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YMTC Delivers China's First Domestic SSDs

PC005 Active SSD

PC005 Active SSD (Image credit: YMTC)

Self-sufficiency doesn't just happen overnight, but Yangtze Memory Technologies Co., Ltd. (YMTC) is pushing China in the right direction. The Wuhan-based chipmaker (via PC Watch) has launched the PC005 and SC001 Active lineup of SSDs under the new ZhiTai sub-brand.

The SSDs leverage the company's own 64-layer 3D NAND chips that are manufactured with the company's proprietary Xtacking 3D NAND technology. 

But this is only a stepping stone in YMTC's efforts to make the best SSDs. YMTC already took the wraps off its 128-layer QLC (quad-level cell) 3D NAND offerings that max out at 1.6 Gbps in April. It's just a matter of time before the new NAND chips make their way into faster retail products.

A bit of mystery still surrounds the SSDs, such as the manufacturer and model of the controller that resides in their interior. Given YMTC's recent alliance with Phison, it's natural to assume that the drives are using a Phison controller. But then again, YMTC also has an ongoing partnership with Silicon Motion. According to PC Watch, the unidentified controller is tailored to YMTC's NAND chips to maximize their performance and longevity, suggesting a custom controller.

YMTC PC005 & SC001 Active SSD Specifications

ModelForm FactorSequential Read (MBps)Sequential Write (MBps)Random Read (IOPS)Random Write (IOPS)Endurance (TBW)Warranty
PC005 Active 1TBM.2 22803,5002,900330,000360,0006405 years
PC005 Active 512GBM.2 22803,5002,500340,000340,0003205 years
PC005 Active 256GBM.2 22803,5001,200300,000200,0002005 years
SC001 Active 1TBM.2 2280, 2.5-inch52051080,00070,0006803 years
SC001 Active 512GBM.2 2280, 2.5-inch52051080,00070,0003703 years
SC001 Active 256GBM.2 2280, 2.5-inch52051080,00070,0001703 years

YMTC offers the PC005 and SC001 Active SSDs in capacities of 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. The chipmaker backs the PC005 Active with a limited five-year warranty and the SC001 Active with a shorter, three-year warranty.

The PC005 Active is a standard M.2 2280 drive that dwells on a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. The sequential read and write speeds go up to 3,500 MBps and 2,900 MBps, respectively. The PC005 Active offers random performance figures up to 340,000 IOPS reads and 360,000 IOPS writes. Endurance varies between 200 TBW and 640 TBW.

The SC001 Active, on the other hand, is available in both M.2 2280 and 2.5-inch formats. In either case, the drive will be limited to SATA III interface speeds. In terms of performance, YMTC states sequential read and write speeds up to 520 MBps and 512 MBps, respectively, and random read and write speeds up to 80,000 and 70,000 IOPS, respectively, across all capacities. The endurance ratings span from 170 TBW to 680 TBW.

YMTC vs. Samsung SSDs

ModelForm FactorSequential Read (MBps)Sequential Write (MBps)Random Read (IOPS)Random Write (IOPS)Endurance (TBW)WarrantyPrice
Samsung 970 Evo 1TBM.2 22803,4002,500500,000450,0006005 years$169.99
PC005 Active 1TBM.2 22803,5002,900330,000360,0006405 years?
Samsung 860 Evo 1TB2.5-inch55052098,00090,0006003 years$129.99
SC001 Active 1TB2.5-inch52051080,00070,0006803 years$123

Specifications don't always tell the whole story. It remains to be seen whether YMTC's SSDs can really walk the walk. And we won't know for sure until we test it ourselves. 

If we only look at the numbers, the drives seem to possess similar performance to other name-brand drives, such as Samsung. For example, the PC005 Active 1TB model's sequential numbers surpass those of the the Samsung 970 Evo 1TB. On the flip side, the Samsung drive crushes the PC005 in random performance. However, the PC005 Active 1TB's endurance is rated for 640 TBW, 40 TBW higher than the Samsung 970 Evo 1TB.

The SC001 Active 1TB's sequential performance is right up the Samsung 860 Evo 1TB's alley. Once again, this Samsung SSD comes out on top in random performance. The endurance margin seems to be even bigger though. YMTC rates the SC001 Active 1TB for 680 TBW, while the Samsung 860 Evo 1TB is good for 600 TBW.

The PC005 Active 256GB and 512GB models currently sell for around $54 and $77, respectively on Chinese online retailer (1TB pricing isn't known yet). In its 2.5-inch form, the SC001 Active 256GB, 512GB and 1TB go for $42, $67 and $123, respectively.