Phison PS5018-E18 Controller With Micron 176L TLC Preview: Unleashing the Beast

Phison’s PS5018-E18 is a high-end, high-performance PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD controller, and now paired with Micron’s fastest TLC flash yet is a powerhouse solution that outstrips the best of the best in real-world comparisons.

This is quite the contrast to our initial thoughts on our first Phison E18 sample last year. Our new Phison E18 sample with Micron’s B47R flash is a stellar SSD in the making — not only did it succeed to overthrow the WD_Black SN850 and Samsung 980 Pro in many of our tests, but it was also the most well-rounded of the bunch with monstrous sequential performance.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

While we really like WD’s nCache 4.0 implementation on the WD_Black SN850, we also see great performance results out of the E18's new SLC caching algorithms. Paired with Micron’s B47R and all the firmware magic that went into this new sample, we are excited to see the performance this hardware combination has to offer once it hits shelves with final firmware.

That won't be long, either. Retail product announcements are only a few weeks away, with Computex coming up at the end of June. We were told at least two firmware revisions will be qualified before then, but as of today, we are very impressed with the performance gains we've already seen. Hopefully Phison can increase the endurance ratings back to E16 levels with the new configuration, or at least beat Innogrit-based competitors like the Patriot Viper VP4300 or Adata XPG Gammix S70. For now, that seems to be the only weakness, and a slight one at that, in what is otherwise a stellar performer. 


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Sean Webster
Storage Reviewer

Sean is a Contributing Editor at Tom’s Hardware US, covering storage hardware.