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PMC Announces Flashtec NVMe SSD NVMe2106, NVMe2032 Controllers With LDPC

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

PMC announced its second-generation Flashtec controllers. The current generation of PMC Flashtec controllers power many of the leading enterprise-class NVMe SSDs on the market, including well known names like the Samsung XS1715, Memblaze PBlaze SSDs, the OCZ ZD6000 and the HGST SN100.

The new Flashtec NVMe2016 and NVMe2032 controllers support NVMe via the PCIe 3.0 x8 interface and provide up to 1,000,000 IOPS. The controllers feature either 16 or 32 independent flash channels and also support dual independent PCIe 3.0 x4 (active/active and active/standby). The dual-port features are particularly attractive to customers seeking (HA) High Availability characteristics. Total capacity goes up to 20 TB, which is largely due to its ability to address up to 32 GB of DRAM cache for internal drive functions. 

An SSD controller is the most critical component of any storage device. The controller juggles a myriad of internal processes, such as garbage collection, static data rotation, error detection and correction (among many others), all while simultaneously responding to host requests for data. Orchestrating all of these ongoing activities while continuing to provide high performance with an acceptable QoS is the challenge of every SSD controller, and in many cases the controller is the key differentiator between competing SSDs with similar NAND.

Detecting and correcting errors without adversely affecting other ongoing operations is one of the most important functions. PMC increased its error correction capabilities by upgrading from the 40-bit BCH ECC used with its previous generation products to fully adaptive LDPC (Low Density Parity Check) algorithms. The increased error tolerance allows Flashtec-powered SSDs to operate with lower-quality NAND, such as TLC, while supporting both 2D and 3D eMLC, MLC and SLC flash (ONFI or Toggle).

The Flashtec controllers also support XTS-AES-256 encryption and flash channel RAID, which provides device-level data redundancy to weather die failures. The company also moved from the 50nm process on the previous generation products to the 28nm process, which helps provide power savings up to 15 percent. Coupling the lower power consumption metrics with the higher overall performance will provide a much better IOPS-per-Watt ratings for the end products.

PMC provides reference firmware SDKs to its customers, which allows them to program the controller to customize the SSD for endurance, performance, and capacity metrics to meet the intended market segment. This also allows manufacturers to provide key differentiators for their customers. The NVMe2016 and NVMe2032 controllers are designed to work well in standalone SSDs, and will also mesh well with PMC's new Switchtec PSX PCIe controllers. The second-generation Flashtec SSD controllers are sampling now to lead customers, and end products (SSDs) will reach the market by the end of 2016.

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