Monday, November 3rd 2014

Sage Microelectronics Announces SSD Controller with Support for 5 TB Flash

A new data storage solutions company focusing on Solid State Disk (SSD) technology has revealed itself by announcing a new SSD controller IC that enables SSDs with densities up to 5 Terabytes (TB). The company, Sage Microelectronics, is currently shipping in volume 2.5 TB SSD units on a single PCB with a standard 2.5" form-factor.

Sage Micro's new technology enables a single SSD controller IC to address up to 5TB of flash memory (on an array of 10 X 4 X 128GB eMMC BGA modules), achieving an industry first in high density and small form factor. The Sage S681 device, currently in mass production, employs a SATA II interface to drive 10 channels of SD, MMC or eMMC flash memory cards, with each channel supporting up to 512GB of flash memory.

"Until now, cost-competitive SSD densities were limited to 1 TB by the maximum capacity of flash memory chips, and by the fan-out limitations imposed on flash controllers by the high number of interface traces required for each memory device," explained Dr. Jerome Luo, founder and President of Sage Microelectronics. "Sage decided to leverage the highly competitive pricing of flash memory cards-such as eMMCs-to develop an SSD controller that can effectively address up to 5TB of data."

eMMC Enables Higher Density, Eases Design & Inventory Management
By offloading the management and high pinout interface of individual flash memory chips to the flash controller IC embedded in each flash memory card, the new Sage S681 can effectively manage ten memory cards, increasing SSD capacity ten-fold.

Replacing flash memory chips with flash memory cards does not increase per-byte cost for the Sage SSD controller architecture, because the market has driven flash controller IC pricing to become highly commoditized. This results in flash memory cards being price competitive with the underlying cost of the component flash memory chips themselves. The use of JEDEC-compliant memory cards instead of discrete flash ICs also enables SSD manufacturers to mix-and-match inventory, further reducing testing cost, inventory management complexity and firmware version control.

Sage developed a propriety multi-core architecture for its SSD controller IC. Unlike single core SSD controllers from other vendors, the Sage S681 is built on a multi-core processor that devotes a single concise RISC CPU core to SATA bus management, plus additional cores to handle two memory card channel interfaces each. This enables clear firmware partitioning between the SATA interface and memory card interface, simplifying software upgrades, testing and verification.

The Sage S68X family of SSD controllers includes three devices: the S681 supports 10 memory channels, the S682 supports 5 memory channels, and the S685 support 4 memory channels. All three devices are currently in mass production, and all are priced under USD 5.00, depending on volume.

The S681 is available in a BGA 207 package.

The S682 is available in a LQFP 128 package.

The S685 is available in a QFN 88 package.

Sage Micro also offers a portfolio of low-density SATA II SSD flash controller solutions.

Experienced Team of Storage Innovators Behind New Venture
Sage Microelectronics was formed by leading technologists with corporate experience in flash memory and controller design. The company is led by President Jianjun (Jerome) Luo, PhD., who also serves as Director of the prestigious Micro Electronics Research Institute (MERI) at Hangzhou Dianzi University, China.

The company's founding team includes senior executives that co-founded storage technology developer Baleen Systems, and held senior executive and technology positions at Synopsis, IBM, Maxtor, Oak Technologies and other Silicon Valley companies. With more than 60 patents granted between them, Sage Micro's core team has decades of experience in innovative storage technology development.

The company is financially backed by China-based venture capital and corporate investment from the Cybernaut Investment Fund, Enjoyor Ltd. and Shenzhen Jinchang Asset Management Co.
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10 Comments on Sage Microelectronics Announces SSD Controller with Support for 5 TB Flash

#2
Maban
Wait what? This uses SD/MMC/eMMC interfaces? So basically it's a giant RAID system comprised of SD cards. So, what I make of it is that this has the potential to be fairly cheap but also potentially quite slow (latency especially) compared to traditional SSDs.
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#3
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
bubbleawsome
SATA II? No thanks.
Per channel, with 10 channels? That's 2.5GB/s if it scales. Not sure what you're complaining about here, buddy.
Posted on Reply
#4
Maban
Aquinus
Per channel, with 10 channels? That's 2.5GB/s if it scales. Not sure what you're complaining about here, buddy.
The device as a whole uses SATA II and the controller (to controller) to NAND interface is SD/MMC/eMMC. 260R/225W MB/s for the 10-channel.



http://www.sage-micro.com/chip-5.html
Posted on Reply
#5
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
Ah yes, I misread that. Keep in mind you're talking about SD cards, MMC cards, and eMMC modules though. You're right though but I'm not convinced that SATA 6GB would be much better for those kinds of flash storage interfaces on the opposite side of the S681.
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#6
hojnikb
Wow, eMMC interface (instead of toggleddr or onfi) and only sataII ?
Talk about brute force approach on high adressable capacity.

This makes zero sense. In essence, this is a raid0 times 10 eMMC host controllers packaged into single die. So pretty much as slow as a snail. I dont think someone is gonna use this on a 5TB ssd. Flash is just too expensive at that capacity, so you're no longer in a consumer segment and shaving 10-20$ bucks on a device, that would cost 100 times more is pretty idiotic, especially given performance hit.

Wake me up, when cheap, native sataIII/pci-e solitions, that can adress more than 1TB come out. That would be interesting.
Posted on Reply
#7
Disparia
My guess would be that Sage sees companies overproducing and is providing these controllers as a way to utilize stock.
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#8
ypsylon
I don't get it. What's the point?

If it was classic HDD then everybody would jump on this because there is no difference between SATA 3 and 6 unless implemented in highly advanced RAID configurations.

But for SSD - not big fan of those by any stretch - today manufacturing SATA 3 SSD in insane capacities ... give me a break. It's as ground breaking as steam-powered bicycle!

It will cost as much as small banana republic and nobody in the right frame of mind would buy it....
Posted on Reply
#9
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
ypsylon
I don't get it. What's the point?

If it was classic HDD then everybody would jump on this because there is no difference between SATA 3 and 6 unless implemented in highly advanced RAID configurations.

But for SSD - not big fan of those by any stretch - today manufacturing SATA 3 SSD in insane capacities ... give me a break. It's as ground breaking as steam-powered bicycle!

It will cost as much as small banana republic and nobody in the right frame of mind would buy it....
Sure, if you're using real SSDs with a SATA interface. Thinks like SD cards and eMMC isn't as fast as SATA6 SSDs. Also as was mentioned before, this could just be a way of using up stock.
Posted on Reply
#10
Prima.Vera
This will have horrible latencies, common.
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