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Phison S10 Quad-Core Performance SSD Controller Preview

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Jul 31, 2014 3:28 pm

Phison S10 Quad-Core Controller




At Computex, we sat down with Phison and talked about the new S10 controller. Since then, we've patiently waited to talk about it publicly. Here's what Phison has stated about the new S10 on the company website:



Phison PS3110 is a quad-core SATA-to-Flash micro-controller specially designed for various types of SATA module and embedded NAND applications. Supporting up to 8-channels and 32 CE in its NAND Flash interface, it is possible to achieve up to 100,000 IOPS. It also counts with support to TLC NAND Flash which makes PS3110 ideal to reach high storage capacities.


Controller Highlights

  • Compatible with SATA specification Version 3.2
  • Compatible with SATA I/II/III 1.5Gbps, 3Gbps, and 6Gbps interface
  • Configurable with 2Gb/4Gb/8Gb DDRIII Cache
  • Built-in enhanced up to 120bit/2KB ECC circuit (BCH)
  • Program RAM (Program Upgradable)


Physical Characteristics

  • Fabricated in 55 nm CMOS process
  • Available in 521-pin FBGA package
  • Operating Voltage : 0.9V~3.6V
  • Built-in Regulator that supports 3.3V/1.8V Flash I/O


NAND Flash Support

  • Supports 1x/1ynm flash
  • Supports interleave, 4-plane and 8-channel Flash access
  • Supports MLC/TLC large block (8k/16k page) NAND Flash Memory
  • MLC sequential R/W speed up to 540/530 MB/s


Other Features

  • Built-in static and dynamic wear-leveling
  • Power saving implemented
  • End-to-End Data Path Protection


For most, this is just a bunch of specs for a controller, but there are some interesting bits here. The first is the quad controller itself. Samsung uses three cores in the MEX controller used on the 840 EVO and 850 Pro. The S10 is also an 8-channel controller that can work with 4-plane flash, the really fast stuff.


Finally, Phison also quoted performance with MLC flash at 540 MB/s read and 530 MB/s write, both sequential ratings. Compared to some of today's hyper-class SSDs capable of delivering 560 MB/s sequential performance it just sounds OK, but those drives (there are only two of them) cost nearly $1 per GB.


Phison builds high quality controllers that are used in low-cost products. We don't have any retail pricing information because this is still a reference prototype design, but we suspect the performance bar will rise in the low-cost SSD category when these hit the market later this year.


Today, we're not just looking at datasheets and speculating, we have a S10 reference design in hand and just received the green light to talk about it, with some performance numbers! Let's take a quick look at the reference sample.

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