Phison announced that its first controller platform has a PCIe Gen 5 interface with a data transfer rate of 32 GT/s per channel. The first batch of SSDs based on the E26 series platform will arrive in the second half of 2022, mainly for high-end client PCs and enterprise-level storage devices.
In terms of hardware, Phison’s E26 controller will be based on the Arm Cortex-R5 core and will be equipped with a dedicated accelerator belonging to the company’s CoXProcessor 2.0 software package. The controller will support all modern and upcoming 3D NAND memories with ONFI 5.x and Toggle 5.x interfaces, with a data transfer speed of up to 2400 MT/s. Phison’s E26 is designed for enterprise SSDs and will also support PCIe dual-port connection of U.3 drives, single-root input/output virtualization (SR-IOV) and zone namespace (ZNS) functions.
Considering that the implementation cost of the high-speed PCIe 5.0 interface is quite high, it is expected that SSD manufacturers will mainly focus on enterprise-level SSDs with PCIe Gen 5.Phison is no exception. Its E26 platform is flexible enough to solve the M.2 driver (which may belong to the client PC). The best solid state drive When they are available) and entry-level servers, U.3 drives for mission-critical and high-availability machines, and E1.S/E3.S for high-density all-flash storage arrays.
Phison emphasized that the E26 controller eliminates the use of some IP blocks that are usually licensed from third parties (the company did not disclose which ones), which naturally eliminates the payment of licensing fees to the developers of the appropriate IP.
Phison has successfully taped out the E26 controller using 12nm process technology and will begin sampling the platform with selected motherboard partners to enable them to adjust their electrical signal links, command timing and BIOS settings to ensure Drive compatible with upcoming products. At the same time, the company’s engineers are working hard to develop firmware for the E26, which now exists in the form of an FPGA.
Due to the higher data transfer speed, compared to PCIe 3.0 and 4.0 platforms, platforms that support PCIe 5.0 are more difficult to build. At high data rates, interference becomes a major problem for long distances, so signal strength becomes critical.In order to build a suitable PCIe Gen5 platform for the enterprise space, system developers will need to use multiple PCIe 5.0 redrivers (among which Phison recently started offering) To ensure signal integrity. For this reason, system designers must obtain samples of PCIe 5.0 SSDs as soon as possible to ensure that their machines work with them.
Phison expects that the first SSDs based on its E26 series of controllers will be available in the second half of 2022. Keep in mind that Phison has not yet started working with system manufacturers on its E26-based SSD samples, and it is expected that actual drives will be on the market sometimes at the end of 2022.