Phison Teases High-Performance E12 And S12 With QLC NAND Support

You will hear a lot about Phison's upcoming PS5008-E8 NVMe controller over the next two months. Retail partners are feverishly optimizing products for distribution before the end of the year. The drives should cost less than Intel's current entry-level 600p NVMe SSD. Phison doesn't plan to stop there. At Flash Memory Summit, we learned details about the company's next generation high-performance NVMe and SATA controllers.

The E12 is the star of this show with claimed performance north of 3,000 MB/s in both sequential reads and writes. The new controller is also said to deliver 600,000 random read and write IOPS. This would easily be the fastest consumer SSD if Phison brought it to market today.

The upcoming S12 will succeed the diverse S10 controller in high-performance products like the Corsair Neutron XTi using MLC flash, and low-cost drives like the Patriot Torch LE using TLC flash. The S12 will feature similar performance and remarkable ability to fit into both high- and low-performance products. In the future, the two will find a new dividing line between TLC and QLC (quad-level cell) flash.

Samsung, Western Digital, and Toshiba have all announced next generation QLC technology. We spotted Toshiba's massive 768Gbit QLC based on BiCS 3 technology at Flash Memory Summit. Microsemi displayed the demo behind closed doors. The technology has industry insiders excited. We should see significant increases in bit production and higher capacity products come to market. Samsung was the only company to go on the record about a product far enough along to get a name. The company announced plans to build a massive 128TB SSD that we could see as early as 2018. The current ASTC roadmap puts hard disk drives on track to surpass 100TB sometime in 2025, so SSDs are clearly taking the lead.

Phison has a solid strategy for implementing QLC technology. The company has already designed a USB and SD controller for 2017. The current roadmap leads us to believe the S12 SATA controller should be ready in the first quarter of 2018 with the E12 should come at the tail end of the year.

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