Phison announced two new NVMe SSD controllers at CES 2017. The E8 series complements the existing high-performance E7 used in a number of products shipping today. The E8 is a low-cost entry-level solution that promises to reduce the cost of the standard while increasing the performance over SATA-based products.
The new controller will ship in two flavors: PS5008-E8 with DRAM, and a DRAMless PS5008-E8T model. Both utilize PCI Express 3.0 x2 and support both planar and 3D NAND flash. We expect the majority of these products to ship with 3-bit per cell NAND to further reduce component cost and make for a more attractive product for mainstream users.
The performance is impressive for a 4-channel PCIe 3.0 x2 product. The Phison PS5008-E8 sets its sights on Intel's 600p, a product utilizing the Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2260 8-channel controller (only using 6 channels) and IMFT 384Gb 3D NAND flash. The E8 prototype on display was already able to double the 600p's sequential write performance thanks to aggressive SLC caching and direct-to-die writes post buffer.
Retail products based on E8 could begin shipping as soon as March, with a follow up in June for E8T. Phison doesn't sell products directly to end users, but instead replies on a vast network or partners to bring custom SSDs to market. We spoke with several partners, and many stated that they're looking at, and impressed with, Phison's entry-level NVMe solution.