 1GbE
  • DiskStation DS1821+ – 8 bays, AMD Ryzen V1500B, 4 GB DDR4 ECC, 4x1GbE + PCIe Expansion
  • DiskStation DS1621xs+ – 6 bays, Intel Xeon D-1527, 8 GB DDR4 ECC, 2x1GbE, 1x10GbE, + PCIe Expansion
  • DiskStation DS2419+II – 12 bays, Intel Atom C3538, 4 GB DDR4 non-ECC, 4x1GbE, + PCIe Expansion
  • DiskStation DS3617xsII – 12 bays, Intel Xeon D-1527, 16 GB DDR4 ECC, 4x1GbE + PCIe Expansion
  • DiskStation DS3622xs+ – 12 bays, Intel Xeon D-1531, 16 GB DDR4 ECC, 2x1GbE, 2x10GbE + PCIe Expansion

Terramaster

The rackmount options have PCIe expansion slots which can then be used to add in a M.2 NVMe card. It is just the new T9-423 with a dedicated single M.2 slot.

  • TerraMaster T9-423 – 9 bay, Intel Celeron N5105/N5095, 8GB DDR4, 2×2.5GbE + PCIe Expansion

QNAP

  • TS-h686 – 4+2 bays – Intel Xeon D-1602
  • TVS-672X
  • TVS-872X
  • TS-873A
  • TS-673A
  • TS-473A

Last update on 2022-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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