Phison's new PCIe 5.0 NAND controller paves the way for faster SSDs

nanoguy

Posts: 1,020   +14
Staff member
In brief: PCIe 5.0 SSDs for consumers have yet to land on the market, but manufacturers like Phison are hard at work developing controllers that will usher in the next generation of solid-state storage for enthusiasts who feel the need for speed.

The PCIe 5.0 standard was announced in 2019, right before PCIe 4.0 was finalized. As of today, PCIe 4.0 does little to improve performance even with the beefiest graphics card you can buy, but it has allowed SSD manufacturers to come up with some of the fastest consumer storage devices to date.

These drives reach speeds in excess of 7,000 megabytes per second, but as we've seen with Kioxia's prototype PCIe 5.0 SSD, it won't be long before we'll have access to NVMe drives that can reach over 14,000 megabytes per second. This is possible thanks to PCIe 5.0's 32 Gb per second of bandwidth per lane, which is double that of PCIe 4.0.

Phison says it's making progress on a next-generation SSD controller for M.2, U.3, E1.S, and E3.S form factors, which is aptly called E26 Gen5. The new customizable chip is based around Arm Cortex-R5 cores paired with an array of low-power accelerators collectively named CoXProcessor 2.0. It offers support for ONFI 5.x and Toggle 5.x NAND interfaces, as well as enterprise features like PCIe Dual Port, single root input/output virtualization (SR-IOV) and zoned namespaces (ZNS).

The company says it has avoided the use of several third-party IP blocks, which means it should have a faster time-to-market and better control over the firmware development than competitors like Silicon Motion. The E26 Gen5 chip will be manufactured using a 12 nm process node, and is already being sampled by motherboard and SSD manufacturers for testing and tuning. Phison doesn't have an exact date for when we can expect to see the first commercial products based on the new controller, but the company expects they'll land sometime in the second half of 2022.

This means the first PCIe 5.0 SSDs for consumers will arrive several months after Intel's Alder Lake release, which is expected to happen by the end of this month. As for what's next after that, Samsung is looking to copy and paste a human brain onto an SSD, and the Korean company will need all the speed it can get to make it happen.

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fps4ever

Posts: 758   +1,003
Seems like PCIE improvements are now more beneficial to communication connections/SSD's now than in previous generations that were more for graphics. Bottom line its all good!
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,843   +4,502
And them they'll put a tiny SLC cache and swap out the controller so those speeds only work for the first 50 MB of data, then the rest goes at sata III speeds.
 

Kosmoz

Posts: 461   +813
PCIe 5.0 SSDs, but not for games and gamers. Pffft....

With the exception of a few PS5 games, most games are still made for HDDs + SATA SSDs, so what PCIe 5.0 SSDs? For anything else maybe, but not for games... and for a long time.

I would actually be surprised if the industry standard becomes PCIe 3.0 SSDs in the next few years. And that because the consoles are pushing this forward, this time around and not PCs.

Right now I'm on SATA SSDs and I'm just fine and I'll upgrade to a PCIe 3.0 SSD when that becomes viable in games only. The advantage is not worth the cost of the upgrade today for PCIe 3.0, let alone 4.0. And 5.0 is a joke to be honest...
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 662   +503
From the looks of those coolers in the picture from the article, it looks like the need for cooling is already absurd.

I was thinking the same , but it is conditional on where you live and the time of the year .
Would be interesting to see reliability as a function of ambient temp and humidity .
1st google search - below - as I thought both high and low bad . Temps - probably cooler the better - before condensation from humidity

Humidity levels within server rooms and across the data centers should stay between 40 percent and 60 percent Relative Humidity (rH). The latter range will help to prevent ESD, lower the risk of corrosion (due to excessive condensation), and prolong the life expectancy of equipment.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,857   +1,914
How about lower prices and true improvements to the flash memory, optane has been here for ages and we are still stuck with overpriced rubbish.
I think it could be because most users don't need more than one SSD per system, because other than for OS and games which can be done on one drive, consumers aren't buying enough of them to bring the price down enough. Also less people need storage due to streaming and cloud storage so that probably doesn't help. *shrugs*

I'd love to be able to buy a better than average 1TB NVMe for <=$100CAD in the next 4-5 years. Gen 3 NVMe and two SATA drives will do in the meantime.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 662   +503
I think it could be because most users don't need more than one SSD per system, because other than for OS and games which can be done on one drive, consumers aren't buying enough of them to bring the price down enough. Also less people need storage due to streaming and cloud storage so that probably doesn't help. *shrugs*

I'd love to be able to buy a better than average 1TB NVMe for <=$100CAD in the next 4-5 years. Gen 3 NVMe and two SATA drives will do in the meantime.
If you are doing encoding , raw photo/video . massive data analysis - a NVMe is essential - but that may not be the std user - but I could think of another 1/3 dozen reasons people need the speed - once you got hard - you don't go floppy
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,912   +816
It's not a joke.
It's for servers.
It's not all about you.
As if computers only have one application. I have no more requirements than the poster, either, but I have no reason to criticize the tech. We all benefit from faster devices if it isn't directly. No need to criticize for criticism sake. That's just having a negative disposition. For what? For the hell of it?