We've seen faster and faster SSDs over the past decade, and while the current common interface is PCIe 3.0 x4, SSD controllers still have a hard time saturating the available bandwidth. This is due to other factors like power consumption constraints of the M.2 form factor as well as the controllers not being sufficiently optimized to handle IO requests at a consistently low latency. This means there is plenty of room for improvement, and with that, we have two new NVme SSD controllers out of Marvell:
Above is the block diagram for the 88SS1100, an 8-Channel controller that promises higher performance over Marvell's previous parts. There is also a nearly identical 88SS1084, which drops to four physical channels but retains the same eight CE (chip enable) lines, meaning it can still talk to eight separate banks of flash, which should keep performance reasonable despite the halving of the physical channels available. Reducing channels to the flash helps save power and reduces the cost of the controller.
Marvell claims the new controller can reach 3.6GB/s throughput and 700,000 IOPS. Granted it would need to be mated to solid performing flash in order to reach those levels, that shouldn't be an issue as the new controllers increase compatibility with modern flash communication protocols (ONFi 4.0, Toggle 3.0, etc). Marvell's NANDEdge tech (their name for their NAND side interface) enters its fourth generation, promising compatibility with 96-layer and TLC / QLC flash.
Specs for the 8-Channel 88SS1100. 88SS1084 is identical except the BGA package drops in size to 12mm x 13.5mm and only requires 418 balls.
Rounding out the specs are the staples expected in modern SSD controllers, like OTP / Secure Drive / AES hardware crypto support, and NVMe 1.3 compliance for the host end of the interface.
While the two new parts are 'available or purchase now', it will take a few months before we see them appear in purchasable products. We'll be keeping an eye out for appearances in future SSD launches!
Marvell Launches New Client NVMe SSD Controller Family for Emerging 96-Layer NAND-Based SSDs
Marvell’s sixth generation of NVMe-based controllers bring leading performance, endurance and reliability to mainstream and high-performance PC client and edge computing applications
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (June 5, 2018) – Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL), a leader in storage, networking and connectivity semiconductor solutions,today announced its latest NVM Express® (NVMe™) solid-state drive (SSD) controller family for mainstream and high-performance PC client and edge computing SSDs. The Gen 3×4 PCIe® SSD controllers, the 4-channel 88SS1084 and 8-channel 88SS1100, bring leading performance, endurance and reliability to the industry and will help broaden the adoption of NVMe SSDs across emerging client and edge computing applications. The controllers integrate Marvell’s fourth generation of NANDEdge™ technology, offering the advanced error correction capabilities to address the increasing demands required to enable future SSD solutions with emerging 96-layer triple level-cell (TLC) and quad level-cell (QLC) NAND architectures.
As gaming, video-on-demand, CAD, imaging, photography and video surveillance proliferate and scale, NVMe SSDs can meet the increasing storage performance and capacity requirements that these end use applications seek. The new Marvell® client NVMe SSD controller family can provide up to 3.6GB/s of bandwidth and up to 700,000 input output per second (IOPS). The 88SS1084 and 88SS1100 devices can save system power consumption by supporting lower voltage NAND devices and LPDDR4 DRAM components. These features enable PCs and edge computing devices to process and store increasingly data-intensive workloads more quickly and reliably.
In addition, the 88SS1084 and 88SS1100 use a common hardware and firmware controller architecture with Marvell’s recently announced data center and enterprise NVMe controllers, the 88S1088 and 88S1098. The common architecture enables SSD makers to leverage development efforts across their growing and widening SSD product families, and bring them to market much faster with lower development costs. Specifically, SSD makers can re-use the core differentiating elements of their firmware code base across the Marvell portfolio of NVMe and SATA SSD controllers to produce comprehensive SSD product families optimized for client, data center and enterprise segment requirements.
“The NVMe client market is expected to grow 27% CAGR over the next five years as new SSD applications emerge and the overall PC client market transitions from SATA to NVMe,” said Mark Geenen, president of market research firm TRENDFOCUS. “The new Marvell client NVMe product family extends the company’s SSD controller portfolio and is architected to enable the next-generation SSDs built on 96-layer TLC and QLC NAND.”
“We are excited to grow our strong collaboration with Marvell to enable our next-generation BiCS FLASH Gen.4 devices with its latest family of SSD controllers,” said Hiroo Ohta, technology executive at Toshiba Memory Corporation. “Marvell’s common SSD hardware and firmware controller architecture will help our mutual customers accelerate time to market of their SSD solutions and position them for market share gains across all segments.”
“Marvell is expanding and broadening our leading portfolio of NVMe SSD controllers to help our customers address the growing amount of diversifying SSD product opportunities with emerging 3D TLC and QLC NAND components,” said Nigel Alvares, vice president of SSD and Data Center Storage Solutions at Marvell. “Our common SSD hardware and firmware controller architecture spanning our client, data center and enterprise products enables our customers to quickly develop tailored SSDs for each of these segments with minimal incremental engineering effort and achieve optimal return on investment of their precious firmware engineering resources.”
Marvell has been investing in SSD controllers since 2007 and released its first SSD controller in 2009. Marvell is now on its sixth generation of NVMe-based controllers and its eighth generation of PCIe-based ones. The newest NVMe SSD controller family builds on Marvell’s legacy of more than 20 years’ experience in hard disk drive (HDD) controller storage technology, complex system-level system-on-chip (SoC) design, advanced error correction algorithms, and low-power architectures.
The 88SS1084 and 88SS1100 SSD controllers are available for purchase now. For more information on the new Marvell client SSD controller family, please visit: http://www.marvell.com/storage