Kingston is one of the companies that was affected during the SandForce merry-go-round of buyouts and acquisitions. Until recently, its HyperX SSD brand shipped exclusively with SandForce controllers. But that's changing.
Kingston is no stranger to Phison's technology, either. The two companies have worked closely together for several years making low-cost products for OEMs and the SSDNow product line. Like SandForce, Phison is another all-inclusive SSD controller maker, providing reference designs, programming and firmware to third parties that relabel the products for retail sale. Until the PS3110-S10, Phison controllers targeted value-oriented customers. The S8 processor, released two years ago, increased performance to SandForce-like levels. But it was too late to compete in the high-end space.
The new S10 controller is Phison's entry into that exclusive segment, which is currently dominated by Samsung, Marvell and now Intel's NVMe/enterprise crossover. It's a four-channel processor with enterprise-class end-to-end data protection. Phison is eying several markets with the S10, from entry-level enterprise to value-class models using three-bit-per-cell (TLC) NAND. Using TLC in a product designed to meet more than three-year warranty cycles requires a lot of compute muscle, particularly toward the end of the product's life. Phison uses advanced BCH ECC to fight voltage drift, noisy neighbors and other architectural problems associated with TLC.
When it comes to performance, the S10 is already capable of competing with today's mainstream SSDs. But for several months now, we've been told to expect a firmware update that'll make the controller even faster. One area Phison plans to improve is low queue depth random reads and writes. This month, we should see an update that delivers 10,000 sustained write IOPS in steady state. Sadly, it's not ready yet, though.
I do realize that you can't track all the pricing changes and that you base your reviews on the MSRP, I just thought that I'd point out in the comments that your "Price" con could perhaps no longer be justified.
Thanks for the review Chris. :-)
In the next 30 days or so Phison should have the "10K" update finished. When that comes out this product could be competitive with 850 Pro and 850 EVO in 4K random performance. That is what they tell us anyway but we've been waiting on the 10K update for quite a while now.