Silicon Motion has introduced its new enterprise-grade SSD controller for drives with a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface. The new SM8266 controller and firmware will enable SSD makers to build high-capacity high-performance NVMe 1.4-compliant U.2 drives powered by novel types of NAND flash memory.
Silicon Motion's SM8266 controller is powered by three dual-core Arm Cortex-R5 complexes (the Cortex-R5 are used by the vast majority of SSD controllers these days), it features 16 NAND flash channels to connect up to 16 TB of raw 3D TLC or 3D QLC NAND memory, and a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface to connect to hosts. The controller supports SMI's 6th generation NANDXtend technology that is based on a proprietary LPDC ECC engine with RAID that is enhanced with machine learning algorithms. Just like other modern SSD controllers, the SM8266 also supports end-to-end data path protection to ensure data integrity in SRAM and DRAM buffers. In addition, the chip supports AES 256-bit encryption, Secure Boot, and TCG Opal.
As far as performance is concerned, Silicon Motion says that the drives running the SM8266 controller will offer sequential read performance of up to 6.5 GB/, sequential write performance of up to 3.1 GB/s as well as sustained random read performance of 950,000 IOPS, and sustained random write performance up 220,000 IOPS.
Silicon Motion will sell the SM8266 controller as a turnkey solution with the ASIC itself, customized firmware, the right kind of NAND memory, reference designs, and even production services. At present, the manufacturer plans to offer at least three types of enterprise-grade SSDs powered by the new controller, including NVMe, Open-Channel, and Key-Value drives.
Silicon Motion plans to start production of SM8266-based SSDs for its datacenter customers sometimes in 2021. Prices of the drives will depend on actual configurations, type of memory used, volumes, and other factors.