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Plextor at CES 2020: M9P Plus AIC SSD and its M.2 Twin

Plextor showed off its very recently announced M9P line of premium PCI-Express NVMe SSDs at CES 2020. The M9P Plus comes in both half-height add-in card (AIC) form-factor, and a more conventional M.2-2280 form-factor. In both, it leverages PCI-Express 3.0 x4 along with the NVMe 1.3 protocol. At the heart of these drives is the Marvell 88SS1092 "Eldora Plus" controller that has 8 flash channels. This controller is paired with Kioxia 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash (BiCS 4), and a DDR4 DRAM cache.

With capacities of 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB, the M9P offers sequential reads of up to 3,400 MB/s, with up to 2,200 MB/s writes (up to 1,700 MB/s writes for the 256 GB variant). Endurance (TBW) for the three models are proportionately rated at 160 TB, 320 TB, and 640 TB. The 256 GB variant of the M.2-2280 model is priced at $51, the 512 GB variant at $81, and the 1 TB variant at $135. The AIC equivalents are priced at roughly $15 premiums over these prices, and in addition to the convenience of AIC (easier to swap in a test bench), they feature some RGB LED embellishments.

Marvell's Ready to launch QLC Controller Delivers 670K IOPS

QLC is the next big step in flash memory, with another bump in density increases and, crucially for consumers, revised, lower pricing for flash-based products that employ the new technology. We've already had a sneak peek at what QLC-based products can deliver - Intel's leaked SSD 660P employs QLC memory and is expected to deliver 1,800 MB/s in sequential read and up to 1,200 MB/s in sequential write speeds with 150,000 IOPS. Expect base drive capacities to increase - QLC being higher density would mean fewer NAND chips, but manufacturers want to keep the added performance of chip parallelism.

However, flash needs controllers to deliver its true potential, and Marvell has one up its sleeve. The new controller will eventually replace the NVMe 1.1 Eldora (88SS1093) used in some popular SSDs that are already shipping, such as Plextor's M9Pe, and the folks at Tom's hardware took a peek at it - running the current TLC memory, that is. The controller delivered over 670,000 IOPS and 3,500 MB/s in the demo, though there's no information on the density of the drive. But for those performance levels, it must've had a good amount of silicon. While not representative of final QLC memory performance of the controller, it's good to know that at least this part of the ecosystem is good to go. Now if only QLC was quick and hot off the presses, we could see a $100 512 GB SSD.

Plextor Details Release Availability of their M8Se NVMe TLC SSDs

At CES 2017, Plextor announced their next SSD product line. Dubbed the M8Se, these will be restricted to NVMe SSDs with 15nm 3-bit-per-cell TLC of Toshiba manufacture, ranging from 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and 1TB capacities leveraged by Marvell's Eldora controller.

The new mid-range NVMe SSD uses a new heatsink design (slight cost-reduction when compared with the one the M8Pe carries), that Plextor says will improve cooling by up to 20% - convenient, since throttling does happen with NVMe based SSDs - and particularly with Marvell's Eldora controller - as it did with Plextor's M8Pe line of SSDs. The card also features blue accent lighting. Plextor will also sell a heatsink-less M8PeGN model in the M.2 form factor.
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