Wednesday, October 21st 2020

Phison Readies Next-Gen E18 SSD Controller, Upward of 7.38 GB/s Sequential Transfers for Client Segment

Phison was first to market with a PCI-Express gen 4.0 client-segment NVMe SSD controller, the E16 series, which let it bag design wins with several DIY gaming PC SSD manufacturers. Not to be left behind by PCIe gen 4.0 controllers by its competitors, such as SMI, Marvell, Samsung, etc., offering higher performance than the E16, the company is designing a newer generation controller for high-performance client-segment SSDs, under the E18 family. TweakTown has access to early performance figures of a drive in production with this controller. The CrystalDiskMark screenshot shows the drive's sequential transfer rates to be 7381.21 MB/s reads, and 7025.86 MB/s sequential writes, making the E18 among the fastest PCIe gen 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD controllers known.
Source: Tweaktown
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28 Comments on Phison Readies Next-Gen E18 SSD Controller, Upward of 7.38 GB/s Sequential Transfers for Client Segment

#1
TheLostSwede
Things are starting to look really interesting when it comes to some actual gains in 4K performance with new SSD controllers.
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#2
Deeveo
With some competition coming on these PCIE4 drives, maybe we start seeing these coming down on price points. Would love to see more 2/4TB drives at decent perices in M.2 form factor.
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#3
bug
TheLostSwede
Things are starting to look really interesting when it comes to some actual gains in 4K performance with new SSD controllers.
I came here wondering about those 77MB/s. Would that hold if the drive is inserted in a PCIe3 slot? Because it's not about bandwidth, after all.
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#4
TheLostSwede
bug
I came here wondering about those 77MB/s. Would that hold if the drive is inserted in a PCIe3 slot? Because it's not about bandwidth, after all.
I guess we're going to have to wait for reviews, but it's possible, as that should have more to do with the controller than the interface, as you say-
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#5
TumbleGeorge
Read speed only 1/4 from write speed rnd4k q1t1... This is a difference! :)
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#7
okbuddy
TheLostSwede
I guess we're going to have to wait for reviews, but it's possible, as that should have more to do with the controller than the interface, as you say-
p4800x can do 200mb 4k single thread
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#8
Makaveli
Nice update to the numbers I get on my E16 controller based drive I may have to upgrade :)

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#9
bug
okbuddy
p4800x can do 200mb 4k single thread
Yes, that's why I'd like Optane to happen. But even Intel has stopped hyping Optane, so we can rest easy for a few more years.
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#10
TumbleGeorge
bug
Yes, that's why I'd like Optane to happen. But even Intel has stopped hyping Optane, so we can rest easy for a few more years.
Hmm? Fot next year 2021 I read somewhere info for planned 144 layer layers flash nand chips...and for Optane Gen 2 too? Few years mean more than 2 if I'm not wrong?
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#11
bug
TumbleGeorge
Hmm? Fot next year 2021 I read somewhere info for planned 144 layer layers flash nand chips...and for Optane Gen 2 too? Few years mean more than 2 if I'm not wrong?
I can also dig up articles at will. It's finished products we're missing.
And I think gen 2 Optane is the current products, gen 1 were some sort of cache drives. Flash based storage is going nowhere fast, but Optane has a lot of potential.
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#12
Tomorrow
Im guessing Intel is waiting to release it's gen4 capable CPU's before introducing 2nd gen Optane (Alder Stream).
So that means best case March 2021. Possibly later if they want to roll that out with their server products instead (technically Ice Lake but my guess that will be scrapped so Sapphire Rapids at 2022).

Honestly i think Micron could beat them to market easily but their X100 is still vaporware too.
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#13
TheDeeGee
Yet at such speeds a game loads only 1 second faster than a traditional 550 r/w SSD.
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#14
TheLostSwede
TheDeeGee
Yet at such speeds a game loads only 1 second faster than a traditional 550 r/w SSD.
You got proof of that? Or you just wanted to add some alternative facts to this thread?

Yes, current PCIe 4.0 drives aren't a lot faster, but it's more than a second for a lot of games, even with current drives. These new controllers should improve upon this.
Keep in mind that a lot of this comes down to how well things are optimised to load from a drive as well, which doesn't seem to be a priority for game developers.
On top of that, a lot of this comes back to the weakness of NAND flash, it would be possible to do a much faster drive if you went wide enough, but 32 channels of NAND flash in a consumer drive is unlikely to happen, as no-one is going to be willing to pay $500 for a 500GB SSD.


Posted on Reply
#15
Tomorrow


I made a quick table of current Gen4 x4 controllers with DRAM. Their capacities, release dates and reported speeds and products based on these etc.
Please dont blame me for IOPS numbers. Only Samsung reports random QD1 numbers. Others are QD32.
Also. This is a list of Gen4 controllers. So flash type is not specified tho Micron and Intel options here are 3D Xpoint instead of NAND.

Based on this it seems E18 is leading the pack. Obviously we need independent reviews of products based on E18 to confirm that. SM 2264 is the runner up followed by IG5236. Others are around the 5GB/s mark. Most seem to be using TSMC's 12nm process with Samsung using their own 8nm and E16 based on older 28nm.
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#16
Makaveli
TheLostSwede
You got proof of that? Or you just wanted to add some alternative facts to this thread?

Yes, current PCIe 4.0 drives aren't a lot faster, but it's more than a second for a lot of games, even with current drives. These new controllers should improve upon this.
Keep in mind that a lot of this comes down to how well things are optimised to load from a drive as well, which doesn't seem to be a priority for game developers.
On top of that, a lot of this comes back to the weakness of NAND flash, it would be possible to do a much faster drive if you went wide enough, but 32 channels of NAND flash in a consumer drive is unlikely to happen, as no-one is going to be willing to pay $500 for a 500GB SSD.



I think we will see greater gains once game dev's start using Direct I/O which the new consoles have and MS is going to add to windows sometime next year.
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#17
TheLostSwede
Makaveli
I think we will see greater gains once game dev's start using Direct I/O which the new consoles have and MS is going to add to windows sometime next year.
Fingers crossed. It's sorely needed for some games, although in others it's not as if there's noticeable load times with any half decent SSD these days.
Tomorrow


I made a quick table of current Gen4 x4 controllers with DRAM. Their capacities, release dates and reported speeds and products based on these etc.
Please dont blame me for IOPS numbers. Only Samsung reports random QD1 numbers. Others are QD32.
Also. This is a list of Gen4 controllers. So flash type is not specified tho Micron and Intel options here are 3D Xpoint instead of NAND.

Based on this it seems E18 is leading the pack. Obviously we need independent reviews of products based on E18 to confirm that. SM 2264 is the runner up followed by IG5236. Others are around the 5GB/s mark. Most seem to be using TSMC's 12nm process with Samsung using their own 8nm and E16 based on older 28nm.
You're missing a few companies in that list, most obviously Realtek, although I doubt they'll be a performance contender. As Intel sold it's SSD business to SK Hynix, I doubt we'll see a Gen 4 controller from them.
Posted on Reply
#18
Tomorrow
TheLostSwede
Fingers crossed. It's sorely needed for some games, although in others it's not as if there's noticeable load times with any half decent SSD these days.


You're missing a few companies in that list, most obviously Realtek, although I doubt they'll be a performance contender. As Intel sold it's SSD business to SK Hynix, I doubt we'll see a Gen 4 controller from them.
Yep i missed Realtek. Im guessing they are catering to the low end like Marvell. Intel only sold it's NAND business to SK Hynix. They are still developing 3D Xpoint going forward and obviously that needs it's own Gen4 controller. That's why they're on the list.
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#19
TheLostSwede
Tomorrow
Yep i missed Realtek. Im guessing they are catering to the low end like Marvell. Intel only sold it's NAND business to SK Hynix. They are still developing 3D Xpoint going forward and obviously that needs it's own Gen4 controller. That's why they're on the list.
Sure, but Xpoint isn't NAND, so technically a slightly different category.
Fadu (Korean company) also has a 4.0 controller coming, but it looks pretty unimpressive too
www.flashmemorysummit.com/Proceedings2019/08-08-Thursday/20190808_Keynote12_FADU_Lee.pdf
Posted on Reply
#20
Tomorrow
TheLostSwede
Sure, but Xpoint isn't NAND, so technically a slightly different category.
Fadu (Korean company) also has a 4.0 controller coming, but it looks pretty unimpressive too
www.flashmemorysummit.com/Proceedings2019/08-08 Thursday/20190808_Keynote12_FADU_Lee.pdf
Like i said in my original statement. This table is about Gen4 controllers. Not what type of flash it uses.
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#21
TheLostSwede
Tomorrow
Like i said in my original statement. This table is about Gen4 controllers. Not what type of flash it uses.
Sure, but even so, I'm not sure Xpoint is in the same category, as it's a different type of storage device, especially considering the cost difference.
Fixed the link above.
Not sure if these guys are working on a Gen 4 controller or not (JMicron spinoff) www.maxiotek.com/
Oh and you're missing Seagate.
SK Hynix has only announced enterprise solutions so far, at least that I've seen.
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#22
lynx29
samsung 980 Pro 4kq1t1 score regularly hits 90 instead of this 77. not a huge deal, but it is the most important score imo
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#23
Makaveli
lynx29
samsung 980 Pro 4kq1t1 score regularly hits 90 instead of this 77. not a huge deal, but it is the most important score imo
That samsung drive will also have 1/3 the endurance which would matter more to me than that metric.
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#24
lynx29
Makaveli
That samsung drive will also have 1/3 the endurance which would matter more to me than that metric.
that remains to be seen, we won't know TBW until release of the sabrent rocket plus
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#25
BluesFanUK
Who cares, I want bigger capacity at a more affordable price, not highest speed possible.
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