Inside HGST's Ultrastar SSD800MM
As mentioned, the first think you notice about this drive is its physical size, though most enterprise customers are used to 15 mm drives already. Picking the thing up, you also notice that the SSD800MM weighs a good deal, too. And because this is a prototype, it lacks official labeling.
There's a joke that goes, if you ask Intel why it doesn't offer SAS-based storage products, it'll respond that it does. They just have HGST labels on them. Alright, calling that a joke is a stretch. But prying open the SSD800MM certainly gives it some credence. Everything from the NAND to the PCB's silkscreen is labeled Intel. This partnership goes back to the Intel SSD 910, which used controllers co-developed by the two companies.
This SSD is built like no other I've seen. Once the first four screws and top plate are removed, you see the PCB attached to the bottom plate by four more screws.
On the back of the top plate, there's a large block of aluminum with a thermal gap pad that touches the NAND on the back of the PCB.
Removing the PCB exposes thermal pads for the controller, DRAM, and NAND. Normally, we'd consider this level of thermal management overkill. But remember that this SSD needs to passively dissipate up to 11 W. Even during our testing we had to make sure there was air flowing across the drive.
We don't have a lot of information about the controller, but we of course know it was co-developed by Intel and HGST. Most of the processors we've dealt with up until now were eight- or 10-channel designs; this one employs 12, which makes sense given the high-end specs. Additionally, our 400 GB sample includes two Micron DDR3-1600 memory packages that add up to 1 GB of data cache.
Finally, there are 18 NAND packages (nine on each side). Each one contains 32 GB of 25 nm enterprise-class MLC flash. All told, the SSD800MM hosts 576 GB, which comes out to 44% over-provisioning. That's a ton, even for an enterprise-oriented SSD.