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The Micron 9100 MAX 2.4TB U.2 Enterprise SSD Review - P3700 Killer

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Micron
Tagged: U.2, ssd, pro, pcie, NVMe, micron, MAX, HHHL, 9100

Internals, Testing Methodology and System Setup

Internals:

First lets get the outside taken care of:

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Note the 'bulges' in the housing for the controller and power loss capacitor. More on those shortly.

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Cracking open the housing we find a pair of PCBs. I'm always amazed at the way SSD makers can origami their HHHL PCIe parts into these tiny 15mm housings.

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Everything removed and laid out. Now for a closer look.

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The portion normally sandwiched together contains huge tracks of RAM and 16nm NAND flash.

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...and on the other side, we find even more flash and RAM. In total, this 2.4TB (addressable) SSD comes with 4TB (32x 256GB packages) of installed flash! The overprovisioning is what enables the higher sustained random performance and endurance figures specific to the 9100 MAX Series (vs. the 9100 PRO Series). Total RAM comes to 512MB x 9 = 4.6GB.

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This capacitor is responsible for ensuring there is enough power remaining to properly preserve any in-flight updates to the Flash Translation Layer (FTL) during an unexpected power loss.

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...and finally, we come to the heart of the 9100 MAX. This PMC (now Microsemi) PM8604 NVMe1032 16-channel controller is the driving force behind many of today's modern enterprise parts.

Testing Methodology

This is our first review using a purpose-built enterprise testing suite. We will cover the methodology further into the review and welcome your feedback on our process and presentation.

Test System Setup

We have several storage testbeds, but for this piece we used the same setup used in our 5-way SSD 750 RAID testing. It is not server-class hardware, but it is a reasonable equivalent that allows us to push the CPU to higher clock speeds than server hardware would normally be capable of. This helps shift the burden / bottlenecks to the NVMe PCIe SSDs under test.

PC Perspective would like to thank Intel, ASUS, Corsair, Kingston, and EVGA for supplying some of the components of our test rigs. 

Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7 5960 @ 4.5 GHz
Motherboard ASUS X99 Deluxe
Memory 16GB Micron DDR4 @ 3333
Hard Drive G.Skill 32GB SLC SSD
Sound Card N/A
Video Card GeForce 210
Video Drivers GeForce
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version N/A
Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro X64 (update)
  • PCPer Enterprise Storage Test Suite 0.95 (beta)
  • PACED Latency/IO Percentile and QoS

July 6, 2016 | 06:56 PM - Posted by madison214

Allyn:

Are you sure these are bootable? Thought I read somewhere Micron claimed "you are on your own" if you try and boot to the 9100's...

July 6, 2016 | 07:55 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

There's no reason they shouldn't be really, but the system needs to support NVMe boot. Micron isn't on the hook to support it if it doesn't work, though. 

July 7, 2016 | 07:20 PM - Posted by jtAJ (not verified)

pretty good performing drive. just to mention one thing however, p3700 was out few yrs ago.. so with this drive being out, we'd probably see intel doing some xpoint nand soon no?

July 13, 2016 | 11:44 AM - Posted by anonymous (not verified)

DC really is an entirely different universe from consumer. Price point comparison isn't pertinent seeing as how DC customers typically have quotes dependant on Quantity of order and specifications needed, not to mention the hand tailoring for the customer Device to interface with the solution.

July 6, 2016 | 10:09 PM - Posted by Pixy Misa (not verified)

That's a pretty impressive bit of hardware. Can't wait to see the 3D-NAND versions in the future, which should be even better.

At work we were paying $7/GB for enterprise SSDs just a few years ago, and they had about 10% of the performance of this one.

July 10, 2016 | 07:03 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Allyn,

The last page reads:

"Conclusion, Pricing, RSTe, and Final Thoughts"

Were you going to write something about RSTe too?

MRFS

July 19, 2016 | 12:36 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Oops. It was late :). Fixed, and thanks!

July 22, 2016 | 05:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

WANT AD:
Allyn Malventano Cloning Device
Must reproduce all DNA sequences exactly.
Minimum quantity: 1,000 (initially)
for BETA testing. Larger volume orders
to follow after CERTIFICATION.
Inquire within.
MRFS
lol :)

August 1, 2016 | 12:58 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Actually, I'll take 5!

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