Nytro SSDs with PCIe 4.0: Seagate uses fast X1 complete solution from Phison

Seagate and Phison have often cooperated. This is also the case with the new enterprise SSDs from the Seagate Nytro 5350 and 5550 series. The 2.5-inch SSDs with U.2/U.3 are based on the Phison X1 SSD platform with PCIe 4.0 that was presented at the same time. This promises a lot of performance and high efficiency.

Phison’s turnkey X1 SSD

The controller manufacturer Phison is best known for its client SSD platforms. But the company also wants to play in the enterprise segment and has now presented the new “X1 SSD” platform, which other manufacturers can use for their own products against payment. The first customer and at the same time development partner is Seagate with new enterprise SSDs from the Nytro family.

The X1 platform uses Phison’s E20 controller (PS5020-E20), for which there were several hints beforehand. Phison now only speaks of the “X1 SSD Solution” and only mentions the actual controller name in passing.

Key data on the Phison X1 SSD platform (Image: Phison)

According to Phison, two Arm R5 cores and “dozens” of small co-processors are used. The latter should ensure high energy efficiency. The interface is PCIe 4.0 x4 in a dual-port design. In the 2.5-inch format with a height of 7 mm or 15 mm, the U.3 connection is used and 128-layer 3D-NAND with 3 bits per cell (TLC) is selected as the flash memory. We are talking about “eTLC”, which means selected enterprise-class TLC-NAND.

At its peak, this platform is said to deliver high transfer rates of up to 7,400/7,200 MB/s in sequential read/write and thus use almost the practical limit of the interface. The 1,750,000 IOPS that are possible at the top when reading 4K data randomly are particularly high for a PCIe 4.0 SSD. Up to 470,000 IOPS are listed in writing.

Phison draws a comparison and boasts that it is faster than competitors like the Samsung PM1733, the Kioxia CM6, the SK Hynix PE8010 or the Intel P5510 in both sequential and random transfers. The advantage is particularly large in sequential writing. Only independent tests will show how much of it remains in practice.

Phison X1: performance comparison according to the manufacturer
Phison X1: Performance comparison according to the manufacturer (Picture: Phison)

It should also be noted, however, that Phison is making a comparison here with models that have mostly been on the market for a few years. For example, the platform couldn’t compete with a brand new Kioxia CM7 with 14 GB/s via PCIe 5.0.

Phison X1: Power consumption advantages according to the manufacturer
Phison X1: advantages in terms of power consumption according to the manufacturer (Picture: Phison)

With the X1 SSD platform, Phison also sees itself ahead of the competition in terms of power consumption and thus in combination with the performance per watt. The SSDs are said to need 6.5 watts when idling, 13.5 watts for random reading and 17.9 watts for random writing. The product pages and the data sheet (PDF) provide further details.

Seagate Nytro 5350/5550 use Phison X1

Not too many words have to be said about the new Seagate SSDs of the Nytro 5350 and Nytro 5550 series, as they use the platform described above with a different logo.

The 5350 series is designed for read-intensive, write-light workloads (1 DWPD), while the 5550 series is designed for mixed workloads (3 DWPD). The range goes from 1.92 TB to 7.68 TB for the 5350 series and from 1.6 TB to 6.4 TB for the 5550 series with more spare storage at the expense of less usable capacity.

The top models with 15.36 TB and 12.8 TB that have also been announced are not yet included in the data sheets (PDF). The smaller models should be available for business customers this month. Prices were not communicated.

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