Marvell's New PCIe 5.0 SSD Controllers Have 14 GBps of Throughput

(Image credit: Marvell)

Marvell has introduced the industry's first SSD controllers for NVMe 1.4b-compliant drives that will feature a PCIe 5.0 x4 interface. The Bravera SC5 controllers are designed primarily for bandwidth and performance-hungry servers used in cloud data centers. They will provide up to 14 TB/s throughput as well as up to 2 million random read IOPS, with the former being two times faster than today's fastest PCIe 4.0 SSDs. Marvell's new controllers have already gained support from various industrial partners, including AMD, Intel, Facebook, Microsoft, and Renesas. 

Marvell's Bravera SC5 family includes two controllers: the eight-channel MV-SS1331 and the 16-channel MV-SS1333. The controllers have absolutely the same functionality and performance specifications: up to 14 GB/s sequential write speed, up to 9 GB/s sequential write speed, up to 2M random read IOPS, and up to 1M write IOPS. 

The MV-SS1333 with its eight 1600 MT/s NAND channels will power SSDs with higher capacity. It is noteworthy that the MV-SS1333 is the industry's first 16-channel controller that comes in a 20x20mm form factor and can be used for EDSFF E1.S ("Ruler") SSDs.

(Image credit: Marvell)

Like other modern high-end SSD controllers, Marvell's Bravera SC5 are fully-fledged system-on-chips (SoCs) packing serious compute performance and special-purpose accelerators. The Bravera SC5 family uses Arm's Cortex-R8, Cortex-M7, and Cortex-M7 cores, yet Marvell hasn't disclosed the exact core count. A hardware-based SLA enforcer accompanies the CPU cores to minimize server CPU utilization. The silicon also has DMA controllers, firmware accelerators, a dedicated security engine (FIPS root-of-trust with AES-256 and TCG Opal compliant), and a NAND flash controller featuring the company's 5th Generation NANDEdge LDPC engine. 

(Image credit: Marvell)

Marvell's new controllers featuring the NANDEdge v5 LDPC engine can work with any type of 3D NAND, including SLC, MLC, TLC, and QLC from any vendor, including Kioxia, Micron, Samsung, SK Hynix, Western Digital, and YMTC. 

(Image credit: Marvell)

The main selling points of Marvell's Braver SC5 controllers are dual-port PCIe 5.0 x4, NVMe 1.4b, and extreme performance. Meanwhile, the SoCs allow manufacturers to build one SSD model for different usage models, including NVMe, SEF, ZNS, and Open Channel. Customers can also use the controller to build drives in various form factors, including E1.S, E1.L, E3, and U.2. Marvell is also especially proud of its new controllers' relatively moderate power consumption: the MV-SS1331 consumes up to 8.7W, whereas the MV-SS1331 consumes up to 9.8W. 

"There are many data center technology challenges. These include the need for PCIe 5.0 for performance scaling, E1.S for density and serviceability, and OCP data center NVMe SSD support for product features. Marvell’s Bravera SC5 SSD controller family supports technology that enables next-generation hyperscale SSD use cases," said Ross Stenfort, Hardware System Engineer, Storage, Facebook. 

Marvell is currently sampling the new controller with select customers. It is noteworthy that Marvell has already gained support from leading server platform developers and cloud datacenter operators, so it is logical to expect the adoption of PCIe 5.0 SSDS powered by Marvell's Bravera SC5 controllers sooner rather than later. 

Keeping in mind that Intel plans to release its PCIe 5.0-supporting Xeon Scalable 'Sapphire Rapids' in late 2021 or early 2022, we can expect the first PCIe 5.0 SSDs to be available around the same time.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • InvalidError
    14TB/s? Is this using quantum entanglement PCIe 5.0? That's almost 2000x as fast as conventional 4.0x4! :)
  • BTM18
    14TB ?? Are ya sure about that?
  • ScrewySqrl
    from what's in the article, the headline must be a typo.

    It should be 14 GB/sec not 14 TB/sec
  • jasonkaler
    That headline sounds too good to be true.
    If only we had RAM that fast.

    On a serious note, even 14GB/sec is pretty fast - faster than DDR3
  • VforV
    jasonkaler said:
    On a serious note, even 14GB/sec is pretty fast - faster than DDR3
    Imagine that raw speed + compression tech (like Oodle, Direct Storge, RTX IO) = world streaming assets instantly, even higher resolution textures (8k?), higher density and world sizes than even the PS5 can do now. Maybe even more than 30GB/s...

    But that's probably 5+ years from now. So far PC gaming has to catch up to PS5 first. We are not even using Gen 3 nvme SDD's 3GB/s raw speed to the fullest in games...
  • waltc3
    Intel has been notorious in missing announced ship dates on upcoming products for the last few years--missing some dates by literally years. Why anyone would expect to see PCIe5 mboards in a few months is a mystery...;) Intel still has yet to ship an all-PCIe4.0 bus chipset (Z590 is close, but no cigar) even though AMD has been shipping those for the past ~22 months.