PCIE 5.0 SSDs are speed limited by NAND memories

Maximum sequential read performance of SSDs is in the range of 10Gbps or just above

Corsair, Gigabyte and Goodram announced M.2 format SSDs based on Phison E26 controller with PCIe 5.0 x4 interface, currently the only one in this pattern. The curious thing is that the reading speed of SSDs will be limited by 3D NAND memories. Corsair and Goodram SSDs reach speeds of up to 10 Gbps, while Gygabite’s storage device achieves speeds of 12.4 Gbps.

This occurs because no commercially available NAND flash memory is fast enough to saturate the performance of the Phison E26 controller. The Phison controller model PS5026-E26 has eight NAND channels, the standard for SSDs. To saturate the M.2 PCIe 5.0 x4 connection standard, a bidirectional speed of 15,754 Gbps is required. To reach this value, 3D NAND memory with an interface of 2400 MTps is needed, and currently the models use 128-layer NAND memories with an interface of 1,600 MTps.

Micron launched 3D NAND chip with 2400 MTps

Manufacturers are already developing solutions to overcome the limitations of NAND memories. Micron took the lead and launched the 232-layer 3D NAND chip and 2400 MTps interface. But then the problem is solved? in reality it is not. All tests with Gigabyte SSDs that reached speeds of 12.4 Gbps were performed with Micron’s new FLASH memory.

This means that the new NAND models still can’t work perfectly on the 2400 MTps interface, although they work correctly with 1600 MTps. This will delay the mass production of the devices until all issues are resolved. According to sources consulted by Tom’s Hardware, the most optimistic expectation is for this to occur in early 2023.

For now, SSDs based on the Phison E26 controller will continue to reach speeds of 10 Gbps or so. It should still take some time for the storage devices to reach the full speed of PCIe 5.0 x4. Even so, the fact that 3D NAND memories with 232 layers and 2400 MTps interface already exist, is a sign that the industry will reach all the speed that M.2 PCIe 5.0 slots offer.

Overclocker reaches 8 GHz on all performance cores of a Core i9-13900K

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CPU joins the select group of processors that have reached more than 8 GHz

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Source: Tom’s Hardware

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