JEDEC Announces UFS 3.1 Standard with Performance And Power Efficiency Improvements
UFS 3.1 Brings Additional SSD Features To Mobile Flash Storage Enabling Higher Real-World Performance and Power Savings
The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association recently published an updated standard for Universal Flash Storage bring the technology up to UFS version 3.1 with JESD220E and an optional JESD220-3: UFS Host Performance Booster (HPB) extension. The new standard maintains the same theoretical maximum performance as UFS 3.0 but introduces several SSD-like features that will bring up real world performance and improve battery life on mobile devices.
While JEDEC has the full specification behind a paywall, the standards organization outlined several improvements over the UFS 3.0 standard from 2018 including Write Booster, DeepSleep, and Performance Throttling Notification. Write Booster is a feature allowing UFS storage devices to utilize a portion of the flash as a pseudo SLC cache to amplify write speeds. DeepSleep allows the UFS storage to enter a low power state which JEDEC notes will be most beneficial on lower cost devices with shared voltage regulation between UFS and other components. Finally, UFS 3.1 introduces a feature that allows the UFS storage to notify the host system when performance is being throttled due to overheating issues which should result in more consistent drive performance.
The optional UFS 3.1 extension outlines “Host Performance Booster” which is the ability to cache the logical to physical address map in the host system’s DRAM resulting in improved (particularly random) read performance along with possible battery life savings especially as UFS capacities continue to rise. AnandTech notes that Host Performance Booster could offer up to 67% higher read performance which will certainly be welcomed by future flagship smartphones and tablets that are increasingly expected to run more sophisticated software and be users’ main computing devices.
While UFS 3.1 offers up several new features that place UFS closer than ever to SSDs used in desktops and laptops, the interface and maximum theoretical performance remains unchanged versus UFS 3.0. Specifically, JEDEC has continued the collaboration with the MIPI Alliance for its full duplex serial LVDS interface outlined by MIPI M-PHY version 4.1 for the physical layer (with 8b/10b encoding) and MIPI UniPro version 1.8 for the transport layer. The dual lane HS-G4 interface features up to 11.6 Gbps data rates per lane for a combined 23.2 Gbps (2.9 GB/s) theoretical maximum. UFS, unlike eMMC uses a serial interface and supports tagged command queueing allowing for simultaneous read and write operations.
With the UFS 3.1 standard officially launched, expect to see mobile, automotive, and other embedded devices announced with support for the faster, more power efficient storage particularly next generation flagship smartphones and tablets. Hopefully Mobile World Congress and Computex will provide some clues on UFS 3.1 adoption this year.
“The development of UFS 3.1 is a prime example of the ongoing commitment within JEDEC to continually improve and enhance JEDEC standards to meet the needs of the industry and, ultimately, the consumer,” said Mian Quddus, Chairman of the JEDEC Board of Directors and the JC-64 Committee for Embedded Memory Storage and Removable Memory Cards. He added, “The new features introduced with UFS 3.1 and UFS HPB will offer product designers greater flexibility in managing power consumption and enhancing device performance.”