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Micron 9100 MAX 2.4TB Enterprise PCIe NVMe SSD Review (Page 1)

Micron 9100 MAX 2.4TB Enterprise PCIe NVMe SSD Review

Micron drops the hammer with their new 9100 Series SSDs, featuring unmatched write performance combined with one of the industry's lowest price points.

By Jon Coulter on Jul 6, 2016 02:00 am CDT
Rating: 98%Manufacturer: Micron


It's been nearly three years since Micron introduced a new enterprise SSD. While others have been quick to jump on the NVMe train, Micron has been taking their time to do it right. Micron's new 9100 Series NVMe SSDs employ the NVMe software stack over a PCIe Gen3 x4 interface to bring nonvolatile memory as close as possible to the computer's processor. NVMe is architected from the ground-up to remove legacy layers of hard drive interfaces, taking full advantage of the speed and parallelism of solid state nonvolatile memory. NVMe lowers overall CPU overhead because NVMe has a simplified command set which minimizes the number of CPU clocks per I/O in comparison to AHCI. NVMe is designed to be future proof, with a protocol built for current and future non-volatile storage solutions. Previous AHCI interfaces supported only one SQ/CQ (Submission Queue/Command Queue), NVMe supports up to 64K separate SQ/CQs.


Micron's 9100 Series SSDs leverage Microsemi's (formerly PMC) ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) 16-core, 16-channel "Princeton" NVMe controller. Microsemi's ASIC NVMe controller is employed on many enterprise SSD designs, because of its highly customizable architecture. The customizable nature of the Microsemi controller allows Micron's engineering team to create solutions that are uniquely their own via proprietary firmware and software designs. Micron's 9100 Series NVMe SSDs are designed to meet the need for high-performance storage in today's datacenter. The 9100 SSD pairs Microsemi's NVMe controller with Microns own award-winning 16nm flash to deliver data fast and efficiently.

The 9100 family of SSDs are available in either read-centric (9100 PRO) or mixed-use (9100 MAX) classes. The 9100 has two endurance classes: the 9100 PRO for read-centric use at roughly one drive writes per day (DWPD); and the 9100 MAX for mixed-use workloads at about 3 DWPD. The PRO version comes in 800GB, 1.6TB and 3.2TB capacities; the MAX 1.2TB or 2.4TB. The difference in endurance as well as overall write performance between the two models, as far as we can tell, comes down to dedicated spare area. The read-centric 9100 Pro allocates a more conventional 20% of its total raw capacity as spare area dedicated for overprovisioning and redundant array of independent NAND (RAIN). The 9100 MAX allocates a whopping 40% of its total raw capacity as spare area dedicated for overprovisioning and RAIN.

Micron's 9100 Series SSD are a best fit for applications such as content delivery, database management, and high-performance computing. The device comes in two form factors: half-height/half-length (HHHL) add-in card (AIC) and 2.5-inch U.2 (small form factor 8639), both of which utilize a PCIe x4 Gen3 host interface. All capacities are available in both form factors.

Quick Specs


The Micron 9100 MAX 2.4 TB HHHL AIC we have on the bench today sports the following hardware and steady-state performance specifications: 4K Random Read/Write = 750K/300K. Sequential Read/Write = 3000/2000 MB/s. Power consumption = 27W Active/7W idle. Controller = Microsemi 16-Channel ASIC NVMe controller. NAND = Micron 16nm. Data DRAM Cache = 4GB. Onboard Power-loss Protection = Yes.

Micron warranties the 9100 MAX 2.4TB SSD for 9.6 Petabytes Written.

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Jon Coulter


Jon Coulter became a computer enthusiast about the time Windows XP launched. Originally Jon was into water cooling and competitively benching ATI video cards with modified drivers. Jon has been building computer systems for himself and others by request for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted his system with an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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