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Phison S11 SSD Preview: Toshiba BiCS TLC & Micron 3D MLC

Phison S11 SSD Preview: Toshiba BiCS TLC & Micron 3D MLC
TweakTown is the first to test the Phison S11 SSD controller, BiCS TLC, and Micron 3D MLC. Take a close look in our preview of what's to come.
By: Jon Coulter | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Aug 15, 2016 1:00 pm

Introduction

 

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We got our first look at Phison's PS3111-S11 SSD controller, or S11, as we will refer to it going forward, at CES earlier this year. We didn't pay much attention after we were informed that the S11 is only a two-channel controller, and would typically power DRAM-less solutions. We did like the fact that the S11 is Phison's first controller to support LDPC (Low Density Parity Correction) error correction, but didn't expect it would deliver performance that would be more than something we would yawn at. Well, we are at full attention after having the privilege of testing some early engineering samples.

 

 

The two engineering samples we briefly tested are packed with firsts for the review community. This is the first time (as far as we know) that anyone in the review community has tested Phison's two-channel S11 SSD controller. This is also the first time (as far as we know) that anyone in the review community has tested a Toshiba 48-layer BiCS Gen 2 TLC flash array. Additionally, this is the first time (as far as we know) that anyone in the review community has tested a Micron 3D MLC flash array. A huge thanks to Phison Electronics for this opportunity.

 

 

Phison S11 SSD Controller Specs

 

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Phison's S11 single-core SSD controller supports the full gambit of current and forth coming flash technologies. The power sipping two-channel controller is capable of going DRAM-less for lower production cost and super low power consumption. Even in a DRAM-less configuration, S11-powered SSDs are capable of 95K/85K random read/write IOPS. LDPC error correction ensures extended NAND endurance and reliability.

 

 

Toshiba BiCS Gen 2 3D NAND Flash

 

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One of the drives we are testing employs Toshiba's BiCS Gen 2 3D TLC (3-bit per cell) flash. As previously mentioned, this is the first time this flash has been tested by the review community as far as we know. BiCS Gen 2 3D flash is a 48-layer design that offers increased performance, endurance, and density over planar TLC. Additionally, BiCS is more power efficient than planar flash. In a nutshell, Toshiba's BiCS flash is superior too planar flash in every way.

 

 

Micron 3D NAND Flash

 

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The other drive we are testing is-powered by Micron's new 3D MLC (2-bit per cell) flash. Again, as far as we know, this is the first time a Micron 3D MLC flash array has been tested by the review community. Micron's 32-layer 3D flash is the first 3D NAND flash to use a floating gate cell. Micron feels that using this proven technology ultimately increases the quality and reliability of their 3D flash. Micron employs a unique CMOS under array design which reduces the die size to enable the highest Gb/mm2 densities on the market today.

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