With the fast development of SSD controllers and NAND flash memory, the PCIe 3.0 x 4 interface often used by M.2 SSDs is not fast enough for the sequential performance. Thus, PCIe 4.0 was released to boost the performance. This makes it possible for the storage drive vendors to provide fast SSDs. Phison released the PS5016-E16 and PS5019-E19 controllers to achieve fast speed and high performance.
The PCIe 4.0 x 4 interface comes out to replace the old PCIe 3.0 x 4 interface which is not good enough for sequential performance. The new interface helps to increase the bandwidth that is available to all the PCIe devices, such as GPUs and storage. As a result, the bandwidth can finally reach up to 8 GB/s from each direction.
Phison PCIe 4.0 SSD Controller Is Out
New controllers are needed for building M.2 SSDs which give support for the new PCIe 4.0 x 4 interface. Phison took the lead and released Phison PCIe 4.0 SSD controller to meet the needs.
At the Computex conference, Taiwanese Phison released a series of PCIe 4.0 NAND storage solutions, including PS5016-E16 and PS5019-E19 controllers for gaming and storage solutions which are developed for AIoT, automotive, edge computing applications, etc.
PS5016-E16 and PS5019-E19
The PS5016-E16 and PS5019-E19 host controllers attract many people’s attention.
- E16 is designed for high-end drives. It is equipped with eight 800 MT/s NAND channels so as to reach ultimate parallelism and the wonderful sequential read performance of up to 5 GB/s. (The write speed is up to 4.4 GB/s, and it has a lot to do with the actual chips and SSD capacity.) It supports up to 8TB (at least 2 DRAMs needs to be installed) and the total NAND capacity is up to 1/1,000.
- E19 is designed to be used on the mainstream drives. It is equipped with four NAND channels so as to be able to minimize the die size as well as the cost. Though E19 is placed below the top-of-the-range controllers, it does have all features (including the newest LDPC-based ECC) you can find in an E16 controller.
AMD is said to invest $15 million on the development of the PS5016-E16 controller and this process will probably last for 9 months. E16 is the first PCIe 4.0 compliant SSD controller released by Phison on the basis of a 28 nm process. The layout is similar to the previous E12 controller (with 8 channels and 32 enabled chips). The only difference in appearance is the new nickel plate; it is a heat sink of the controller to help keep SSDs at the proper temperature at all times.
With E16 becoming the first commercially SSD, the lane throughput will be doubled and usher will be added to new devices; those devices often have better performance and can be operated on fewer lanes when less power is used.
Recently, the E19 is tested in the latest 3D NAND flash memory devices. If this succeeds, the performance of the SSDs using the E19 will be higher than that of current high-end SSDs and the price will be reasonably low.
It has been more than 4 years since Phison started to develop the entry-level SATA controllers and the high-end NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory express) controllers. As the first PCIe 4.0 model on the market, the PS5016-E16 is able to power some of the fastest SSDs on the market. It is found at Computex that a lot of partners like Gigabyte and Corsair have developed and released some M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 drives powered by the Phison E16 controller. Later in this year, there will be more products available on the market. The 3D NAND devices designed by different manufacturers have been adopted by the SSD suppliers; in this way, the Phison PCIe 4.0 SSD controllers are able to be compatible with lots of components. So the competitive position of Phison has been strengthened greately.