Taipower First With Next-Gen SMI NVMe Controller

Taipower just announced the new Mirage NP900 NVMe SSD, which is the first announced product to use the new SM226x controllers from Silicon Motion that we expect to see sweeping CES in a few weeks.

The SSD market in China is poised for explosive growth in 2018. In many ways its like the U.S. back in the mid-2000s when memory companies first launched this innovative new category with hopes and prayers that it would catch on. Large companies like Samsung and Intel still sell products on the other side of the Great Wall, but regional companies are more in-tune with local buyers (and offer lower prices).

We like to watch their market because it reminds us of the early days when companies like Corsair and Kingston were hungry and not the diverse juggernauts they've become today. Flash played a large role in that expansion, and we're watching the same happen with smaller Chinese firms now.

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Host InterfacePCIe 3.0 x4PCIe 3.0 x4PCIe 3.0 x4PCIe 3.0 x4
PCIe ProtocolNVMe 1.3NVMe 1.3NVMe 1.3NVMe 1.3
NAND Flash Channels4488
Host Memory BufferNoYesNoNo
Sequential Read2,400 MB/s2,400 MB/s3,200 MB/s3,500 MB/s
Sequential Write1,700 MB/s1,700 MB's1,900 MB/s3,000 MB/s
Random Read300,000 IOPS280,000 IOPS (HMB)140,000 IOPS (No-HMB)370,000 IOPS370,000 IOPS
Random Write250,000 IOPS250,000 IOPS300,000 IOPS300,000 IOPS

The Mirage NP900 uses the SM2262 controller and sits just one tier down from Silicon Motion's flagship SM2262EN. The drive will not make its way to the U.S. or Europe in any significant numbers, but the release gives us a chance to preview one design prior to CES. Silicon Motion has several named partners that most are familiar with. Adata, Intel, SanDisk/WD, and Micron/Crucial are the most recognizable. Many of these companies are in line to release new high-performance NVMe SSDs in early 2018 with new 64-layer NAND flash technology that's significantly faster than the previous generation.

Silicon Motion's new SM226x controllers are ready to take the market by storm. In the image above provided by Taipower we see what the Mirage NP900 NVMe SSD has to offer. This controller will be used by companies in the upper mainstream NVMe segment of the market, a tier above the Samsung 960 EVO but not in the premium sphere where the 960 Pro and Intel Optane SSD 900p play.

The big news here is that Toshiba and IMFT 64-layer NAND will resurrect the performance wars, this time on the NVMe battlefield.

Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.
  • Bruce427
    Hey Chris,

    When do you think you will post the results of your evaluation of the new MyDigital SBX NVMe drives?

    At first glance, unless you need the power savings in a laptop, the prices are so close to the BPX as to not be a value. Especially when you consider that the BPX series is MLC and the SBX is TLC.

    Additionally, I have been told by MyDigital that the SBX series will NOT contain an SLC buffer. So I wonder for what length of time can the SBX series actually maintain their 1600/1300 Sequential Read/Write specs.
  • CRamseyer
    We are working on the scheduling right now. The SBX does use an SLC buffer. With all of the holiday cheer, tight deadlines and such I'm sure it was a miscommunication.

    Pricing is key here. It will be a very competitive year. Until the BPX sells out, the SBX is ahead of its time.
  • Bruce427

    Does it do well on the battery life test?

    I am currently using BPXs and 960 Pros in laptop, and neither does particularly well on battery life. On long trips, I would be willing to sacrifice some performance for battery longevity, but it would have to be significantly better (not just 20-25 minutes better).
  • CRamseyer
    The SBX 256GB is the most efficient in a notebook that I've seen. It's good on battery life while also delivering good performance. It's not the best if you just favor long battery life.
  • CRamseyer
    Take the Samsung NVMe driver off and your battery time will increase quite a bit.
  • Bruce427
    At your advice/observation re: previous Samsung 960 reviews, I have tried that on a number notebooks, and I have never been able to tell much difference in battery life between using the Samsung NVMe driver, and using the native W10 driver.

    I know on your Lenovo notebook(s) the difference is dramatic, but on (about 6 different) Clevo/Prostar notebooks I have owned, the difference was less than 15 minutes.

    I hesitate to say that the shorter battery life with regard to the Samsung 960 series might be something unique with Lenovo notebooks as that doesn't seem logical. But I have not experienced any significant increase in battery life on Clevos, when using the native W10 NVMe driver as opposed to the Samsung driver.

    I am looking forward to the review on the SBX as a -- non power user -- friend of mine is asking for advice on an NVMe drive for a notebook.

    Chris, do you give out your email address you use for Tom's Hardware? I had your old email address when you were at TweakTown and occasionally asked you a drive question. But I don't see your address on Tom's.

    (I am retired from the A/V field and am the fellow you emailed back and fourth with a few times several years ago when you were in the process of upgrading your sound system. I believe you said you settled on Martin Logans -- but didn't have much time to listen to them.)
  • CRamseyer
    I know who you are, lol. It you can, just send me a message on FaceBook or Linkedin and I'll send you my email address.

    I'm in the drywall phase of getting the home theater together. I may have 4 hours on the Logans from when we spoke last. They are in my bedroom and get a workout when I take a shower, lol. One of these days I'll retire and listen to them all day and night.