Phison E18 + Micron 176-Layer NAND Preview - Faster than Samsung 980 Pro 38

Phison E18 + Micron 176-Layer NAND Preview - Faster than Samsung 980 Pro

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If you've been following the SSD space at least a little bit, you definitely know Phison. An SSD controller vendor that started with low-performance budget chips, Phison has improved tremendously since and is now offering solutions that rival the fastest controllers available. Phison was founded in 2000 in Taiwan and is shipping hundreds of millions of controllers each year.

The Phison E18 controller is the company's first PCI-Express Gen 4 controller. It has been used on drives like the Corsair MP600 Pro, Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus, and Addlink S95. In our MP600 Pro review, we found that Corsair's fastest SSD delivers performance comparable to the Samsung 980 Pro and WD Black SN850.

All these Phison E18-based drives have one thing in common: They use 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash from Micron, also known as B27B. These flash chips were released in 2018, so they aren't exactly based on the latest technology. Especially compared to Samsung, this aging flash tech puts the Phison E18+Micron B27B combination at a small performance disadvantage. That's why Phison has now qualified Micron's 176-layer B47R TLC flash chips for the E18 controller. Technically, the controller is the same physical silicon as all changes are done in firmware, which helps keep manufacturing cost down.

Today, we are previewing the performance of this Phison E18+Micron 176-layer B47R flash by using a pre-production sample SSD provided directly by Phison. The drive uses not only B47R, but B47R Fortis flash, which is the enterprise version of regular B47R. While rated for much higher endurance, it should be very similar otherwise.

Phison hasn't indicated any pricing because it's ultimately the SSD vendor's decision. I have no knowledge of how expensive B47R is compared to B27B, but I doubt it'll be cheaper. The controller itself shouldn't be significantly different in pricing because it is the same silicon with firmware changes.

Specifications: Phison E18 + Micron B47R 176-Layer 2 TB
Capacity:2000 GB (1863 GB usable)
48 GB additional overprovisioning
Controller:Phison PS5018-E18-41
Flash:Micron 176-layer 3D TLC B47R FortisFlash
DRAM:2x 1 GB SKHynix DDR4-2666
Form Factor:M.2 2280
Interface:PCIe Gen 4 x4, NVMe 1.3
Device ID:E18 B47R Fortis
Price at Time
of Review:
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