Never heard of Nextorage? Join the club. It's an upstart brand but born of technological aristocracy. Born in 2019, Nextorage was created by Sony with a very specific remit, to create SSDs for the PlayStation series of games consoles.
That original plan has already shifted dramatically. In 2022, Phison took a controlling stake in Nextorage. Phison, of course, is best known for its SSD controller chips as used by all manner of SSD brands from Sabrent to Corsair and Kingston to Seagate.
Anyway, the net result is that Nextorage is now Phison's creature and this Nextorage NEM-PA 2TB SSD unsurprisingly runs the E18 controller, Phison's top-spec PCIe Gen 4 chip. It's the very same chip we've seen in numerous high-performance Gen 4 SSDs, including the PNY XLR8 CS3140 (opens in new tab), Seagate Firecuda 530 (opens in new tab), Corsair MP600 Pro XT, Sabrent Rocket 4.0 Plus (opens in new tab) and many more.
Indeed, this is a well specified drive all round. Along with the Phison E18 chip running over a quad-lane PCIe 4.0 interface, there's 2TB of quality TLC NAND memory and 2GB of DDR4 cache. All told, the hardware makes for very competitive looking claimed performance that's very much in line with other Phison E18-powered drives.
Form factor: M.2 2280
Controller: Phison E18
Memory type: TLC NAND
Interface: PCIe 4.0 x4
Rated performance: 7,300MB/s read, 6,900MB/s write
DRAM Cache: 2GB DDR4
Random IOPS: 1M read, 1M write
Write endurance 1,400 TBW
Warranty: 5 years
Price: $184 (opens in new tab)
We're talking 7,300MB/s for reads and 6,900MB/s for this 2TB model, and a million IOPS in both directions. It is worth noting that some of the PCIe 4.0 competition using other controller chips do offer superior on-paper IOPS performance, including the troubled Samsung 990 Pro (opens in new tab) and SK Hynix P41 (opens in new tab). And it's arguably IOPS performance rather than peak sequential throughput that's more important in terms of that subjective sense of SSD responsiveness.
Elsewhere, you get rated write endurance of 1,400TB, which is more than any remotely normal usage pattern is going to ever require. The drive is also backed by a full five-year warranty. So, again, it's up there with the big boys in all key areas—specs, performance, and endurance.
In some ways, this drive even has the edge. Nextorage says that fully one third of the NAND flash can be used in high-speed SLC cache mode. In our testing, we found that performance was sustained for roughly 625GB of writes before transfer speeds dropped marginally. At around the 800GB mark, performance fell more significantly.
That's a lot of sustained performance. By way of comparison, Samsung's 990 Pro only managed 230GB of writes at peak performance. Speaking of peak performance, tested sequential speeds clock in at 7,327MB/s reads and 6,867 writes. That's as good as any PCIe Gen 4 drive is going to get. It'll only be the arrival of PCIe Gen 5 drives that sees a meaningful increase on those kinds of sequential numbers.
IOPS and random access performance aren't so closely tied to PCIe throughput, of course, but here the Nextorage NEM-PA 2TB doesn't really separate itself from the SSD masses, PCIe Gen 4 or otherwise. It notches up 4K single queue depth read speeds of 83MB/s and 252MB/s of writes. Those are competitive figures compared to other high performance Gen 4 drives, but equally nothing at all special.
What is a bit special is the drive's thermal performance. Fitted out with a big, fat heatsink, it hit a peak temperature under heavy load of just 39 degrees Celsius, far, far lower than the 59 degrees of the Samsung 990 Pro and the 71 degrees peak of the SK Hynix Platinum P41. Ouch.
That super thermal performance is very likely a factor of the drive's Sony origins. The tight confines of a modern console put thermal performance at a premium. So, cool running is essential for that application.
Slightly oddly, the NEM-PA is a little off the pace in PCMark 10's bandwidth and latency benchmarks. But it all makes for a darn impressive debut for a new brand on the SSD scene, even if its innards are familiar and its provenance impeccable. It's even more appealing the very competitive price (opens in new tab) at which you can currently grab these new Nextorage drives, which undercuts firm favourites like the WD Black SN850X.