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Silicon Motion: PCIe 5.0 SSD Controller to Arrive Next Year

With the debut of PCIe 4.0 standard, SSD manufacturers have started launching a new generation of storage devices, with unseen speeds before. Today's PCIe 4.0 SSDs can reach up to 8.0 GB/s reads and writes, all thanks to the bandwidth-heavy PCIe protocol. However, enterprise workloads are always requiring more and more bandwidth to satisfy their needs. Data is being moved in immense quantities and faster hardware is always welcome. The previous PCIe 4.0 standard is about to kneel to its successor - PCIe 5.0 protocol. Having double the amount of bandwidth, the new standard is set to bring unseen speeds.

The PCIe 5.0 protocol offers 32 GT/s per lane, making up to 64 GB/s in the full x16 implementation. However, when it comes to SSDs, as they use x4 lanes, it will increase the maximum speed to 16 GB/s, doubling the previous bandwidth. Silicon Motion, the maker of NAND flash controllers, has announced that the company is going to debut a PCIe 5.0 controller next year. "We are excited about enterprise-grade PCIe Gen5 controller, which we will have taped out early next year and sample in the second half of 2022", said Wallace Kuo, chief executive of Silicon Motion, during a conference call. Launching just in time to pair with Intel's Sapphire Rapids Xeon processors that support the PCIe 5.0 protocol, Silicon Motion is probably expecting to grab its market share there.

Prices of NAND Flash Controller ICs Poised to Rise by 15-20% due to Tightening Production Capacity for Foundry Services, Says TrendForce

In the upstream semiconductor industry, the major foundries such as TSMC and UMC are reporting fully loaded capacities, while in the downstream, the available production capacity for OSAT is also lacking, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Given this situation, suppliers of NAND Flash controller ICs such as Phison and Silicon Motion are now unable to meet upside demand from their clients. Not only have many controller IC suppliers temporarily stopped offering quotes for new orders, but they are also even considering raising prices soon because the negotiations between NAND Flash suppliers and module houses over 1Q21 contracts are now at the critical juncture. The potential increases in prices of controller ICs from outsourced suppliers (IC design houses) are currently estimated to be the range of 15-20%.

With regards to the demand side, demand has risen significantly for eMMC solutions with medium- and low-density specifications (i.e., 64 GB and lower), for which NAND Flash suppliers have mostly stopped updating the NAND Flash process technology, while maintaining support with the legacy 2D NAND or the 64L 3D NAND process. This is on account of strong sales for Chromebook devices and TVs. As older processes gradually account for a lowering portion of bit output proportions from NAND Flash suppliers, these companies are exhibiting a lowered willingness to directly supply such eMMC products to clients. As a result, clients now need to turn to memory module houses, which are able to source NAND Flash components and controllers, to procure eMMC products in substantial quantities.

ASRock Rack Unveils M.2 Slot Graphics Card

ASRock's enterprise motherboard subsidiary, ASRock Rack, unveiled what is possibly the strangest graphics card, called simply "M.2_VGA." This card uses a Silicon Motion SM750 chip with an embedded memory, and is built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, with an interface that supports both the B-key and M-key slot types. The chip uses a PCI-Express 3.0 x1 host interface, and 16 MB of DDR1 embedded memory. A tiny header on the card puts out analog D-Sub through an expansion bracket, while another takes in 2-pin 12 V power from a Molex connector. While its performance is slightly short for maxed-out "Control" at native 4K with raytracing, you get just enough for a 1080p basic desktop display—which explains why ASRock is selling it through its enterprise subsidiary. The card is meant for servers.

Silicon Motion Announces SM8266 16-channel PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD Controller

Silicon Motion Technology Corporation, a global leader in designing and marketing NAND flash controllers for solid-state storage devices, today announced the SM8266, a complete enterprise-grade 16-channel PCIe 4.0 NVMe hardware plus firmware turnkey SSD controller solution. Customers can rapidly develop and bring to market enterprise SSDs for data centers by using our complete development platform that includes a turnkey NVMe firmware stack and hardware reference design kit.

"Our solution is the only complete PCIe Gen4 turnkey solution available today from an established merchant controller supplier," said Nelson Duann, Silicon Motion's Senior Vice President of Marketing and R&D. "Since the introduction of our PCIe Gen3 turnkey solution, we have established a longer track record of supplying turnkey solutions in terms of customer adoption and sale volume than any other company. Our Shannon Systems team is already custom designing enterprise-grade NVMe, Open-Channel and Key-Value SSDs using SM8266 for hyperscale customers' data centers with production expected in 2021."

Silicon Motion Launches PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD Controllers

Silicon Motion has recently launched three new PCIe 4.0 NVMe controllers for performance, mainstream, and value SSD applications. The new portfolio of controllers includes the SM2264 for performance, SM2267 for mainstream, and SM2267XT for value DRAM-less SSDs. The high-end SM2264 performance-optimized controller offers speeds of up to 7,400 MB/s sequential reads and 6,800 MB/s sequential writes which will compete with the Phison E18 controller and proprietary controllers from Samsung and Western Digital. The controller will be produced on TSMC's 12 nm node and supports 8 NAND channels along with LPDDR4/DDR4 DRAM.

The more value-focused SM2267 and SM2267XT controllers will offer strong performance rivaling high-end PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSDs. The two controllers both offer sequential read speeds of 3,900 MB/s and sequential write speeds of 3,500 MB/s with support for 4 NAND channels. They will both be manufactured on a 28 nm node for cost reductions and have entered mass production with the main difference between the two controllers being the exclusion of DRAM support on the SM2267XT. Consumer products featuring the new controllers should be available in the coming months.

Plextor Unveils M8V Plus Series SATA SSDs

Plextor late last week unveiled the M8V Plus line of mainstream SATA SSDs in the 2.5-inch and M.2-2280 form-factors. The M8V Plus is an incremental update of the original M8V series from 2018. What's new is the implementation of KIOXIA-sourced 96-layer TLC NAND flash replacing 64-layer chips from Toshiba. The M8V Plus series comes in 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB variants, while the original M8V came in 128-thru-512 GB variants.

The Silicon Motion SM2258 controller under the hood of the M8V Plus, has been updated to its latest revision, and supports Plextor-innovated Plex Compress technology. This feature uses the controller's idle time to compress files that haven't been accessed for over 30 days. The Plex Turbo feature, which is essentially variable-size SLC cache, has also been improved to be larger in size. On-paper performance hasn't changed, with the company claiming up to 560 MB/s sequential reads, up to 520 MB/s sequential writes, up to 90,000 IOPS 4K random access for the 256 GB and 512 GB variants; and up to 88,000 IOPS random access for the 1 TB variant. The company rates write endurance for the 256 GB variant at 140 TBW, 512 GB variant at 280 TBW, and 560 TBW for the 1 TB variant. All three variants are backed by 3-year warranties. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ADATA XPG Launches GAMMIX S50 Lite PCIe Gen4 M.2 2280 Solid State Drive

ADATA XPG, a provider of systems, components, and peripherals for gamers, esports pros, and tech enthusiasts, today announces the XPG GAMMIX S50 Lite PCIe Gen 4x4 M.2 2280 solid state drive (SSD). With the advent of 5G networks and the ever-growing volume of data being processed, the PCIe Gen4 interface is a critical upgrade that will bring storage devices to the next level. The S50 Lite expands the GAMMIX S50 series with a new option for mainstream users wanting to harness the capabilities of PCIe 4.0.

"With the launch of the S50 Lite, we have now extended our PCIe 4.0 SSD offering to meet not only the demands of early adopters but also mainstream users, whether for work or play," said Ibsen Chen, Director of Product Marketing at ADATA. "With support from our strategic partners at Silicon Motion, we have invested in developing a next-generation SSD that is accessible and offers exceptional performance."

KLEVV Introduces the CRAS C710 M.2 NVMe SSD

KLEVV today introduced the CRAS C710 line of mainstream M.2 NVMe SSDs, in 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB capacities. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface, the drives combine a Silicon Motion SM2263XT DRAMless controller with 3D TLC NAND flash memory, offering intelligent SLC caching. Performance figures put out by the company read as up to 2,100 MB/s sequential reads, up to 1,650 MB/s sequential writes for the 1 TB variant. The 512 GB variant offers up to 2,050 MB/s reads, with up to 1,650 MB/s writes. The 256 GB model does up to 1,950 MB/s reads, with up to 1,250 MB/s writes. The company didn't reveal pricing information.

Goodram Introduces Value Series PX500 NVMe SSDs Available up to 1 TB

It's been a while since we've had a post on a Goodram product at TechPowerUp, with the company's releases mainly falling off the radar. However, the company's new PX500 series of NVMe SSDs are being positioned as value options in the segment, whilst being quoted with some respectable transfer speeds - provided you don't acquire the lowest capacity version. Available in 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB capacities, the Goodram PX500 are DRAM-less SSDs driven by Silicon Motion's SMI 2263XT controller.

Quoted numbers for the 256 GB version stand at 1,850 MB/s sequential read, 950 MB/s sequential write, 102,000 IOPS 4K random read and 230,000 IOPS 4K random write. The 512 GB version posts 2,000 MB/s, 1,600 MB/s, 173,000 IOPS and 140,000 IOPS in the same performance metrics, while the 1 TB version maxes out at 2,050 MB/s, 1650 MB/s, 240,000 IOPS and 280,000 IOPS, respectively. The Goodram PX500 series of NVMe SSDs are backed by a three-year warranty, and prices have not yet been announced.

Mushkin Launches PILOT-E Series NVMe SSDs

Mushkin has announced availability of their updated PILOT-E NVMe M.2 SSDs, which build upon their previously released PILOT family of SSDs. The PILOT-E are offered in the M.2 2280 form-factor, and make use of the PCIe 3.0 x4 interface to achieve speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s sequential reads and 3,100 MB/s sequential writes. The PILOT-E SSDs make use of Silicon Motion's SM2262EN" controller, which supports up to 8 NAND channels for increased throughput which connects to the PILOT-E's 3D TLC NAND.

The PILOT-E family of NVMe SSDs will be available in capacities ranging from 500 GB up to 2 TB, which seems about right for current market trends. The 500 GB model will feature the lowest performance figures at 3,500 MB/s sequential reads,2,300 MB/s sequential writes, random reads at 344,400 IOPS, random writes at 343,000 IOPS, and a write endurance rated at 350 TBW. The PILOT-e counts with SLC cache for improved performance, as well as LDPC ECC, end-to-end protection, global wear leveling, static data refresh, HMB, and AES 256-bit encryption. MTBF is set at 1.5 million hours, and typical warranty is set at three years. I'm seeing pricing starting at $74,99 for the 500 GB version and $249.99 for the 2 TB one.

Mushkin at CES 2020: EON and EON Pro NVMe SSDs, Source Q SSD, CarbonX External SSD, and Blackline RGB Memory

Mushkin at CES 2020 showcased their latest products, both in the storage or random access memory space. Starting with the NVMe products, the EON NVMe SSD will be available in capacities starting at 500 GB through 4 TB, and make use of 3D TLC NAND paired with Silicon Motion's SM2267 controller. It's a PCIe 4.0 x4 affair in the M.2 2280 form-factor, with built-in LDPC ECC technology. The company is quoting speeds up to 4 GB/s read and up to 3 GB/s writes, with up to 400K IOPS on either case. The EON Pro upgrades both storage capacity (available in up to a whopping 16 TB density) and speeds, leveraging Silicon Motion's SM 2264 controller. Sequential reads and writes are quoted at 6.4 GB/s and 3.9 GB/s, respectively, with 700K IOPS on both scenarios.

The Source Q, on the other hand, is a 2.5" SATA SSD, and keeps the Silicon Motion trend going with the company's SM2259XT controller. It offers up to 560 MB/s reads and 515 MB/s writes, with up to 95K read IOPS and 86K write IOPS. It will only be available in 500 GB through 2 TB capacities, which goes to show how Mushkin is prioritizing demand for their NVMe drives.

ADATA Unveils a Trio of PCIe Gen 4 M.2 SSDs That Aren't Phison E16 Fare

Phison was first to market with a client-segment PCI-Express gen 4.0 NVMe SSD controller, and as a result, the first wave of gen 4.0 M.2 SSDs have been dominated by the E16-series controller. At CES 2020, we got to see some of the first drives based on PCIe gen 4.0 controllers from other manufacturers such as Silicon Motion and InnoGrit, thanks to ADATA. With begin with the company's latest-generation XPG SAGE M.2 NVMe SSDs with PCI-Express 4.0 x4 interface, which come in capacities of up to 4 TB, and which are powered by InnoGrit "Rainier" IG5236 controller, belting out sequential transfer speeds of up to 7,000 MB/s reads, with up to 6,100 MB/s writes, and up to 1 million IOPS 4K random access. The drive supports the latest NVMe 1.4 protocol.

Next up is the XPG Indigo, another M.2 NVMe PCI-Express 4.0 x4 drive positioned a notch below the XPG Sage. This one uses Silicon Motion's fastest PCIe gen 4.0 client-segment controller, the SM2264. With capacities of up to 4 TB, the drive offers up to 7,000 MB/s sequential reads, up to 6,000 MB/s sequential writes, and up to 700,000 IOPS 4K random-access performance. Lastly there's the XPG Pearl, a high cost-performance model powered by the mid-range SM2267 controller which has a PCIe gen 4.0 x4 interface and DRAM cache, comes in capacities of up to 4 TB, but offers a slightly tamed performance that's comparable to E16-powered drives: up to 4,000 MB/s sequential reads, up to 3,000 MB/s sequential writes, and up to 400,000 IOPS 4K random access. The new-gen XPG Sage, XPG Indigo, and XPG Pearl will release later this year.

Intel Launches SSD 665p "Neptune Harbor Refresh" Line of M.2 NVMe SSDs

Intel late Monday released its SSD 665p "Neptune Harbor Refresh" line of client-segment M.2 NVMe SSDs. The series was announced in September at the company's Storage Day event in South Korea. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, the drives feature PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface. They combine a Silicon Motion SMI2263 series controller with Intel's new 96-layer 3D QLC NAND flash memory. The previous-generation SSD 660p series use 64-layer chips. The SMI2263 controller is cushioned by an LPDDR3 DRAM cache.

Intel is debuting the SSD 665p series with just two models, 1 TB and 2 TB, skipping sub-terabyte capacities such as 500 GB. The 2 TB variant offers sequential transfer speeds of up to 2000 MB/s reads and up to 2000 MB/s writes; and random access speeds of up to 250,000 IOPS on both reads and writes. The 1 TB variant offers up to 2000 MB/s sequential reads, up to 1925 MB/s sequential writes, up to 160,000 IOPS random reads, and up to 200,000 IOPS random writes. The company didn't reveal endurance ratings for the drives. The 1 TB variant is priced at USD $125, while the 2 TB variant hasn't yet been priced. Both drives are backed by 5-year warranties.

BIOSTAR Rolls Out M700 Series M.2 NVMe SSDs

BIOSTAR today rolled out the M700 line of SSDs in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface, taking advantage of the NVMe 1.3 protocol. The drive combines a Silicon Motion SM2263XT DRAM-less controller with 3D NAND flash, and comes in 256 GB and 512 GB capacities. The 256 GB model offers sequential transfer speeds of up to 1,850 MB/s reads with up to 950 MB/s writes, while the 512 GB model offers up to 2,000 MB/s reads, with up to 1,600 MB/s writes. The controller features native AES 256-bit encryption. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ADATA Launches 2 TB Version of Its XPG SX8200 Pro NVMe SSD

Amidst falling prices of NAND flash and increased desirability from users' part, companies have been expanding their portfolio of SSD offerings for the consumer side of the fence as well as the enterprise one. ADATA's XPG SX8200 Pro SSD was initially only offered in 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB configurations, but in the case of SSD storage, "moar" is usually better. We'll see when do 256 GB offerings get discontinued, but I'd give it another pair of years at the most.

The ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro features Silicon Motion's SM2262EN controller packing eight NAND channels, four ARM Cortex-R5 cores, support for NVMe 1.3, LDPC ECC, RAID engine et all (eh), paired with Micron's 3D TLC NAND - no QLC here, folks. The SSD offers up to 3.5 GB/s sequential read speed and up to 3 GB/s sequential write speed, and up to 360K random read/write 4K IOPS. The ADATA SSD features a TBW rating of 1280 TB over a 5-year warranty period - and a MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) rate of 2,000,000 hours (something like 83.333, 33 (3) days of continuous usage. Now that's north of two hundred years of continuous operation, which makes me sad just thinking about it and what I'd do with that time. In another conscience state, perhaps. ADATA's 2 TB XPG SX8200 Pro is $289.99, in select European countries (from eBay) at about €308, and in Japan for ¥36,680.

KLEVV Shows Off New Flash Drives, SSDs and Memory with Copious Amounts of RGB

KLEVV at its Computex 2019 booth unveiled a new line of high-performance USB flash drives. It also brought along its latest variants of CRAS series M.2 NVMe SSDs and DDR4 memory, which come with a dazzling/blinding (take your pick) amount of RGB LED embellishment. We begin with the Portable Ghost, branded as a "portable SSD" and not a flash-drive. This is because the USB 3.1 gen 2 type-C connection pulls a PCIe/NVMe internal SSD. When plugged into a PC or a USB charger, the drive can also work as a wireless drive to your other devices over Bluetooth 4.2. The drive comes in two variants based on capacity, which significantly differ in hardware. The 240 GB variant is pulled by a JMicron JM5583 controller, while the 480 GB variant has a Silicon Motion SM2263EN. Both models use 72-layer 3D TLC NAND flash, and have the same on-paper performance figures, with up to 1,250 MB/s reads/writes. The drive isn't without two RGB LED diffusers.

The Blu RC30 is another fascinating, albeit slower drive, that's properly marketed as a flash drive. Built in the conventional 2-piece capped form-factor, the drive features a USB 3.1 gen 1 (5 Gbps) type-A connection. An internal battery which soaks up power when plugged in, lets the drive function wireless over Bluetooth 4.2, and also be used as a wireless presentation tool (a clicker), with capacitive touch surface and a couple of buttons, which imitate a mouse. Built in capacities of 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB, the Blu RC30 offers sequential transfer-rates of up to 250 MB/s reads on all three models, and write-speeds rated at 40 MB/s for the 32 GB model, 50 MB/s for 64 GB, and 90 MB/s for the 128 GB model. Transfer rates are severely throttled in wireless mode. We then moved on to its SSD and memory products.

ADATA Unveils its M.2 PCIe Gen4 SSD: Ready for AMD X570

It looks like SSDs will beat graphics cards to utilizing (and benefiting) from the bandwidth of PCI-Express gen 4.0 bus. AMD X570 platform motherboards offer 2-3 M.2 slots with PCIe gen 4.0 x4 wiring (64 Gbps). Corsair formally launched the MP600, and now ADATA joins the party with its unnamed drive. Based on the Silicon Motion SM2267 controller, the drive comes in an unbelievable capacity of up to 8 TB, probably using 96-layer QLC NAND flash.

The controller features DRAM cache, and dynamic SLC caching (all of the NAND flash is treated as SLC until storage demands force portions of them to be treated as MLC, TLC, and eventually QLC). It takes advantage of NVMe 1.3 protocol. As for performance, ADATA claims sequential speeds of up to 4000 MB/s reads. Such speeds were impossible of PCIe gen 3.0 x4 due to various overheads. Sequential writes are still up to 3000 MB/s. 4K random read/write access is rated at 400k IOPS. The company didn't reveal availability details.

Patriot Also Shows Off Burst and P200 SATA SSDs

Patriot Memory's SSD lineup for 2019-20 includes two new SATA SSDs to cater to the mainstream market, the P200 and Burst. Both drives are built in the 2.5-inch form-factor, with SATA 6 Gbps interface. The Burst is available in capacities of up to 960 GB, and is powered by a Phison S11 controller with DRAM cache. The drive offers sequential transfer rates of up to 560 MB/s reads, with up to 540 MB/s writes, and endurance of up to 835 TBW, benefiting from the drive's overprovisioning. The P200 is an interesting drive, in that it comes in two controller options. Capacities 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB ship with Silicon Motion SM2258XT DRAM-less controller, while the 2 TB version is powered by a Maxiotech MAS0902A. On offer are up to 530 MB/s reads, up to 460 MB/s writes, and up to 1 PBW endurance.

Mushkin Announces Availability of Helix-L NVMe SSD

Mushkin Enhanced MFG - An industry-leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance and high-reliability computer products, is excited to announce global availability of its much-anticipated Helix-L PCIe m.2 SSD (Solid State Drive) originally announced at CES 2019 and has available capacities of 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB.

Built using the latest Silicon Motion SM2263XT PCIe Gen 3 x 4 NVMe controller to generate super-fast sequential Read and Write speeds. The Helix-L offers extreme storage performance and capacities in a M.2 2280 form factor, fitting directly into a motherboard or notebook. Employing the ultra-high-speed PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 interface for maximum bandwidth, the Helix-L leaves traditional SATA III and even previous generation M.2 SSDs in the rearview. Loading everything from large video and image files to games, applications or the operating system faster than ever before.

SK Hynix Begins Sampling 96-layer 4D QLC NAND Flash Memory

SK Hynix Inc., announced today that it has delivered samples of new 1Tb (Terabit) QLC (Quadruple Level Cell) product to major SSD (Solid State Drive) Controller companies. The Company applied its own QLC technology to its world's first 96-Layer "CTF (Charge Trap Flash) based 4D (Four-Dimensional) NAND Flash (or 4D NAND)." SK Hynix intends to expand its NAND portfolio to 96-layer-based 1Tb QLC products in time for the QLC market opening and strengthen its responsiveness to the next-generation high-density memory market.

QLC stores four bits of data in one NAND cell, allowing higher density compared to TLC (Triple Level Cell) that stores three bits per cell. Using QLC, it is possible to develop high-density products with cost competitiveness. SK Hynix is able to secure the industry's top-level cost competitiveness through this product, which has reduced the area to less than 90% of the existing 3D-based QLC products.

Micron Unveils 2200 Client-segment SSD, Ditches SMI for In-house Controller

Micron has curiously been releasing client-segment SSDs these recent weeks. The company's main brand was focused on enterprise products, while subsidiary brands Crucial and Ballistix catered to the client-segment. Following up on its late-February launch of the 1300-series client-segment SSDs, Micron unveiled the even faster 2200-series. These drives ditch Silicon Motion-sourced controllers in favor of a new controller Micron designed in-house. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface, taking advantage of the NVMe protocol. This in-house controller is mated with Micron's 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash, cushioned by its own LPDDR4 DRAM cache.

Available in capacities of 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB, the Micron 2200 is rated to offer sequential transfer rates of up to 3000 MB/s reads, with up to 1600 MB/s writes, up to 240,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 210,000 IOPS 4K random writes, with an endurance rating of 75 TB, 150 TB, and 300 TB, for the 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB variants, respectively. Micron-exclusive features also make their way, such as native power-loss data-protection, and TCG Opal SED. The company hasn't revealed pricing or availability for these drives.

Kingston's A2000 NVMe SSDs - Aiming at Sub-SATA SSD Pricing On Toshiba's BiCS4 3D TLC NAND

Kingston at CES 2019 demonstrated its A2000 NVMe SSDs, which the company has developed with a specific goal in mind - undercut SATA-based SSDs. This has, until now, been impossible, due to increased costs of NVMe controllers over their SATA counterparts, but such is the trend with any technology - prices do come down after a product is first introduced. Some NVMe solutions have used cut-down controllers that only supported PCIe x2 buses, but not the A2000 - they will use full-fledged PCIe 4x lanes, and will be available in 240, 480, or 960 GB capacities.

The A2000 series will make use of different controllers, which means Kingston is sourcing from more than one manufacturer (Silicon Motion's SM2263-series and Phison's low-cost controllers). While that could introduce performance variations, Kingston says that they will be making sure the experience and performance stays consistent between differently-sourced products, and that the only reason for this is to decrease overall BOM costs to achieve a lineup-wide below-SATA cost. NVMe drives typically require less materials than SATA drives, and as a plus, aren't constrained by link bandwidth limitations. This is huge news for the industry, because if Kingston manages to do its bidding 2Q2019, as they expect, the industry will follow suit - they won't be leaving the lowest-priced, and consequently, likely highest-volume product, to a single player. Kingston is quoting up to 2000 MB/s sequential read speeds as well as up to 1500 MB/s sequential write speeds.

Mushkin Showcases Multiple Storage Solutions at CES 2019

Mushkin has been focusing most of its product offerings on the storage area, with multiple product tiers in the SSD space. At CEs 2019, the company put together a booth where it showcased some of its more recent advancements in this product category.

The Pilot-E is an internal NVMe SSD available in 250 GB to 2 TB capacities, with an astonishing up to 3.4 GB/s read and 2.5 GB/s write speeds, powered by an SMI SM226EN controller and 3D TLC NAND. Another lower-tier interpretation of the Pilot-E is the Pilot, which ranges from 120 GB - 2 TB, but uses a slower Silicon Motion SM2262 controller which brings the performance numbers down to 3.2 GB/s and 1.9 GB/s in sequential read and write, respectively.

Mushkin Intros Source M.2-SATA SSDs

Mushkin introduced M.2-SATA variants of its cost-effective Source SSDs. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, the drives feature SATA 6 Gb/s interface. The drives combine a Silicon Motion SM2258XT DRAM-less controller with Micron 3D TLC NAND flash, and comes in capacities of 120 GB, 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB. On tap are sequential read speeds of up to 560 MB/s, with up to 520 MB/s sequential writes; up to 78,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 81,000 IOPS 4K random writes. Among its unique features are LPDC ECC, Data Shaping, Global Wear-leveling, Static Data-refresh, and MEDS (Muskin Enhanced Data-protection Suite), an imaging and data-backup software. The drives are backed by 3-year warranties, and could be priced mostly under the $100-mark, except for the 960 GB variant.

Realtek Intros RTS5762 NVMe SSD Controller Capable of 3500 MB/s Reads

Realtek, known more for its cheap Ethernet PHYs and audio CODECs, entered the SSD controller market in 2017, with mainstream SSD controllers. This year, the company plans to take on giants such as Silicon Motion, Phison, Intel, and Samsung, with its own high-performance controller, the RTS5762. The PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface provides 4,000 MB/s of raw bandwidth per direction, and while it's technically impossible for any device to transfer its payload data at that speed (on account of various protocol overheads), very few PCI-Express 3.0 x4 SSDs get within 80th percentile of it (3200 MB/s per direction transfers). It's only recently that 3400 MB/s became the gold-standard of high-end M.2 NVMe SSDs, but Realtek plans to change that.

The RTS5762 is capable of up to 3,500 MB/s reads, or 87.5% saturation of the PCI-Experss 3.0 x4 bus. It supports up to 8 NAND flash channels, 3D TLC and 3D QLC NAND flash memory, and takes advantage of the newer NVMe 1.3 protocol. The only other controller right now that's capable of 3,500 MB/s reads is Samsung "Phoenix," found exclusively on the 970 Pro series (and no other brand's products). Sequential write performance is where this Realtek chip edges past Samsung, with the company showing CDM performance of up to 3,000 MB/s writes, whereas the 970 Pro is only specified to write up to 2,700 MB/s. Realtek also beefed up its mainstream NVMe controller portfolio with the new RTS5763DL. If drives based on this chip are priced right, it could carve out a new market segment between cheaper PCIe 3.0 x2 drives, and "upper mainstream" x4 drives such as the Samsung 970 EVO. Armed with just 4 NAND flash channels and no DRAM to cushion it, the RTS5763DL reads at up to 2150 MB/s, and writes at up to 1475 MB/s (as tested on CDM), making it faster than PCIe 3.0 x2 drives, at least in the sequential reads test.
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