UNH-IOL Certifies New NVMe SSDs, Including Some Surprises

The University of New Hampshire's InterOperability Laboratory has certified several new NVMe SSDs in the past month. The list was just updated and gave us a glimpse of some new products we may see at Flash Memory Summit, including some tasty surprises.

The list is comprised of eight products. Some of the SSDs we already have in the lab for testing, but a few come as a surprise. UNH-IOL tests NVMe products for conformance and for compatibility with other products. (I'm sure that's just the beginning of what happens in the UNH lab. You can read about the NVMe Integrator's List Policy v1.2 here.)

We have NDAs in place that muzzle us with some of the products in the list, and we were not able to find additional information on a few others, but two products stand out from the rest.

The first is an unannounced Intel PCIe NVMe datacenter SSD. The SSD DC P3608 Series is quite a bit different than Intel's previous NVMe offerings. This drive is actually two SSDs in one add-in-card (AIC). The power comes from the PCIe slot for both SSDs, but the system sees two drives, each with a PCIe 3.0 x4 connection. The new Intel RSTe driver allows the system to run multiple PCIe SSDs in RAID 0, a feature introduced with the Skylake chipset. It is backwards compatible with BIOS and driver updates.

The new Intel SSD DC P3608 delivers up to 5 GB/s of sequential read performance. That doubles Intel's previous NVMe read performance to date. The sequential write speed reaches up to 2.3 GB/s, another large increase over previously released products. The power consumption doubles as expected but is still within the available power delivered via PCIe.

Paul Alcorn of Tom's IT Pro just wrote a detailed report on Intel's new datacenter SSDs, including an unannounced 3D NAND-powered NVMe SSD and the DC P3608. You can read it here.

The second drive on the list is one we are familiar with. Phison's 5007-E7 won an award at Computex from Tom's Hardware and is one of the most exciting upcoming client SSDs. Phison plans to release the E7 for both enterprise and client use, with both MLC and TLC NAND flash. At Computex, the drive was very close to being finished. Phison let us run some benchmarks in a private setting, and we observed an early sample achieving over 2,700 MB/s (full details in that link). The company also has customers lined up and eager to release retail products. G.Skill and several others had 5007-E7 demos on display. In the week following Flash Memory Summit, we expect to have an E7 for testing.

Also making the list was Seagate's long-awaited SandForce SF3700. Oddly enough, the SF3500 was not listed, but the enterprise and ultra high performance DRAM-less controller was. We've talked about the SF3700 for nearly four years now, but acquisitions had SandForce bouncing around the industry. Some feared the SF3700 would never come to market, but the UNH-IOL test proves the PCIe 2.0 x2 controller is finally ready to make its mark.

Look for more PCIe NVMe news and reviews as Flash Memory Summit kicks off.

Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Follow Tom's Hardware on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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  • George Phillips
    5000 MB/s read and 2300MB/s sequential write is amazing. The client SSD running SATA 3 are still making about 500MB/s read; there will be some significant improvement from more client SSDs coming very soon.
  • dimar
    TDP 50W ?? Hopefully it won't catch up with 400W graphics cards anytime soon.
  • marraco
    Why so much noise about expensive NVMe, and not a word about SSD on DIMM memory modules, which are faster than NVMe and do not require a new connector in a new motherboard?