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Inside Micron's P400m SSD

Micron P400m SSD Review: High Endurance MLC Is Here To Stay

The P400m's insides are pretty standard-looking. On one side of the PCB you find the controller, DRAM cache, some capacitors, and eight NAND packages. The bottom plays host to eight more memory packages.

Each package is composed of 25 nm MLC die manufactured by Micron. And although the company doesn't affix any special marketing terminology to the NAND itself (like eMLC or HET-MLC), company reps make it clear that this isn't the same stuff you'd find in a desktop drive. Micron is using extended-life, enterprise-rated MLC memory in the P400m. It's unique to the company's own SSDs, and not available to other vendors on the open market. 

Again, next to the controller you'll find 256 MB of Micron's DDR3 DRAM (2SD22-D9LGQ). So, all of the P400m's storage is manufactured by Micron.

On the other hand, the controller is a Marvell 88SS9187-BLD2, also found on Plextor's enthusiast-oriented M5 Pro. This eight-channel, dual-core ASIC connects to the host over a 6 Gb/s SATA interface. Even if the controller logic isn't Micron's own, the company did develop custom firmware written to specifically support its MLC NAND. The controller also has dedicated hardware buffers that help accelerate RAID calculations.

All together, Micron enjoys a higher degree of vertical integration than most SSD vendors achieve. What is it able to do with that advantage?

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