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Taipower First With Next-Gen SMI NVMe Controller

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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.

ControllerSM2263SM2263XTSM2262SM2262EN
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
CE/Channels4444
DRAMYesNoYesyes
Host Memory BufferNoYesNoNo
PackageTFBGA288TFBGA288TFBGA472TFBGA472
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.