Silicon Motion has demonstrated working solid-state drives based on its first platform for SSDs featuring a PCIe 5.0 interface. The SM8366-based drives used different types of memory from other manufacturers, which indicates that SMI is working with all makers of 3D NAND to provide maximum flexibility to its partners. Regarding performance, the SSDs were faster when compared to one competing platform but slower than another.
The demo drive that SMI showcased at the Open Compute Project (OCP) forum offered a sequential read performance of 13.6 GBps and a random read performance of 3.4 million IOPS, according to Storage Review (opens in new tab). Regarding sequential speed, SMI's SM8366-based drive was a little slower than Samsung's PM1743 SSD (which offers up to 13.8 GBps) but was a bit ahead of Phison's PS5026-E26-based drive (that offers up to 12.4 GBps when equipped with a good memory).
Silicon Motion's MonTitan SM8366 SSD platform (opens in new tab) is designed primarily for enterprise-grade SSDs. It features 16 NAND flash channels with a 2400 MTps ONFI/Toggle interface to connect up to 128TB of 3D TLC, 3D QLC, or XL-Flash memory. The controller supports DDR4-3200 and DDR5-4800 DRAM buffers with a dual-channel interface and a PCIe 5.0 x4 interface or dual independent x2/x2 or x1/x1 interfaces to connect to host (s). By contrast, Phison's E26 is aimed primarily at high-performance consumer-grade SSDs and features eight NAND channels. While the PS5026-E26 can still serve enterprise-grade drives, consumer drives are its main application.
Silicon Motion has now validated its SM8366 platform with Kioxia's BICS6 3D TLC NAND, Micron's N48R 3D QLC NAND, and Micron's B58R 3D TLC NAND memory. In addition, the company offers multiple reference designs for its latest enterprise-oriented SSD controller, including in form factors such as E1.S, E1.L E3.x, and U.2/3. Traditionally SMI's clients can buy a turnkey solution from the company with standard configuration and firmware or can develop their custom solution with their firmware.
Silicon Motion's MonTitan SM8366 SSD platform should be available to early engagement customers this quarter reference hardware design kits with licensable turnkey and layered firmware stacks to enable the development of customer-differentiated solutions. Keeping in mind that many members of the Open Compute Project run their data centers, it is likely that some of them will deploy the first SMI-powered SSDs with a PCIe Gen5 x4 interface already in the coming months. Others will wait for drive makers to build SSDs for them.
Silicon Motion will introduce its consumer-oriented controller for PCIe Gen5 drives in 2023.