Phison was the first company in the world to introduce an SSD controller with a PCIe 4.0 interface last year, which allowed it to capture a significant chunk of the high-end client SSD market. Now that most of its industry peers have launched their first-gen PCIe 4.0 SSD controllers, Phison wants to stay ahead, and if preliminary performance figures for a Phison PS5018-E18-based SSD are accurate, it has a good chance to maintain performance leadership.
The Phison PS5018-E18 is the company's 2nd-gen controller for high-end client SSDs with a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface. Based on three Arm Cortex-R5 cores and made using TSMC's 12 nm process technology, the controller supports eight NAND channels at a 1200 MT/s speed with 32 CE targets. The controller features Phison's 4th-gen LPDC ECC engine and supports the NVMe 1.4 protocol.
Phison officially says that its PS5018-E18 controller can enable up to 7,000 MB/s sequential read and write speeds as well as 1,000K/1,000K read/write IOPS. Apparently, the controller can actually hit higher speeds.
According to preliminary benchmark results published by TweakTown, the controller can hit a sequential read speed of 7,381 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 7,025 MB/s in CrystalDiskMark 7.0.0. To put the number into context, Samsung rates its 980 Pro SSD for an up to 7,000 MB/s sequential read speed as well as an up to 5,000 MB/s sequential write speed.
Right now, Phison is sampling its SSDs powered by the PS5018-E18 with its customers. Typically, the company offers its partners multiple versions of its SSDs with different firmware and allows them to pick the one they think works best for them. That said, certain firmware versions may let the drive show extreme sequential write speeds, yet this does not automatically guarantee that commercial SSDs using the same processor will offer the same results.
Early benchmark results should always be taken with a grain of salt. Furthermore, CrystalDiskMark 7.0.0 demonstrates peak performance, but it is not indicative of performance in real-world applications. At the same time, performance numbers for Phison's PS5018-E18 SSDs look very promising, and it is possible that the company will maintain its lead in the high-performance segment in the coming quarters.