Samsung Crams Entire 512GB NVMe SSD Into Single BGA Chip Package
Subject: Storage | May 31, 2016 - 03:38 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: TurboWrite, Samsung, PM971-NVMe, BGA, 512GB, 48-layer, 32GB, 256Gbit
Have you ever checked out one of those laptops with the soldered-on eMMC SSD, where the manufacturer was basically checking the 'SSD' box for forgetting the 'Performance' box entirely? What if I told you that it was possible to fit an entire PCIe NVMe SSD with performance comparable to a 950 Pro into a package similar to those eMMC parts?
We have seen Samsung SSD internal PCBs shrinking over the past few revisions of their EVO line, but this is certainly taking things to the next level.
This new PM971-NVMe SSD is stacking 16 32GB 48-layer V-NAND dies lifted from their V2 850 EVO, stacking those *on top of* a 4GB of LPDDR4 20nm RAM die, which sits on top of Samsung's own ARM-based SSD controller. That's 768 layers of NAND, 4GB of NAND, and an NVMe controller all in a single BGA package! The complete package is rated at 1.5GB/s reads and 900MB/sec writes (SLC speed), and since everything is together and soldered straight to the mainboard of the system, thermal throttling should not be an issue since the system board would double as the heat sink. 512GB will not be the only capacity for this part - it will also be available to OEMs in 256GB and 128GB capacities (likely with lower performance specs as there will be reduced flash die counts in those parts, meaning reduced parallelism.
This is a big deal in a few different ways. Not only will it enable much higher performance in smaller mobile platforms, it is also the first manifestation of TurboWrite TLC/SLC caching with an NVMe linked controller (the 950 Pro was straight MLC). Being able to write straight to SLC does wonderful things for the 850 EVO's Latency Weighted Percentile results (bottom of page) even over a SATA bus, so I can only imagine what it would do over a PCIe link. The only potential downside would be that a laptop with PM971-NVMe installed would mean that it is not user replaceable, but then again, why would you want to?