UPDATE 8/24: As it turns out, the 3.5W figure referes to power consumption of the controller alone, not the whole SSD. The story has been updated accordingly. We also clarify power consumption of Phison E26-based drives.

Virtually all PCIe Gen5 SSDs released to date are relatively power-hungry and require a massive cooling system, effectively preventing their installation into compact desktops and notebooks. But Silicon Motion's next-generation SM2508 SSD platform promises to change that and enable ultra-high-performance drives with a PCIe 5.0 interface and lower power consumption due to a controller that consumes 3.5W. The company is showcasing prototypes of its PCIe Gen5 client drives at the Flash Memory Summit 2023.

The Silicon Motion SM2508 SSD controller features eight NAND channels supporting interface speed of up to 3600 MT/s per channel and capable of delivering sequential read and write speeds of up to 14 GB/s as well random read and write speeds of up to 2.5 million IOPS, which is comparable to capabilities of enterprise-grade SSDs with a PCIe 5.0 x4 interface. 

Perhaps the most critical aspect of the SM2508 controller is its reduced power consumption, which is around 3.5W, according to Silicon Motion. SMI does not disclose whether 3.5W is idle, average, or peak power consumption of the controller. But reasoning things out, 3.5W seems to be too high for peak, and even if it is average power consumption, it is considerably lower when compared to the average power consumption of PCIe Gen5 SSDs based on the Phison PS5026-E26 controller (around 10W), which is obvious given that we are comparing consumption of the controller to power consumption of a drive. Phison says that its E26 controller consumes around 5W and another 5W is used by 3D NAND chips and DRAM, so the difference between power consumption of the controllers is not that significant. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to compare power consumption of actual drives based on the SM2508 and PS5026-E26.

The fastest 3D NAND flash memory devices currently feature a 2400 MT/s interface. Using such memory is crucial to fully saturate a PCIe 5.0 x4 interface and deliver sequential read/write performance of 13 – 14 GB/s. Support for a 3600 MT/s ONFI/Toggle DDR interface will allow the building of ultra-fast SSDs without using many memory devices, which is essential as next-generation 3D TLC devices are expected to have capacities of 1 Tb and larger.

Silicon Motion does not disclose many details about its SM2508, but we know from unofficial sources that the chip is made on TSCM's 12FFC (12 nm-class, compact low-power production node) and has been sampling since January 2023. Meanwhile, the company has targeted late 2023 – early 2024 as the launch timeframe for its consumer PCIe Gen5 SSD platform.

In addition to demonstrating its first client PC-bound SM2508-based SSDs at the FMS 2023, Silicon Motion is showcasing its MonTitan turnkey enterprise PCIe Gen5 x5 SSD solutions based on its SM8366 controller introduced last year. The SM8366 controller features 16 NAND channels at 2400 MT/s and can enable SSDs with capacities of up to 128 TB that offer up to 14 GB/s sequential read/write performance and up to 3M/2.8M random read/write performance. Samples of MonTitan SSDs will be demonstrated at the FMS 2023.

Source: Silicon Motion

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  • LiKenun - Thursday, August 10, 2023 - link

    The Ryzen 7 5800X3D can push 141,467 MB/s on an AES encryption benchmark. And that’s the slowest of what was measured.

    The Ryzen 9 7950X hit 386,019 MB/s. Suppose you divided that evenly among the 16 cores, each one could do 24,126 MB/s.

    We’re fine until PCIe 6.0.

    Source: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-ryzen-9-7...
    The specific chart: https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/ujsvMFT48ZEpZbhB...
  • egan_varley - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    I was talking about laptops.
    Imagine a 4 cores CPU with 15W TDP trying to encode AES at 14GB/s.
  • LiKenun - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    A low-power CPU would have no business with four-laned PCIe 5.0 storage—at least not this generation. The PCIe generation support goes hand in hand with the capabilities of the CPU. I highly doubt a CPU with such asymmetrical support would even exist on the market. Those mobile CPUs which are PCIe 5.0 capable are also powerful enough to push more than 14 GB/s of AES encryption/decryption. Those that can’t, support slower generations of PCIe.

    You can confirm by perusing a table of CPUs on the market and what PCIe generation they support. Even within the Ryzen 7000 mobile product stack, there are CPUs with support for only PCIe 3.0.
  • meacupla - Saturday, August 12, 2023 - link

    4 core 15W TDP?

    Raptor Lake U series (ie: i7-1355U, i3-1315U), that only supports PCIe Gen4 x8 off the CPU, and Gen3 x12 off the PCH.
    Alderlake-N (ie n200) only supports up to Gen3 x9 off the PCH.
    Ryzen 5 7540U (it's a 6 core, but there is no 4 core option) only supports up to Gen4 x16

    If I had to guess PCI Gen5 eats a lot of power.
  • back2future - Thursday, August 10, 2023 - link

    Is there a general rule for a difference in IOPS from a e.g. 1M to 2.5M on bandwidth (Does this number need transfer block sizes for conversion into bandwidth GB/s)?

    With simple conversion bandwidth=iops/block size
    512bytes requires 28M IOPS for 14GB/s
    4kB ~3.5M
    above 6kB 2.5M is sufficient for sustained 14GB/s (if heat transfer is capable for 10-15W through 17-35cm^2 towards mainboard pcb and air flow)?
  • back2future - Thursday, August 10, 2023 - link

    sorry formula is wrong for bandwidth:
    bandwidth(MB/s) = IOPS * (block size for each IO) / 1024
    e.g. 2500000*4kB/1024 = 9765.625MB/s
  • RainbowDash - Thursday, August 10, 2023 - link

    Random R/W IOPS implies 4kB block size. I think it’s specified by JESD219.
  • tonsui - Friday, August 11, 2023 - link

    I believe achieving a GEN5 peak power consumption of 3.5W on a 12nm process is not feasible. A reasonable explanation is that firmware can apply proactive power management, such as utilizing LPDDR, specifically tailored for a fixed testing scenario to attain this goal.
  • Musclegaragefitness - Tuesday, August 22, 2023 - link

    "Silicon Motion's move towards PCIe Gen5 SSDs with an astonishingly low 3.5W power consumption is a game-changer! This advancement not only promises blazing-fast speeds but also energy efficiency - a win for both performance enthusiasts and eco-conscious users. It's incredible to see the constant evolution in SSD technology!"

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