Kioxia is close to releasing a PCIe 5.0 SSD that can hit 14,000 MB/s

nanoguy

Posts: 983   +14
Staff member
Something to look forward to: In the era of super-fast and relatively inexpensive PCIe 4.0 SSDs, it's hard to imagine why you'd need a faster storage drive. However, Kioxia is making it anyway—the company is close to releasing a PCIe 5.0 SSD that can deliver speeds of up to 14,000 megabytes per second, which is no small feat.

Only a few months ago, Seagate joined the PCIe 4.0 elite SSD club of Samsung and Sabrent with speeds of over 7,000 megabytes per second. Corsair was the latest to join the party this month with the MP600 Pro, which is overcompensating with a massive heat spreader.

Last year, Kioxia promised it would be the first to take things one step further with a new generation of SSDs built for the PCIe 5.0 age. This month, the company held a presentation at the China Flash Market Summit (CFMS) 2021, where it detailed what's coming from the Japanese company's labs in the coming months.

Kioxia's most touted innovation is BiCS Flash, a 3D NAND layering technology built in collaboration with Western Digital used in both companies' solid-state storage products for the past five years. The upcoming 6th generation BiCS technology accommodates 162 layers on a 40 percent smaller die than the previous generation 112-layer BiCS. The NAND cells can be programmed up to 2.4 times faster than before, allowing for 66 percent faster write speeds on average.

The company says stacking more NAND layers is not practical, so it's currently experimenting with two things to improve flash storage density and performance. The first is to use a 5-bit per cell (PLC) configuration, but doing so adds complexity for reading and writing operations. While this does improve density, it does so at the cost of endurance and performance. The second is to pack the layers more closely together using a CMOS Under Array (CUA) structure or even a CMOS Bonded Array (CBA) one.

Moving on, Kioxia says it's managed to solve most of the problems in adopting the PCIe 5.0 interface, from signal integrity to developing a 16-channel SSD controller that will debut in the upcoming 5th generation CM6 and CD7 SSDs. These will be available for sampling to enterprise clients sometime later this year and ship in volume next year. They'll be available in capacities between 1.6 and 30 terabytes, with endurance ratings between one to three drive writes per day (DWPD).

However, the most exciting aspect of these new drives is the performance. Kioxia says its 5th generation prototype SSDs are capable of up to 14,000 megabytes per second for sequential reads and up to 7,000 megabytes per second for sequential writes. A new controller leverages the 32 Gbps per lane that PCIe 5.0 offers over an x4 interface.

Compared to Kioxia's fourth-generation PCIe 4.0 CM6 SSD, the sequential read speed has doubled while the sequential write speed has seen a 67 percent uplift. The prototype drive appears to also excel at random performance, with 2,5 million IOPS in random reads, 290,000 IOPS in random writes, and 750,000 IOPS in a mixed scenario with 70 percent reads and 30 percent writes. These, too, are vast improvements over the previous generation CM6 SSD.

To be clear, Kioxia doesn't think PCIe 5.0 drives will replace PCIe 4.0 drives anytime soon. Instead, they will coexist with the older technology both in the data center and consumer devices for years to come.

As of writing, PCIe 4.0 drives are faster than most people need them to be. Still, with software technologies like DirectStorage on the way, it's easy to imagine we'll be craving for more as developers start implementing it into their games.

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winjer

Posts: 235   +901
Without Direct Storage, this is pointless.
On PC we are still bound by IO transfers being passed by the CPU.

Eventually, when MS finishes screwing around with UI, icons and round corners, they might have some time to finish and release Direct Storage.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,856   +4,046
I dont think these speeds will ever be necessary for standard consumers but it certainly is cool to watch. These drives are faster than DDR3.....
 

winjer

Posts: 235   +901
These drives are faster than DDR3.....

There were kits of DDR3 with 2800MT/s
That's 22.4 GB/s, in single channel. 44.8GB/s in dual channel.
Even a kit of DDR3 1866, could do 14.9GB/s just in single channel.

Although this SSD has an amazing transfer rate (theorical), it's still significantly slower than DDR3.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,856   +4,046
There were kits of DDR3 with 2800MT/s
That's 22.4 GB/s, in single channel. 44.8GB/s in dual channel.
Even a kit of DDR3 1866, could do 14.9GB/s just in single channel.

Although this SSD has an amazing transfer rate (theorical), it's still significantly slower than DDR3.
You're talking about high end ddr3, the vast majority of ddr3 sold was 1066 with 1600 being a not-so-close second
 

winjer

Posts: 235   +901
You're talking about high end ddr3, the vast majority of ddr3 sold was 1066 with 1600 being a not-so-close second

A kit of DDR3 1066 in dual channel can do 17 GB/s.
Even a very slow kit of DDR3 800 in dual channel can do 12.8GBs. Almost as fast as that SSD.
But let's remember that there were triple channel CPUs, on desktops. That's 19.2 GB/s for a very slow DDR3 800 kit.

But let me guess, dual and triple channel kits don't count.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,856   +4,046
A kit of DDR3 1066 in dual channel can do 17 GB/s.
Even a very slow kit of DDR3 800 in dual channel can do12.8GBs. Almost as fast as that SSD.
Most cosumer devices only ran single channel, not everything is enthusiast grade
 

MisterSpock

Posts: 20   +52
My first "gigantic" hard drive was 60GB or so in 1999-2000 for a cheap Presario. Now, the entirety of that can be processed in just over four seconds to a single drive.

I especially find this amusing because my 8088 and its 20MB drive would have probably taken about as long to write to the 60GB. Eh, maybe less time than that, but you get the idea.

Time to toss those ReadyBoost drives! :p
 

merikafyeah

Posts: 245   +179
I dont think these speeds will ever be necessary for standard consumers but it certainly is cool to watch. These drives are faster than DDR3.....
Bandwidth and throughput is one thing, but RAM is still an order of magnitude or two faster in terms of latency compared to NAND flash. 3D Xpoint was kind of the inbetween in terms of latency.
 

Revolution 11

Posts: 75   +84
I dont think these speeds will ever be necessary for standard consumers but it certainly is cool to watch. These drives are faster than DDR3.....
On the contrary, I think these drives will be very useful to standard consumers (in a few years once prices drop).

I can absolutely see the PS6 (and whatever Xbox decides its naming scheme is at the time) using PCI-E 5.0 SSDs in 6 to 8 years.

Although by then, I can see a PCI-E 6.0 standard coming out by then. Can't wait for 32 GB/s drives.
 

netman

Posts: 677   +267
It's about time the SSD speed gets a boost...But is far shy of Memory and CPU speed...!
And yes, contrary to what the article says, consumers need higher storage speed...!
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,856   +4,046
On the contrary, I think these drives will be very useful to standard consumers (in a few years once prices drop).

I can absolutely see the PS6 (and whatever Xbox decides its naming scheme is at the time) using PCI-E 5.0 SSDs in 6 to 8 years.

Although by then, I can see a PCI-E 6.0 standard coming out by then. Can't wait for 32 GB/s drives.
Well of course they're going to use whatever the current standards are. When I say useful, I'm saying that will the performance difference even be noticeable. Going from HDD to sata SSD was a huge difference. Then we were stuck at ~600mb/s for what seemed like forever after that.

But NVMEs are so fast that even large games feel like they load instantly on slow NVME drives. I definitely want one and will probably get a super fast drive when I upgrade but I don't think even I'd notice a difference.

The enterprise market and workstation users are a completely different story, though