PC Gear Lab

5 Best SSD for NAS in 2020

With external hard drives, you get to store your computer’s files on a separate device that will allow you to not only archive them but also to transfer and access them from other computers.

With a NAS (Network-Attached Storage) device, you get all this with the added benefit of being able to access your files over the internet.

This eliminates the need to carry your hard drives around when traveling as the files can be accessed from one central location anywhere in the globe.

To make this process seamless, you’ll need the best SSD for NAS.

Comparison of Top SSD for NAS

ProductTypeConnectivityTransfer
Speed
Max
Size
Check
Price
Seagate
IronWolf 110
2.5"
SSD
SATA560
MB/s
4TB
Buy at
Amazon.com 
Seagate
IronWolf 510
NVME
SSD
M.2
PCIe
3150
MB/s
2TB
Buy at
Amazon.com
WD Red
SA500
2.5"
SSD
SATA560
MB/s
4TB
Buy at
Amazon.com
WD Blue
WDS500
2.5"
SSD
SATA560
MB/s
4TB
Buy at
Amazon.com
SAMSUNG
MZ-V7S1T0B/AM
NVMe
SSD
M.2
PCIe
3500
MB/s
2TB
Buy at
Amazon.com 

List of Best SSD for NAS in 2020

The following SSD drives are highly recommended for NAS solutions.

  1. Seagate IronWolf 110 – Recommended SSD for NAS
  2. Seagate IronWolf 510 – Ultrafast and Reliable M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD for NAS
  3. WD Red SA500 – Highly Affordable NAS SSD
  4. WD Blue – High Compatibility and Durability SSD
  5. Samsung SSD 860 EVO – 2.5” SSD With VNAND Technology

1. Seagate IronWolf 110 – Recommended SSD for NAS

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Seagate IronWolf 110

A dedicated NAS SATA SSD with a reasonably good performance and transfer speeds.

Seagate is known for making good and reliable hard drives and the IronWolf 110 is no different. It’s a SATA SSD that comes with varying storage sized for users of different needs.

Being a NAS SSD it comes optimized for heavy workload for as much as 300 TB / year user workload per year. It comes with other goodies such as 3 years Rescue Data Recovery service, and factory  optimized for Agilerray firmware.

You get great performance which is expected since it’s an SSD. In that regard, your transfer speeds can approach up to 560 MB/s in real-world usage.

This is great if you’re moving lots of files around and can come in handy for concurrent connections where each user s streaming a lot of data from the drive. The bandwidth is large enough to support this.

It’s optimized for fast performance and durability which is great for multi-user access in moderately demanding environments. As such, users in small offices or home offices will get a unit that performs well and lasts long.

It’s great for creatives who find themselves generating large volumes of files that need to be easy to access. This makes it the best SSD for NAS becomes it offers performance, reliability as well as a good price point affordable for many.

Ofcourse, this is certainly not the fastest SSD around. Being an SATA SSD, it is naturally slower than the much faster NVMe SSDs.

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2. Seagate IronWolf 510 – Ultrafast and Reliable M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD for NAS

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Seagate IronWolf 510

A PCIe NVME SSD built specifically for NAS. 3150MB/s transfer.

While SATA SSDs perform well, NVMe SSDs offer much greater performance thanks to not having the limitations of SATA III.

This allows NAS SSDs such as the IronWolf 510 from Seagate to provide transfer speeds of about 3150MB/s.

Because these transfer speeds can be greatly affected by your connection speed, especially in remote parts of the world, you may find the transfer speeds not reaching that big a value.

However, the data rates allow you to use the hard drive as a storage cache to give your NAS better performance.

This means that you can couple the SSD with regular HDDs and use the speed of SSD to cache some regularly accessed files from the HDDs on the SSD, providing a performance boost for the entire system.

The drive is very reliable and has a high endurance rating. You get a 1.8 Million hours Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF).

Before getting this, you’ll need to ensure you have the right M.2 slot on your NAS system or choose to get an appropriate adapter. You must note that adapter must be installed on PCIe slots to achive the maximum speeds.

Performance-wise, it’s the best SSD for NAS; price-wise, not so. Unfortunately fast performance comes at a high price.

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3. WD Red SA500 – Highly Affordable NAS SSD

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WD Red SA500

A highly affordable dedicated SATA SSD for NAS.

Hot data is a term used for the frequently accessed data on a drive. When pairing HDDs and SSDs on a NAS system, for better performance, caching your hot data in an SSD will boost speeds.

Unfortunately, NAS SSDs are generally expensive and a good singular TB can cost you as much as a NAS enclosure itself. That is where, this WD RED SATA NAS SSD comes in to play.

The WD Red has been built with affordability in mind. As such provides a great way to store frequently accessed files on the SSD for faster access at a cheap GB/dollar value..

This can be files you’re currently using for work or media that’s been accessed frequently. Nevertheless, fast access lets users work more seamlessly and reliably.

Having been built specifically for the NAS environment, the drive is capable of long-term 24/7 operation without facing any significant issues like lags.

For a NAS device that’s accessed simultaneously by multiple users, the drive grants performance optimizations and is capable of speeds of up to 560 MB/s.

With this, moving large volumes of files around will take very little time allowing users to maintain their ideal workflow.

This is the best SSD for NAS when you want to back your HDDs with a faster solution for disk caching.

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4. WD Blue – Affordable Generic SSD

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WD Blue

A generic SSD which can work great for low level NAS stations.

The WD Blue is a highly reliable 3D NAND SSD from Western Digital. This may not be a dedicated NAS SSD, but its affordability and its quality makes it a good option for those who are looking to save up the most.

This is a SATA SSD which features the 3D NAND cells. With 3D NAND, the memory cells are vertically stacked to increase storage density. As a result, you get higher capacity SSDs at a much lower cost per GB. You also get a more power-efficient unit thus making this the best SSD for NAS in terms of affordability.

Due to lower power consumption, you can run these SSDs in a multi-bay NAS unit at a much lower cost. This is great because the system typically runs 24/7.

Besides being cheap to run in the long run, this model offers some great reliability. You get a whopping 1.75 Million hours MTTF (Mean Time to Failure).

An additional rating of 500 TBW (TBs Written) is awarded to the drive as a sign of its endurance.

All these metrics go to show that the WD Blue SSD is a great unit for users who are looking for a reliable SSD for their NAS.

In terms of performance, you get speeds of 560MB/s for reads and writes have a sustained speed of about 530 MB/s.

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5. Samsung MZ-V7S1T0B – Affordable M.2 NVMe SSD

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Samsung MZ-V7S1T0B

A generic NVMe SSD with fast performance and fair price range.

Like the Seagate IronWolf 510 above, this is also a super fast NVMe SSD. however, this is much cheaper.

That is because this does not have the NAS centric features such as high TB / year user workload, power saving, data recovery services etc.

What it does offer is speed at a much lower price tag. This NVMe SSD can achieve speed of upto 3,500 MB/s making it good enough for multiple 4k streaming from the NAS storage.

Again M.2 NVMe SSDs require dedicated slots and most NAS systems and enclosure do not come with M.2 slots. In order to install this you will need to make sure your NAS system has the M.2 PCIe NOT M.2 SATA slot available.

In short, if you want a reasonably priced super fast storage, then this is the best SSD for NAS in our opinion.

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FAQ

How to Choose the Right NAS SSD?

Best NAS SSD
SSDs built for NAS are purpose built to last longer. Source: Seagate IronWolf 110

Users who want their data to be highly available with them wherever they go have a few options. Bring your data with you in an external hard drive, invest in a cloud service that will store your files, or switch to a more personal option.

With a NAS, you technically have a cloud instance that you control and administer yourself. As such you have absolute freedom to use it as you will with minimal recurring costs.

Also Read: Best SSD For Booth Drive

How NAS Works?

The main angle of a NAS system is that it lets you store all your files in a central location and as long as you have a good internet connection, you can access the files from anywhere in the world.

This negates the need to have your hard drive when traveling and makes it very convenient especially for people who need access to large file storage drives on-demand from anywhere.

The devices function like computers in that they can connect to a network and have some processing capabilities. You also get the added advantage of security and encryption of files during transfers with some.

Also Read: SSD vs HDD for NAS

Benefits of NAS

A NAS system is a great choice for users for both work and play. It can be used at the office to store mission-critical documents and files that need to be accessed from anywhere.

Furthermore, because they have very little configuration overhead, users can get one and start using it right off at the workplace without needing to invest in skilled IT staff, therefore, saving operating costs.

It’s also cheaper to operate a NAS system than pay for a cloud host provider. This is especially true when you have a couple of terabytes of data that need to be accessed from an online solution.

With a cloud host, you’ll need to pay high recurring fees, but with the NAS you may only need to pay a one-off price and no subscription fees thereafter.

The SSD

The SSD you get for your NAS will play a huge role in your data access. Of course, the final determiner will be your network speed.

However, getting a fast drive will reduce some of the bottlenecks you will get during transfers, especially if you are accessing the files on-site, like from the same room with the drive.

Since it’ll be operating continuously over extended periods, you’ll need a durable drive that can take the workload.

SSD Type

nvme ssd m.2
A Typical NVME SSD with speeds upto 3500 MB/s. Source: Samsung 970 EVO Plus

The type of SSD drive you get matters a lot in your overall setup as well.

There are basically two types of SSDs: SATA and NVME.

SATA SSDs utilize the SATA 3 protocol and have a max theoretical speeds of 6 Gbps or 750 MB/s. NVME SSDs, on the other hand, use the PCIe protocol and can easily achieve transfer speeds of 3000 MB/s.

The most common type of SSD found in NAS servers is the SATA SSD. These are cheap, and can easily be inserted into the myriad of SATA ports a motherboard offers.

All you need to do is to find a motherboard that has plenty of SATA ports in order to build a large scale SSD NAS for yourself.

With NVME SSD, however, things get a bit more complicated.

If you are building a DIY NAS setup, you will first need a motherboard that has built in M.2 slots that support NVME. Usually this ranges in the range of 1-3.

If 3 NVME slots are not sufficient, then you will need to look for a motherboard with PCIe slot. An NVME SSD utilizes X4 PCIe v3.0 slots.

Therefore a single PCIe X16 slot can handle four NVME drives.

best ssd for NAS
ASUS Hyper M.2, a typical X16 expansion slot for 4 NVME SSDs.

Then you will need to consider investing in an expansion card for the PCIe slot where you will insert the NVME drives.

Last but not least, you will need to make sure that your network can handle such high speed drives since if your network is slow, no matter how fast the drives are, your speed will be bottlenecked by the network speed.

In our opinion, if you are building a large scale SSD NAS, SATA is the way to go. Otherwise, you will be spending way too much just to get all the components right.

Final Words

Here we looked at some of the best SSD for NAS from both the SATA and NVME types.

We also talked about the benefit of having a NAS and what kind of NAS SSD one should go for.

Generally speaking, most of the large hard drive brands have dedicated SSDs that are purpose built for NAS systems. They are built in order to last long and allow for prolonged hours of operation.

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