FMS 2016: Phison E8 Controller - NVMe Speed at SATA Cost

Subject: Storage | August 11, 2016 - 12:27 PM |
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:

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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.

Press blast after the break.

SANTA CLARA, CA – August 9th, 2016

            Phison Electronics (8299.TW), industry leader in flash controller and NAND solutions, will be showcasing their latest flash controller technology at Flash Memory Summit 2016 for  consumer, embedded, and enterprise solutions which includes PS5008-E8/E8T PCIe Gen 3x2 NVMe controller, 3D NAND solutions for PCIe and SATA, design-in solutions ranging from IOT to digital signage, live demoing of Embedded Toolbox to prevent field failures, ServeTheHome demo of S10DC with remote evaluation services, and the Liqid Element, the world’s fastest Enterprise-class U.2 PCIe SSD powered by Phison’s PS5007-E7. 

For the consumer market, the PS5008-E8/E8T, Phison’s first PCIe Gen 3x2 NVMe controller, provides a cost-effective solution with three times the performance at the same cost as SATA. The two versions of PS5008 (E8: with DDR/DDRL; E8T: DRAM-less) provides great flexibility to customers on DRAM configurations. ThePhison E8 is able to provide up to 1600/1300 MB/s performance in sequential read/write operations and up to 240,000 / 220,000 IOPS in random read/write operations. The controller also features SmartECCTM, End to End Data Path Protection, and Host Memory Buffer support for excellent data integrity and reliability. E8 is currently in engineering sample stage and will be available by the end of the year. Phison is also enabling a full range of 3D NAND across Phison’s SSD controllers. 3D NAND support is readily available for Phison’s PS3111-S11T for SATA solutions, and by the end of 2016 support for PCIe and SATA solutions ranging from PS3110-S10, PS5008-E8/E8T, and PS5007-E7 controllers.

For the embedded verticals, Phison highlights their presence through a complete line of flash controllers for automotive, industrial, military and commercial applications. Controllers such as Phison’s S9, S10, and PS8225 will be on display at the Flash Memory Summit booth for their utilization in digital signage, thin client, and IoT markets. Attendees will be able to witness Phison’s featured Embedded Toolbox in action, as well as learn more about the numerous applications for the company’s embedded products.

For the Enterprise solutions, Phison’s S10DC combines high performance and low cost with Power Loss Protection demanded by data center environments. Recently received a 9.5/10 by ServeTheHome, the S10 DC’s high-performance, low-cost flash platform allows even greater volumes of data to transit from disk to flash in the data center environment. Developers and system integrators can sign-up to test the blazingly fast 24-drive Phison S10DC system in the independent DemoEval test facility to see the Phison difference for their demanding workloads.  In addition,Phison is partnering with Liqid Inc. in showcasing a sneak-peek of the “Industry’s highest performing U.2 SSD”, powered by Phison’s E7 PCIe Gen3x4 controller at thePhison booth.  

Phison will present their latest product solutions at the Flash Memory Summit from August 9th-11th, 2016, in booth 714 & 716.

About Phison Electronics:

Phison Electronics Corporation was established in November 2000 in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Beginning with the world’s first single-chip USB flash drive IC, Phison is a market leader in NAND Flash controllers and applications including USB, SD, eMMC, PATA, SATA, UFS, and PCIe. In 2010, the company shipped over 500 million controllers worldwide and topped 1 billion US dollars in sales revenue. As a total NAND flash solution provider, Phison also offers system and OEM services for major retail brand names. As used in this release, the terms “company” and “Phison” refer to PhisonElectronics Corporation.

For more information, visit http://www.phison.com

Source: Phison

August 11, 2016 | 05:52 PM - Posted by mooseknuckle (not verified)

So does anyone have insight into a consumer product connected to this in the near future?

August 11, 2016 | 10:01 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Phison ends up in a lot of stuff, but nothing confirmed just yet. 

August 11, 2016 | 10:18 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Was that auto correct or did you accidentally type "prison"?

August 12, 2016 | 12:58 AM - Posted by Hakuren

LOL, Prison. Anyway... I know it's late.

x2 does have merit of course, but manufacturers must come with models which support running more drives off one slot. That's the main problem of NVMe at the moment. Because of limited number of PCI-e slots, M.2/U.2 ports NVMe is not exactly 'storage friendly'. You can slap 3-4, OK 5 drives on one board if you're lucky and that's it. Considering that one x16 slot can handle 4x4 or 8x2 why nobody jumped with this up front to offer users a choice.

If new standard is to limit connectivity then I take AHCI any time. If I so desire I can connect right now up to 60 SSDs on a moment notice via 3 expanders.

August 12, 2016 | 10:06 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

My main issue has been sharing PCI lanes with graphics cards. Processor with 16 lanes you can put a graphics card in 8x4x4 configuration and you're only able to use 1 x4 NVMe drive. Almost forces me to go x99 chipset for a desktop with more than 1 NVMe drive.

August 12, 2016 | 02:50 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

They will probably start to set up systems such that you can plug multiple x4 devices into an x16 slot with just an interposer board. I assume some server boards can already do this. They may want to keep it as a server feature though. On of Alyn's other post showed server boards with a huge number of switches to allow for a massive number of u.2 SSDs to be connected. I don't know if anyone has made an x16 board with a switch or bridge to allow connection of 4 or more x4 devices yet. For the consumer space, even a single x4 device is usually overkill anyway.

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