Marvell tunes its latest NVMe SSD controller for tablets and convertibles

— 12:14 PM on December 8, 2014

In August, Marvell introduced a potent PCIe SSD controller with four Gen3 lanes and support for the NVM Express protocol. Today, it's back with a toned-down version designed for slim tablets, convertibles, and "Chrome devices." The new chip is also destined for "value-line client" SSDs, so it could pop up in drives suitable for desktop PCs.

Source: Marvell

The 88NV1140 has a single Gen3 lane with 1GB/s of peak interface bandwidth—the same maximum speed as the dual-lane Gen2 link in Intel's 9 Series chipsets. It's powered by dual ARM Cortex-R5 CPU cores, and it supports the AHCI and NVMe protocols. There's no word on the number of memory channels, but we've asked Marvell for clarification.

Thanks to NANDEdge error correction inherited from Marvell's latest SATA SSD controller, the new silicon works with TLC and 3D NAND in addition to the usual MLC and planar varieties. It's fabbed on a 28-nm process and comes on a tiny 8 x 8 mm package. Drives can be built on form factors as small as M.2 2230, which has a miniscule 22 x 30 mm footprint. The controller can also be deployed on multi-chip packages with integrated SRAM, removing the need for an external DRAM chip.

Marvell says the 88NV1140's NVMe implementation has "passed in-house SSD validation and third-party operating system and platform compatibility testing." The AHCI plumbing is apparently still awaiting approval, as is the controller's 6Gbps SATA twin, the 88NV1120.

Update: Marvell has confirmed that the controller has dual NAND channels.

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