Subject: Storage | January 11, 2019 - 09:36 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ssd controller, ssd, solid state drive, PS5016-E16, phison, PCIe Gen4, PCI Express 4.0, NVMe
One of the areas that can see an immediate impact from PCI Express Gen 4 which will first arrive with AMD’s upcoming Ryzen desktop processors is storage, and to that end Phison is not waiting around to show just what we can expect from the first generation of PCIe Gen4 SSDs.
Phison PS5016-E16 performance slide (image credit: ComputerBase)
The company’s PS5016-E16 controller was on display at CES in a prototype device, and is powered by a quad-core solution combining two ARM cores with a pair of proprietary CO-X processor cores from Phison. Basic specs from Phison include:
- PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
- 8 Channels with 32 CEs
- NAND interface: 800 MT/s support
- DDR4 interface: 1600 Mb/s support
- 3D TLC and QLC support
- Designed with Phison’s 4th Gen LDPC Engine
Phison PS5016-E16 prototype device (image credit: Legit Reviews)
As to performance, Phison lists sequentials of 4000 MB/s reads and 4100 MB/s writes, while providing a graphic showing CrystalDiskMark results slightly exceeding these numbers. How can Phison exceed the potential of PCIe Gen3 x4 with this early demo? As reported by Legit Reviews Phison is using a Gen4HOST add-in card from PLDA, which “uses a PCIe 3.0 x16 (upstream) to PCIe 4.0 x8 (downstream) integration backplane for development and validation of PCIe 4.0 endpoints”.
Phison PS5016-E16 demo system in action (image credit: Legit Reviews)
The Phison PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe controller is expected to hit the consumer market by Q3 2019.
Subject: Storage | April 5, 2018 - 03:38 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: toshiba, tlc, phison, NVMe, kingston, BiCS3, 3d nand
Kingston is continuing its push into NVMe SSDs with its new A1000 series. The budget parts are positioned as mechanical drive alternatives. These drives use a lower cost PCI-E x2 interface and are single sided with the M.2 2280 (80mm) form factor. Kingston is using the four channel Phison E8 PS5008-E8 controller with DRAM cache along with Kingston branded TLC 3D NAND flash (SSD Review's sample reportedly used Toshiba's BICS3 256Gb flash).
The A1000 series (PDF) comes in 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB capacities. They offer up to 1500 MB/s sequential reads across all capacities and the other performance characteristics varying according to the capacity and number of flash dies used. The 960 GB drive is the fastest with up to 1,000 MB/s sequential writes, 120,000 random read IOPS, and 100,000 random write IOPS. The 480GB drive is a bit slower at 900 MB/s sequential writes, 100,000 random read IOPS, and 90,000 random write IOPS. Finally, the lowest capacity 240 GB SSD hits up to 800 MB/s sequential writes, 100,000 random read IOPS, and 80,000 random write IOPS. As far as endurance, Kingston rates all three capacities at the same 1 million hours MTBF and 150 TBW for the 240 GB, 300 TBW for the 480 GB, and 600 TBW for the 960 GB solid state drive. Kingston warranties the drives for five years which is nice to see on a budget drive.
|240 GB||480 GB||960 GB|
|Sequential Read||1,500 MB/s||1,500 MB/s||1,500 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||800 MB/s||900 MB/s||1,000 MB/s|
|Endurance Rating||150 TBW||300 TBW||600 TBW|
Kingston's A1000 SSDs use the NVMe 1.3 protocol but they are limited by the x2 PCI-E interface, especially where reads are concerned. Kingston is pricing the drives at MSRPs of $119.99 for the 240 GB, $219.99 for the 480 GB, and $402.99 for the 960 GB drive which does seem a bit on the pricier side of things but we'll have to wait a bit to see how retail pricing shakes out to say for sure. For example, looking on Amazon, the MSRPs of the A1000 drives are close to the retail pricing of Kingston's faster KC1000 SSDs which makes me think the street prices may come in lower than shown above (hopefully). In any case, the A1000 drives should be available soon as reviews have already begun popping up online.
Delivering on the Promise of Thunderbolt 3
Despite the greatly increased adoption of Thunderbolt 3 over the previous 2 Thunderbolt standards, the market is still lacking actual devices that take advantage of the full 40Gbps bandwidth that Thunderbolt 3 offers.
External storage seems like a natural use of this PCI-E 3.0 x4 interface available with the Thunderbolt 3 standard, but storage devices that take advantage of this are few and far between. Most of the devices in the market currently are merely bridges for SATA M.2 drives to Thunderbolt 3, which would be limited by the SATA 6Gb/s interface.
However, this market gap seems poised to change. Today, we are taking a look at the TEKQ Rapide Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD, which advertises sequential transfer speeds up to 2.3 GB/s Read and 1.3 GB/s Write.
Subject: Storage | December 22, 2016 - 04:03 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: UFS 2.1, UFS, PS8313, PS8311, phison, nand, flash, controller
Following up on Micron's UFS 2.1 announcement, Phison has announced the launch of their own PS8311 UFS 2.1 controller:
For those unaware, UFS 2.1 is a much-anticipated replacement for eMMC, which is the equivalent of trying to run your laptop OS off of an SD Card. Fortunately, eMMC only appears in budget systems, but the transition to UFS 2.1 should bring the storage performance bar up considerably in those systems.
UFS Architecture Overview. Source: JEDEC
Devices following the Universal Flash Storage standard will enable less protocol overhead and more direct communication with the flash.
Looking at an older roadmap, we see Phison was relatively on target with the PS8311, with a faster PS8313 scheduled for later in 2017.
Subject: Storage | August 11, 2016 - 12:27 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, PS5008-E8/E8T, PS5008-E8, PS5007-E7, phison, PCIe 3.0 x2, NVMe, FMS 2016, FMS, E8
I visited Phison to check out their new E8 controller:
Phsion opted to take a step back from the higher performance PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe controllers out there, offering a solution with half the lanes. PCIe 3.0 x2 can still handle 1.5 GB/s, and this controller can exceed 200,000 random IOPS. Those specs are actually in-line with what most shipping x4 solutions offer today, meaning the E8 is more effectively saturating its more limited connectivity. Reducing the number of lanes helps Phison reduce the component cost of this controller to match the cost of typical SATA controllers while tripling the performance, greatly reducing the cost to produce NVMe SSDs.
In addition to 3D Flash support, the E8 is also a DRAM-less controller, meaning it has a small internal SRAM cache and has been architected to not need external DRAM installed on the PCB. DRAM-less means even lower costs. This can only be a good thing, since high performing NVMe parts at SATA costs is going to drive down the costs of even faster NVMe solutions, which is great for future buyers.
Subject: Storage | August 11, 2016 - 11:18 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: FMS, FMS 2016, Liqid, kingston, toshiba, phison, U.2, HHHL, NVMe, ssd
A relative newcomer this year at Flash Memory Summit was Liqid. These guys are essentially creating an ecosystem from a subset of parts. Let's start with Toshiba:
At Toshiba's booth, we spotted their XG3 being promoted as being part of the Liqid solution. We also saw a similar demo at the Phison booth, meaning any M.2 parts can be included as part of their design. Now let us get a closer look at the full package options and what they do:
This demo, at the Kingston booth, showed a single U.2 device cranking out 835,000 4k IOPS. This is essentially saturating its PCIe 3.0 x4 link with random IO's, and it actually beats the Micron 9100 that we just reviewed!
How can it pull this off? The trick is that there are actually four M.2 SSDs in that package, along with a PLX switch. The RAID must be handled on the host side, but so long as you have software that can talk to multiple drives, you'll get full speed from this part.
More throughput can be had by switching to a PCIe 3.0 x8 link on a HHHL form factor card:
That's 1.3 million IOPS from a single HHHL device! Technically this is four SSDs, but still, that's impressively fast and is again saturating the bus, but this time it's PCIe 3.0 x8 being pegged!
We'll be tracking Liqid's progress over the coming months, and we will definitely test these solutions as they come to market (we're not there just yet). More to follow from FMS 2016!
Subject: Storage | January 29, 2016 - 04:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: pny, CS2211, CS1311, tlc, mlc, phison, xlr8
Over at the SSD Review you can check out PNY's newest SSDs, the TLC based CS1311 and the faster MLC based CS2211 which offers ECC RAM and extra data security features as well as a copy of Acronis. Inside the CS2211 which is the drive featured in this review, you will find an 8-channel Phison PS3110-S10-X controller and 15nm Toshiba MLC, the cache is DDR3L-800, 256MB on the 240GB model and 512MB on the 480GB. This replaces PNY's original Silicon Motion powered XLR8 and it improves upon performance as well as offering a 4 year warranty. Check out all the benchmarks right here.
"Just last week we announced PNY's latest SSD products for the new year, the CS1311 and CS2211. It just so happens that today we have some in our hands for review."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Lexar USB 3.0 Portable SSD (256GB) @ SSD Review
- Synology DiskStation DS1515+ Network Attached Storage @ Modders-Inc
- Synology DS416 4-bay NAS @ techPowerUp
Subject: Storage | January 6, 2016 - 08:44 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: patriot, pci-e ssd, phison, mlc, CES 2016
Patriot is launching into PCI-E based storage with its new Hellfire line of solid state drives. While Patriot is more commonly known for its flash memory (USB drives and SD cards) and RAM DIMMs, it is not new to SSDs. This will be its first line of PCI-E=based SSDs, however. Two drives in the Hellfire series are currently planned for a release later this year and will come in M.2 NVME and PCI-E add-in-card (AIC) versions.
The company is not talking specifics yet, and we will not know full speeds and feeds or pricing for a few months. They did reveal a few scraps of information with the press release though. Both versions of the Hellfire drives (M.2 and AIC) will be powered by a Phison 5007 controller and will use MLC NAND flash. Further, the drives will come in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacities. The drives do differ greatly in performance with the Add-In-Card version having significantly better write and slightly improved read performance. Specifically, the M.2 NVME drive is rated at 2,500 MB/s reads and a mere 600 MB/s writes while the AIC version can hit 3,000 MB/s reads and 2,200 MB/s writes.
Patriot expects the Hellfire SSDs to be available by the end of Q1 2016. I welcome the increased PCI-E SSD competition which should help drive prices down further. Hopefully Patriot will release more details soon!
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Since their acquisition by Toshiba in early 2014, OCZ has gradually transitioned their line of SSD products to include parts provided by their parent company. Existing products were switched over to Toshiba flash memory, and that transition went fairly smoothly, save the recent launch of their Vector 180 (which had a couple of issues noted in our review). After that release, we waited for the next release from OCZ, hoping for something fresh, and that appears to have just happened:
OCZ sent us a round of samples for their new OCZ Trion 100 SSD. This SSD was first teased at Computex 2015. This new model would not only use Toshiba sourced flash memory, it would also displace the OCZ / Indilinx Barefoot controller with Toshiba's own. Then named 'Alishan', this is now officially called the 'Toshiba Controller TC58'. As we found out during Computex, this controller employs Toshiba's proprietary Quadruple Swing-By Code (QSBC) error correction technology:
Error correction tech gets very wordy, windy, and technical and does so very quickly, so I'll do my best to simplify things. Error correction is basically some information interleaved within the data stored on a given medium. Pretty much everything uses it in some form or another. Some Those 700MB CD-R's you used to burn could physically hold over 1GB of data, but all of that extra 'unavailable' space was error correction necessary to deal with the possible scratches and dust over time. Hard drives do the same sort of thing, with recent changes to how the data is interleaved. Early flash memory employed the same sort of simple error correction techniques initially, but advances in understanding of flash memory error modes have led to advances in flash-specific error correction techniques. More advanced algorithms require more advanced math that may not easily lend itself to hardware acceleration. Referencing the above graphic, BCH is simple to perform when needed, while LDPC is known to be more CPU (read SSD controller CPU) intensive. Toshiba's proprietary QSB tech claims to be 8x more capable of correcting errors, but what don't know what, if any, performance penalty exists on account of it.
We will revisit this topic a bit later in the review, but for now lets focus on the other things we know about the Trion 100. The easiest way to explain it is this is essentially Toshiba's answer to the Samsung EVO series of SSDs. This Toshiba flash is configured in a similar fashion, meaning the bulk of it operates in TLC mode, while a portion is segmented off and operates as a faster SLC-mode cache. Writes first go to the SLC area and are purged to TLC in the background during idle time. Continuous writes exceeding the SLC cache size will drop to the write speed of the TLC flash.
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Back in November of last year, we tested the Corsair Neutron XT, which was the first product to feature the Phison PS3110-S10 controller. First spotted at Flash Memory Summit, the S10 sports the following features:
- Quad-core controller - Quad-core CPU dedicates three cores just to managing flash and maintaining performance
- Maximum throughput and I/O - Offers speeds of up to 560 MB/s read and 540 MB/s write and 100K IOPs on read and 90 IOPs on write, saturating the SATA 6Gbps bus
- End-to-end Data Path Protection - Enterprise level CRC/ECC corrects internal soft errors as well as detecting and correcting any errors that may arise between the DRAM, controller, and flash
- SmartECC™ - Reconstructs defective/faulty pages when regular ECC fails
- SmartRefresh™ - Monitors block ECC health status and refreshes blocks periodically to improve data retention
- SmartFlush™ - Minimizes time data spends in cache to ensure data retention in the event of power loss
- Advanced wear-leveling and garbage collection
Corsair was Phison's launch partner, but as that was a while ago, we now have two additional SSD models launching with the S10 at their core:
To the left is the Kingston HyperX Savage. To the right is the Patriot Ignite. They differ in flash memory types used, available capacities, and the stated performance specs vary slightly among them. Today we'll compare them against the Neutron XT as well as a selecton of other SATA SSDs.