Tuesday, January 4th 2022

Phison Unveils E26, the Company's First PCIe Gen5 Controller for High-end Desktop Gaming

Phison Electronics Corp., a global leader in NAND flash controller integrated circuits and storage solutions, will showcase its lineup of next-generation gaming solutions for customers, partners, media and other interested parties during CES 2022, January 5-8 exclusively by private virtual demos. The new-class of solutions include the company's first PCIe Gen5 controller for high-end desktop gaming, a future high-performance Gen4 solution, and demonstration of the next-generation game workload coming soon to PCs.

Phison, the leader in gaming-optimized SSDs pushes the boundaries of performance. The company's solutions power seamless experiences for modern console, desktop/notebook and mobile gaming, which are delivered to consumers through an extensive and diverse group of partners.
Update Jan 4th: Added presentation slides, product images and closeups of the PCB designs.

Highlighted gaming products Phison will preview on the virtual demos include:

PS5026-E26 - Phison's First PCIe Gen5 SSD Architecture
The E26 SSD solution is the best-in-class combination of performance and low-power using Phison's unique architecture. E26 is a customizable SSD platform designed for PCIe Gen5 that will span enterprise and consumer markets. The company's first Gen5 controller will ship in multiple form factors and features with the ability to scale beyond 10 GB/s while meeting power requirements for all-day computing. Phison will show the E26 for the first time at CES 2022.
PS5021-E21T - Phison's New High-Performance PCIe Gen4 DRAM-less Solution
The E21T demonstration will show Phison's new DRAM-less architecture as the future leader in next-generation mobile gaming. The E21T, the successor to the E19T, and E21T BGA, the successor to the E13T, break throughput performance barriers using the Gen4 interface to sets new standards in the user experience.
PS5013-E13T - Phison's BGA for Mobile Gaming
Xiaomi chose Phison's E13T BGA SSD and its superior performance and efficiency for the Black Shark 4 gaming phone series. Xiaomi credits the E13T BGA for delivering a 69 percent increase in read and write performance showing that NVMe redefines mobile gaming. Phison will show the Xiaomi Black Shark 4 during CES 2022 in a first-person Zoom demonstration.
Below you'll find the full presentation deck that Phison was planning to show during their in-person CES briefings.

The "Next Generation Gaming Workload" is an interesting slide. It shows a synthetic test scenario that mimics what Phison expects we'll be seeing with Microsoft's DirectStorage (they were careful to not use that name). Games are expected to stream in large amounts of data from storage, continuously, while you play the game. They tested their own controller against other major competitors and found that these exhibit some spiking over the course of a multi-hour test, which could manifest in stuttering. At this time I'm not 100% convinced, we'll see if this will actually have any effect on the gameplay experience—not much is finalized yet at this stage of development.
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35 Comments on Phison Unveils E26, the Company's First PCIe Gen5 Controller for High-end Desktop Gaming

#1
ShurikN
What a load of PR BS.
PC gaming can barely utilize pcie 3.0 ssd speeds, let alone 5.0
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#2
Chris_Ramseyer
Phison Rep
ShurikNWhat a load of PR BS.
PC gaming can barely utilize pcie 3.0 ssd speeds, let alone 5.0
You may want to read up on what is coming to PC gaming in DirectX 12 Ultimate :)

The media will see the demo in a few days. I think your thoughts about PC gaming and storage will change then.
Posted on Reply
#3
ShurikN
We've been hearing about various dx ultimate features for years. Nothing is being used to any reasonable amount.
You'll have to excuse me for not believing the hype...
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#4
DeathtoGnomes
Chris_RamseyerYou may want to read up on what is coming to PC gaming in DirectX 12 Ultimate :)

The media will see the demo in a few days. I think your thoughts about PC gaming and storage will change then.
reference link? or is that a speculative carrot?
Posted on Reply
#5
Tek-Check
There is only a 2 second difference in load times between an entry-level SATA SSD and the absolute fastest PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive. That says it all.

So, any PCIe 5.0 NVMe drive might improve loading time for another second or two. Nothing significant to warranty the purchase of super expensive PCIe 5.0 NVMe drive. It's an artificial marketing push. Plus, there are no native M.2 PCIe 5.0 slots for next gen NVMe drives and no CPU supports it natively. Only very expensive Z690 motherboards have two PCIe 5.0 slots for GPUs, so theoretically GPU can go into one slot and run at x8 and PCIe 5.0 NVMe adapter could be installed into another one to run at x8 too. But this is not needed for loading games. A complete overkill for many years.

Here is a thorough review by Hardware Unboxed of general performance and loading times for games by SATA SSDs and NVMe SSDs. It says it all.
www.techspot.com/review/2116-storage-speed-game-loading/

It's simple. Those gamers who have never bought a SSD drive will hugely benefit from moving to an entry SATA SSD or entry level PCIe 3.0 NMVe SSD, for loading time. No need to spend hard earned money on massively expensive PCIe 5.0 NVMe drive.

Those who already have any SATA SSD as boot drive and storage for gaming, there is absolutely no reason to purchase a new speedy drive, as benefits will be negligible. Until games' engines are not optimised to better use PCIe SSD drives, there is no need to buy even PCIe 3.0 NVMe for loading games, let alone PCIe 5.0 NVMe drive.
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#6
AsRock
TPU addict
"Faster" load times so even less chance of reading the loading game tips hehe.
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#7
looniam
Chris_RamseyerYou may want to read up on what is coming to PC gaming in DirectX 12 Ultimate :)

The media will see the demo in a few days. I think your thoughts about PC gaming and storage will change then.
so let me get this straight: MS announced in sept of 2020 that directX will be released/available in 2021 and now 2022 there is a demo?

yeah, i ain't holding my breath. it sorta pisses me off to buy a motherboard w/DS in mind and the extra NVE slot is still useless. :banghead:
Posted on Reply
#8
konga
Chris_RamseyerYou may want to read up on what is coming to PC gaming in DirectX 12 Ultimate :)

The media will see the demo in a few days. I think your thoughts about PC gaming and storage will change then.
I get it, Direct Storage is going to change things. But it's hard to be excited for Gen 5 when SATA is still "good enough" for gaming. Look at the massive gulf in specs between the best SATA drives and the best PCIe Gen 4 drives, and then look at the very small real-world load-time reductions between those two. And Gen 5's supposed to be 2x faster again? No matter how magical Direct Storage ends up being, it's hard to imagine that it will be able to tap into the full potential of a Gen 5 drive. I look forward to seeing whatever demo is happening in a few days, but I think I'll wait until some TPU reviews drop before reevaluating my stance. :)
DeathtoGnomesreference link? or is that a speculative carrot?
Inside info, most likely. Look at the text under the user's name :p
Posted on Reply
#9
Chrispy_
Chris_RamseyerYou may want to read up on what is coming to PC gaming in DirectX 12 Ultimate :)

The media will see the demo in a few days. I think your thoughts about PC gaming and storage will change then.
Heya, good to see someone from Phison in here.

Presumably the E26 is an eight-channel controller and we're currently limited by the bandwidth of the NAND packages themselves. Micron and Samsung hide their BGA package datasheets behind an account login - are you able to give us an idea of the current channel bandwidth of a typical consumer-level NAND package? I'm just curious how much performance PCIe Gen4 is leaving on the table at the moment....
Posted on Reply
#10
looniam
kongaInside info, most likely. Look at the text under the user's name :p
since they didn't start with: "i'm sorry you . . ." only means they aren't script reading CS reps nothing more.
Posted on Reply
#11
Chrispy_
looniamso let me get this straight: MS announced in sept of 2020 that directX will be released/available in 2021 and now 2022 there is a demo?

yeah, i ain't holding my breath. it sorta pisses me off to buy a motherboard w/DS in mind and the extra NVE slot is still useless. :banghead:
DirectStorage is almost as overdue as the Intel Arc GPUs at this point. If there's nothing concrete soon it'll get branded vaporware.

Shiny new DirectStorage features are great but unless I misunderstand the technology it won't be retroactively applied to current games, it's something that needs to be incorporated by the developer. That means that once DirectStorage is officially released, there will be a delay for many developers to stick their neck out on an unproven new technology, and then there will be another delay until those developers release their first major game that takes advantage of DirectStorage.

Like Nvidia RTX, it will probably be 2-3 years after the launch until we see more than a handful of games with proper support. For the first year or two we'll just get a small handful of game devs adoptingt he tech as Nvidia assists/pays/cajoles them into including it to showcase the new feature. So, 3-4 years after being encouraged to buy hardware capable of DirectStorage, we'll get the first glimpse of it actually working. I don't know about you, but high-end buyers of PCIe 4.0 boards and RTX cards may well have upgraded that hardware within the 3-4 year window!
Posted on Reply
#12
looniam
Chrispy_Like Nvidia RTX, it will probably be 2-3 years after the launch until . . !
NV didn't announce RTX years before it was released. so yeah apple to oranges. you wanna talk APIs, how about AMD bringing async compute to market long before DX12? VRR is another feature i could cite . .

bottom line, after close to two years, there is NOTHING! that anyone should buy. the hype is bullshit (esp for gamerz). :sleep: moving on . .
Posted on Reply
#13
Chrispy_
looniamNV didn't announce RTX years before it was released. so yeah apple to oranges. you wanna talk APIs, how about AMD bringing async compute to market long before DX12? VRR is another feature i could cite . .

bottom line, after close to two years, there is NOTHING! that anyone should buy. the hype is bullshit (esp for gamerz). :sleep: moving on . .
What? That's not what I wrote at all.
RTX was announced shortly before it was released, You're confusing announcing something with launching something. Those are two very different things indeed.
All I'm saying about RTX is that for the first couple of years there weren't many games using it, and most of those that were using it were incentivised by Nvidia to do so.
Posted on Reply
#14
looniam
Chrispy_What? That's not what I wrote at all.
RTX was announced shortly before it was released, You're confusing announcing something with launching something. Those are two very different things indeed.
All I'm saying about RTX is that for the first couple of years there weren't many games using it, and most of those that were using it were incentivised by Nvidia to do so..
NV marketed and had hardware/driver support for ray tracing beforel dx12 ultimate, AMD with async compute before DX12. both weren't widely available but directed the market. their were games that supported both, widely or not.

the deal with hardware vendors telling *us* to wait for MS is bullshit.
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#15
Chris_Ramseyer
Phison Rep
No one wants to wait and I'm right there with you. The industry is a machine and we just make one piece. My job is just to make sure our piece is the fastest you can buy.

E26 supports memory bus speeds up to 2400MT/s. The fastest shipping today is 1600MT/s. The increase in memory bus speed will decrease latency so you will see the performance.

One thing I want to note about what was said above. Many of the SATA vs. NVMe tests were ran on first generation NVMe drives that used the same flash (and same memory bus speeds) as the SATA products shipping at the time. That is why the results were so close together. Run a SATA SSD against something like the Kingston KC3000 or Seagate FireCuda 530 using modern flash and a high-performance E18 controller and you will be surprised at the difference.
Posted on Reply
#16
looniam
Chris_RamseyerNo one wants to wait and I'm right there with you. The industry is a machine and we just make one piece. My job is just to make sure our piece is the fastest you can buy.
if you only make "one piece of hardware", you're now telling the whole industry it's direction? as i mentioned w/ray tracing and async compute where hardware vendor directed the market but it seems missing here.
Chris_RamseyerE26 supports memory bus speeds up to 2400MT/s. The fastest shipping today is 1600MT/s. The increase in memory bus speed will decrease latency so you will see the performance.

One thing I want to note about what was said above. Many of the SATA vs. NVMe tests were ran on first generation NVMe drives that used the same flash (and same memory bus speeds) as the SATA products shipping at the time. That is why the results were so close together. Run a SATA SSD against something like the Kingston KC3000 or Seagate FireCuda 530 using modern flash and a high-performance E18 controller and you will be surprised at the difference.
nice but you still haven't given any gamers proof why - esp. in real world usage.
e:
how about you but YOUR "money where your mouth is", like i did buying a different motherboard, and bring forth a MS supported direct storage to market? eh?
Posted on Reply
#17
Chris_Ramseyer
Phison Rep
Obviously I can't tell you everything I know about it due to NDAs but I can say the entire industry is in meetings every week over this topic. If it wasn't coming, we wouldn't have anything to talk about. :)

Real world usage with consumer workloads is 4KB QD1-4 random reads. The memory bus speed (flash to controller) has a direct impact on that in real world application performance. That said, I did explain "why - esp. in real world usage." The reason why is because the new flash increases the speed between the memory and the controller and that reduces latency.

The last one is my favorite. Phison has publicly stated we spent 30 million Dollars to bring the first PCIe Gen4 SSD to market. I would say that is putting our money where our mouth is. We haven't released a number on Gen5 development but from 2018 to 2020 we added an additional 400+ people to our R&D department (engineers).
Posted on Reply
#18
amit_talkin
looniamif you only make "one piece of hardware", you're now telling the whole industry it's direction? as i mentioned w/ray tracing and async compute where hardware vendor directed the market but it seems missing here.

nice but you still haven't given any gamers proof why - esp. in real world usage.
e:
how about you but YOUR "money where your mouth is", like i did buying a different motherboard, and bring forth a MS supported direct storage to market? eh?
how about just be happy and excited that something new is coming out?
Posted on Reply
#19
Chomiq
Anyone remembers what's the status on Direct Storage? Is it still exclusive do W11 or will MS enable it for W10?
Posted on Reply
#20
Blaylock
ShurikNWhat a load of PR BS.
PC gaming can barely utilize pcie 3.0 ssd speeds, let alone 5.0
The world doesn't revolve around PC Gamers. There are tons of other applications that can take advantage of blazing fast storage.
Posted on Reply
#21
looniam
amit_talkinhow about just be happy and excited that something new is coming out?
i was happy and excited in sept of 2020. jan of 2022 is another story. sorry.
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#22
DeathtoGnomes
kongaInside info, most likely. Look at the text under the user's name
a little reading comprehension goes a long way. I wanted a reference for his info, if there wasnt one, its speculation. Brand Reps are more like community outreach.
Posted on Reply
#23
ShurikN
BlaylockThe world doesn't revolve around PC Gamers. There are tons of other applications that can take advantage of blazing fast storage.
You should read the title of this entire topic/article again
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#24
Chris_Ramseyer
Phison Rep

An interesting video for the highly technical crowd.
Posted on Reply
#25
blanarahul
Chris_Ramseyer

An interesting video for the highly technical crowd.
Thanks for sharing that.
Chris_RamseyerReal world usage with consumer workloads is 4KB QD1-4 random reads. The memory bus speed (flash to controller) has a direct impact on that in real world application performance.
So you're saying that a PCIe 5.0 SSD is equal to a PCIe 3.0 (three point zero) SSD as long as both share the same speed flash. ;) :p
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