We got our first glimpse of Silicon Motion's next-gen SM2262 controller at last year's Flash Memory Summit. Since then we've been eagerly awaiting our chance to test an SSD based on this powerful controller. Well, that day is finally upon us. Intel's 760p represents our first hands-on with the SM2262 and this drive delivers the goods in a big way.
Silicon Motion's SM2262 controller is SMI's second go around with Intel and NVMe. Intel's 600p was their first M.2 NVMe SSD and it is powered by an SMI SM2260. The Intel 600p paired a Silicon Motion SM2260 controller with Intel 32-layer TLC flash and served up decent NVMe sequential read speeds for a super-low cost, but failed to deliver compelling overall performance.
SMI took the lessons learned from the SM2260 and developed the SM2262 with a focus on delivering Tier-1 NVMe performance at near SATA cost. As we like to do whenever a new controller makes its way into the lab, we have provided a factory spec sheet for the Silicon Motion SM2262:
The SM2262 controller comes in two versions. The SM2262 is the tame version and the SM2262EN is the all-out performance version. The drive we have in the lab today utilizes the SM2262 version but make no mistake the SM2262 is still a beast. Both controllers deliver similar random performance, but the EN version delivers substantially better sequential performance. Notable features include LDPC error correction (which greatly extends the endurance of NAND-flash), end-to-end data path protection, encryption, 8 NAND channels, NVMe 1.3 and best-in-class low power.
Intel's 760p Series pairs SMI's SM2262 controller with Intel's 64-layer TLC (Triple Level Cell) 256Gbit 3D flash.
Intel's 64-layer flash is based on floating gate technology with CMOS under array. Intel believes this is more efficient than competitive 3D NAND based on replacement gate technology. Advantages include higher areal density and better manufacturing efficiency that nets more GB per wafer, resulting in lower production cost per bit.
The SM2262 paired with Intel 64-layer TLC is a giant leap forward in both performance and power efficiency over the 600p series. The 760p delivers twice the performance of the 600p and does so with half the power consumption. Pairing the SM2262 with Intel 64-layer flash increases reliability and additionally allows for near SATA pricing. The 512GB model we are testing today has a super-low opening MSRP of $199 which is indeed in the SATA price range.
SMI controllers are supplied with or without firmware, so buyers can customize performance and features if they have a firmware engineering team. We didn't ask, but we assume the SM2262 controller that powers the 760p is running on proprietary Intel optimized firmware.
On paper the 760p looks dazzling, now let's get into the review and take a close look at the actual numbers.
Intel's 760p Series is available in five capacities: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB
- Sequential Read up to 3230 MB/s
- Sequential Write up to 1625 MB/s
- Random Read up to 340K IOPS
- Random Write up to 257K IOPS
- MTBF: 1.5 Million Hours
- Warranty: 5-Year Limited Warranty
- SLC caching
- End-to-End Datapath Protection
- Garbage Collection
Availability: 128GB-512GB available now, 1TB & 2TB Q1 2018.
MSRP Pricing: 128GB - $74, 256GB - $109, 512GB - $199.
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