Today Micron initiated the first of a multi-tier launch of a new SATA Enterprise SSD lineup built around their IMFT 32-layer 3D NAND Flash. It may seem odd for a full enterprise line to use IMFT 3D TLC, as that flash has not been known for the high random IOPS demands of the datacenter, but Micron looks to be making it work, and work well.
Above is a performance consistency plot of their MAX model. While this does have the highest OP of all of the models, the consistency is surpassing even NVMe models (using a bus *much* faster than SATA). Sure the results are only using 1-second averages and not our Latency Percentile, but we will be able to pick out any single-IO inconsistencies once we get samples in for detailed review.
Saturated IOPS performance also looks good 'on paper'.
The advantage to operating their flash in TLC mode is that the per die capacity moves from 32GB to 48GB, ultimately driving down the cost/GB of these products and making them an easier sell to enterprise customers. It also enables high capacities - the max capacity of the model with the least overprovisioning (ECO) will reach 8TB in a 2.5" SATA form factor when the last leg of this launch is completed later next year.
The three lines are all using the same controller and base firmware, but with differences in how the dies are laid out with respect to expected performance and endurance.
Below are all of the products being launched. All products use a Marvell 88SS1074 controller at SATA 6Gbit:
- 5100 ECO
- 2.5" 7mm: 480, 960, 1920, 3840, 7680 GB
- M.2 2280: 480, 960, 1920 GB
- Sequential read/write: 540 / 380-520 MB/s
- Random read/write: 93k / 9k-31k IOPS
- Endurance: <=1 DWPD
- Cost / GB: $0.45 - $0.55
- 5100 PRO
- 2.5" 7mm: 240, 480, 960, 1920, 3840 GB
- M.2 2280: 240, 480, 960, 1920 GB
- Sequential read/write: 540 / 380-520 MB/s
- Random read/write: 78 (240GB)-93k / 26k-43k IOPS
- Endurance: 1-3 DWPD
- Cost / GB: $0.55 - $0.65
- 5100 MAX
- 2.5" 7mm: 240, 480, 960, 1920 GB
- M.2 2280: (none)
- Sequential read/write: 540 / 310-520 MB/s
- Random read/write: 93k / 48k-74k IOPS
- Endurance: 5 DWPD
- Cost / GB: $0.65 - $0.75
All models come with Micron 'Flex Capacity', which enables custom *increases* in OverProvisioning. Flex Security enables FIPS 140-2 validated 256-bit AES encryption.
The specs are very good when you consider their performance consistency claims, meaning a 74k IOPS random write rating applies to random writes across the *entire span* of the SSD *at steady state*. Consumer SSD firmware typically chokes with this type of workload, even ones equipped with MLC flash.
We will have more on the 5100 Series from Micron as these products are rolled out and sampled to us for performance review.
Press blast after the break.
Subject: General Tech | November 3, 2016 - 10:35 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: vrm, video, skyrim, qualcomm, prodigy, powercolor, podcast, nxp, multi-gpu, msi, micron, logitech, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, g231, evga, dx12, devil box, deus ex: mankind divided, amd, Alienware 13
PC Perspective Podcast #423 - 11/03/16
Join us this week as we discuss the Logitech Prodigy G231, multi-GPU scaling with DX12, Qualcomm buying NXP, issues with GTX 1070 and 1080 cards and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom
Program length: 1:10:25
Fragging Frogs VLAN 14 (summary)
Week in Review:
Today’s episode is brought to you by Harry’s! Use code PCPER at checkout!
News items of interest:
0:28:45 Qualcomm is going for a drive
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Jeremy: Need big long term storage
Subject: Storage | October 28, 2016 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: adata, Ultimate SU800, 3d nand, micron, silicon motion, SM2258G
ADATA's new entry level SSD is the second to the market which utilizes Micron's 3D NAND and also incorporates the new SM2258G controller from Silicon Motion. ATTO shows the performance you would expect from a drive in this class, 560MB/s read 512MB/s write for sequential data at 128KB and higher, assuming you do not completely fill the SLC cache. The SSD Review did not see write performance drop off until they had written 60GB in one shot, the drop is quite dramatic but for most users 60GB writes happen infrequently. Check out the full review if you are in the market for a value priced SSD.
"The Ultimate SU800, on the other hand, utilizes a newer Silicon Motion controller and is the second SSD in the market utilizing Micron's 3D TLC NAND. This combination of components has us charting into new waters when it comes to evaluating the performance."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Plextor M8PeG 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD @ Kitguru
- PNY CS 1311 240GB SSD Review @ OCC
- Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD @ The SSD Review
- Synology RackStation RS816 4-Bay NAS @ techPowerUp
Subject: Storage | August 11, 2016 - 12:06 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: FMS, FMS 2016, XPoint, micron, QuantX, nand, ram
Earlier this week, Micron launched their QuantX branding for XPoint devices, as well as giving us some good detail on expected IOPS performance of solutions containing these new parts:
Thanks to the very low latency of XPoint, the QuantX solution sees very high IOPS performance at a very low queue depth, and the random performance very quickly scales to fully saturate PCIe 3.0 x4 with only four queued commands. Micron's own 9100 MAX SSD (reviewed here), requires QD=256 (64x increase) just to come close to this level of performance! At that same presentation, a PCIe 3.0 x8 QuantX device was able to double that throughput at QD=8, but what are these things going to look like?
The real answer is just like modern day SSDs, but for the time being, we have the prototype unit pictured above. This is essentially an FPGA development board that Micron is using to prototype potential controller designs. Dedicated ASICs based on the final designs may be faster, but those take a while to ramp up volume production.
So there it is, in the flesh, nicely packaged and installed on a complete SSD. Sure it's a prototype, but Intel has promised we will see XPoint before the end of the year, and I'm excited to see this NAND-to-DRAM performance-gap-filling tech come to the masses!
Subject: Storage | August 9, 2016 - 03:33 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: XPoint, QuantX, nand, micron
Micron just completed their keynote address at Flash Memory Summit, and as part of the presentation, we saw our first look at some raw scaled Queue Depth IOPS performance figures from devices utilizing XPoint memory:
These are the performance figures from an U.2 device with a PCIe 3.0 x4 link. Note the outstanding ramp up to full saturation of the bus at a QD of only 4. Slower flash devices require much more parallelism and a deeper queue to achieve sufficient IOPS throughput to saturate that same bus. That 'slow' device on the bottom there, I'm pretty certain, is Micron's own 9100 MAX, which was the fastest thing we had tested to date, and it's being just walked all over by this new XPoint prototype!
Ok, so that's damn fast, but what if you had an add in card with PCIe 3.0 x8?
Ok, now that's just insane! While the queue had to climb to ~8 to reach these figures, that's 1.8 MILLION IOPS from a single HHHL add in card. That's greater than 7 GB/s worth of 4KB random performance!
In addition to the crazy throughput and IOPS figures, we also see latencies running at 1/10th that of flash-based NVMe devices.
..so it appears that while the cell-level performance of XPoint boasts 1000x improvements over flash, once you implement it into an actual solution that must operate within the bounds of current systems (NVMe and PCIe 3.0), we currently get only a 10x improvement over NAND flash. Given how fast NAND already is, 10x is no small improvement, and XPoint still opens the door for further improvement as the technology and implementations mature over time.
More to follow as FMS continues!
Subject: Storage | August 9, 2016 - 01:09 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: XPoint, UFS, QuantX, micron, FMS 2016, FMS
As you can see, UFS is not just for SD cards. These are going to be able to replace embedded memory in mobile devices, displacing the horror that is eMMC with something way faster. These devices are smaller than a penny, with a die size of just over 60 mm squared and boast a 32GB capacity.
One version of the UFS 2.1 devices also contains Micron's first packaged offering of LPDDR4X. This low power RAM offers an additional 20% power savings over existing LPDDR4.
Also up is an overdue branding of Micron's XPoint (spoken 'cross-point') products:
More to follow from FMS 2016. A few little birdies told me there will be some good stuff presented this morning (PST), so keep an eye out, folks!
Press blast for Micron's UFS goodness appears after the break.
Subject: Storage | July 26, 2016 - 02:34 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: MX300, micron, M.2, crucial, 525GB, 275GB, 1TB
We reviewed the Crucial MX300 750GB SSD a few months back. It was a good drive that tested well, and thanks to its IMFT 3D NAND, it came in at a very competitive price point. Today Crucial has rearranged that lineup a bit:
The following capacities are being added to the MX300 lineup:
- 1TB $260 ($0.26/GB)
- 525GB $130 ($0.25/GB)
- 275GB $70 ($0.25/GB)
- 275GB * M.2 2280
The new capacities will be what is sold moving forward (starting 'late August'), with the 750GB model shifting to 'Limited Edition' status. That $0.25/GB carrying all the way down to the lowest capacity is significant, as typically we see higher cost/GB due to controller/PCB/packaging have more impact. Without that coming into play, we get a nearly 300GB SSD coming in at $70!
Specs and expected performance remain the same across all capacities, save a dip in random read performance on the 275GB models, mainly due to the reduced die count / parallelism. We'll take a look at these new capacities just as soon as samples arrive.
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
It's been too long since we took a look at enterprise SSDs here at PC Perspective, so it's high time we get back to it! The delay has stemmed from some low-level re-engineering of our test suite to unlock some really cool QoS and Latency Percentile possibilities involving PACED workloads. We've also done a lot of work to distill hundreds of hours of test results into fewer yet more meaningful charts. More on that as we get into the article. For now, let's focus on today's test subject:
Behold the Micron 9100 MAX Series. Inside that unassuming 2.5" U.2 enclosure sits 4TB of flash and over 4GB of DRAM. It's capable of 3 GB/s reads, 2 GB/s writes, and 750,000 IOPS. All from inside that little silver box! There's not a lot more to say here because nobody is going to read much past that 3/4 MILLION IOPS figure I just slipped, so I'll just get into the rest of the article now :).
The 9100's come in two flavors and form factors. The MAX series (1.2TB and 2.4TB in the above list) come with very high levels of performance and endurance, while the PRO series comes with lower overprovisioning, enabling higher capacity points for a given flash loadout (800GB, 1.6TB, 3.2TB). Those five different capacity / performance points are available in both PCIe (HHHL) and U.2 (2.5") form factors, making for 10 total available SKUs. All products are PCIe 3.0 x4, using NVMe as their protocol. They should all be bootable on systems capable of UEFI/NVMe BIOS enumeration.
Idle power consumption is a respectable 7W, while active consumption is selectable in 20W, 25W, and 'unlimited' increments. While >25W operation technically exceeds the PCIe specification for non-GPU devices, we know that the physical slot is capable of 75W for GPUs, so why can't SSDs have some more fun too! That said, even in unlimited mode, the 9100's should still stick relatively close to 25W and in our testing did not exceed 29W at any workload. Detailed power testing is coming to future enterprise articles, but for now, the extent will be what was measured and noted in this paragraph.
Our 9100 MAX samples came only in anti-static bags, so no fancy packaging to show here. Enterprise parts typically come in white/brown boxes with little flair.
Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2016 - 12:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: NVMe, 9100, micron
Testing out twelve 9100 NVMe flash drives is not easy as it requires some interesting configurations to make the testing worth while, sticking them all in a box and running ATTO is not going to create valuable information. Those custom configurations revealed some interesting limitations, such as Windows' RAID having an upper limit of 385K IOPS and the Linux flavours tested topped out at 400K IOPS.
Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 turned out to be more stable than Server 2012 R2; somehow using Resource Monitor managed to crash hard enough to break the Server install in one case. 2016 also had that upper IOPS limit which was far below the drives actual capabilities. Drop by The Inquirer for look at the work which was done to set up for testing as well as the results.
"I have spent the past TWO months testing these cards, the past month of which has involved truly tormenting them. I've learned a lot of things. There's the basic "NVMe is faster" that you can get from reading about the theory behind the drives, but there have also been a lot of little practical tidbits that you only get to find out when you run face first into problems."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Lawyer bot has overturned 160,000 parking offences and counting @ The Inquirer
- Office 365 corporate users targeted with zero-day ransomware attack @ The Inquirer
- Now Intel swings axe at sales, marketing peeps @ The Register
- Activision Abuses DMCA To Take Knock Indie Game Entirely Off Steam @ Slashdot
- 25,000 malware-riddled CCTV cameras form network-crashing botnet @ The Register
- Microsoft launches Net Core 1.0 for Linux, OS X and Windows @ The Inquirer
- AMD, Nvidia next-generation graphics card competition to begin earlier @ DigiTimes
- US Customs Wants To Know Travelers' Social Media Account Names @ The Inquirer
Introduction, Dynamic Write Acceleration, and Packaging
Micron joined Intel in announcing their joint venture production of IMFT 3D NAND just a bit over a year ago. The industry was naturally excited since IMFT has historically enabled relatively efficient production, ultimately resulting in reduced SSD prices over time. I suspect this time things will be no different as IMFT's 3D Flash has been aiming high die capacities since its inception, and I suspect their second generation will *double* per-die capacities while keeping speeds reasonable thanks to a quad-plane design implemented from the start of this endeavor. Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself a bit as there are no consumer products sporting this flash just yet - well not until today at least:
Marketed under Micron's consumer brand Crucial, the MX300 is their first entrant into the consumer space, as well as the first consumer SSD sporting IMFT 3D NAND. Crucial is known for their budget-minded SSDs, and for the MX300 they chose to go with the best cost/GB they could manage with what they had to work with. That meant putting this new 3D NAND into TLC mode. Now there are many TLC haters out there, but remember this is 3D NAND. Samsung's 850 EVO can exceed 500 MB/sec writes to TLC at its 500GB capacity point, and this MX300 is a product that is launching with *only* a 750GB capacity, so its TLC speed should be at least reasonable.
(the return of) Dynamic Write Acceleration
Dynamic Write Acceleration in action during a sequential fill - that last slowest part was my primary concern for the mX300.
TLC is not the only story here because Crucial has included their Dynamic Write Acceleration (DWA) technology into the MX300. This is a tech where the SSD controller is able to dynamically switch flash programming modes of the flash pool, doing so at the block level. This appears to be a feature unique to IMFT flash, as every other 'hybrid' SSD we have tested had a static SLC cache area. DWA's ability to switch flash modes on-the-fly has always fascinated me on paper, but I just haven't been impressed by Micron's previous attempts to implement it. The M600 was a bit all over the place on its write consistency, and that SSD was flipping blocks between SLC and MLC. With the MX300 flipping between SLC and *TLC*, there was a possibility of far more noticeable slow downs in the cases where large writes were taking place and the controller was caught trying to scavenge space in the background.
New Latency Percentile vs. legacy IO Percentile, shown here highlighting a performance inconsistency seen in the Toshiba OCZ RD400. Note which line more closely represents the Latency Distribution (gray) also on this plot.