Marvell's new SSD controller has quad PCIe Gen3 lanes


— 6:00 AM on August 6, 2014

Marvell makes some of the most popular SSD controllers in the business, and its latest design looks very impressive indeed. The awkwardly named 88SS1093 shakes the shackles of Serial ATA in favor of a four-lane PCIe Gen3 interface with 4GB/s of bandwidth. It's targeted at datacenters and "extreme line client" SSDs, which probably means we'll see the thing pop up in a few consumer-oriented drives.

The controller supports version 1.1 of the NVM Express protocol designed specifically for PCIe SSDs. A triple-core processor runs the show, and the chip has "thermal optimization" to support slim 2.5" and M.2 drives. Some form of temperature-triggered clock throttling is probably involved.

Like pretty much every other SSD controller, the 88SS1093 has eight parallel NAND channels. It can address up to 2TB of NAND fabbed on nodes down to 15 nm. All the modern flash flavors are supported, including TLC configs and even the 3D stuff. And the PCIe implementation employs SRIS, which uses independent clocks to enable cheaper cabling. Sounds like a complete package to me.

The controller has completed "in-house SSD validation and third-party operating system and platform compatibility testing," according to Marvell, and it's now sampling to customers. Those SSD makers will ultimately decide when we start seeing products based on the chip. Let's hope we don't have to wait too long.

   
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