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ADATA M.2 SSDs Performance Preview and the NGFF Story - NGFF in SATA III Form

ADATA M.2 SSDs Performance Preview and the NGFF Story
Thanks to old and new friends, we managed to piece together the parts needed to get a M.2 (NGFF) preview together before anyone else, and wrap our heads around how all of this is going to roll out.
By: | m.2 SSDs in Storage | Posted: Jun 9, 2013 7:09 pm

NGFF in SATA III Form

 

With all of that said, we still managed to get our hands on two early NGFF samples. Both are electrically SATA III and worked well in the ASUS Z87 Maximus Extreme VI motherboard.

 

You have to excuse the images. The Taipei office isn't setup for on-the-spot testing like our US offices. We'll have proper reviews soon.

 

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Both drives are from ADATA. The first (top) is based on the LSI SandForce architecture and uses a SF-2281 controller paired with 128GB of flash. The second (bottom) drive uses a Jmicron JMF-667 controller paired with a NANYA DRAM buffer and 32GB of NAND flash.

 

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The order number on the LSI based model is AXNS360E-128GM-B.

 

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There are four NAND flash chips, two on each side.

 

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The LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller is a familiar sight, but this is the new B02 stepping with DEVSLP. We're not able to test DEVSLP in Taipei, but the first thing slated for testing when I get to my office is a proper test.

 

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The ADATA order number for the smaller NGFF drive is AXN34N-32GB-B. This model uses a Jmicron JMF-667 controller with just two NAND flash chips.

 

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You'll notice this drive is smaller than the first, just 40mm compared to the 60mm drive using the SandForce controller. The NGFF spec at last count had more than a few variations, but eventually the number will come down.

 

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The ASUS Z87 Maximus Extreme VI motherboard ships with a daughter board that houses the NGFF slot and a populated Wi-Fi adapter that uses the new ac variant. The Wi-Fi slot is on the other side of the daughter board. We removed a cosmetic cover to get a better look at the NGFF slot.

 

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The NGFF SSD just slides into the slot without a retention mechanism.

 

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The daughter board then secures to the motherboard. The ASUS board is electrically compatible with both SATA and PCIe NGFF SSDs. The PCIe 2.0 lane count is only x1, though. Higher lane count drives should work with the board just fine, but operate at reduced speeds.

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