August 4th, 2014 by Adam Armstrong
Silicon Motion SM2256 SSD Controller for TLC NAND Released
Silicon Motion Technology today introduced the SM2256 SSD controller. The SM2256 is the world’s first complete merchant ASIC/firmware SATA 6Gb/s SSD controller solution, which supports 1x/1y/1z nm triple-level cell (TLC) NAND and the upcoming 3D NAND from all major NAND suppliers. This makes Silicon Motion the only merchant controller supplier offering a SATA 6Gb/s SSD controller with complete ASIC and firmware for TLC NAND.
The SM2256 uses Silicon Motion's proprietary NANDXtend error correcting code technology, which can maintain consistent data throughput providing a better user experience, even as error bits increase throughout the product lifecycle of NAND flash. And the SM2256 has shown some high performance: using a 256GB SSD with Toshiba A19 TLC NAND, the SM2256 gave sequential speeds of 524MB/s read and 400MB/s write along with 4K Random Read (QD32) of 90,000IOPS and 4K Random Write (QD32) of 70,000IOPS.
What this means to consumers is that Silicon Motion can essentially put any SSD vendor into the lower-cost TLC SSD business. Since Silicon Motion offers a complete solution, the vendor doesn't have to invest in engineering to get a drive to market. This is the same path SandForce followed, immediately resulting in the explosion of consumer SSD vendors. This approach is counter to someone like Marvell, who provides the controller, but vendors are expected to make their own firmware and invest significantly in the platform. No one else has announced the ability to support TLC NAND as part of a buyable platform and only Samsung is shipping TLC-based SSDs today. Silicon Motion indicated that while too early to announce partners for this platform, a vendor could be shipping drives within six months of engagement.
Key benefits include:
- NANDXtend error-correcting and data protection technology
- Supports the latest 1x/1y/1z nm MLC and TLC flash
- Extensible to support future 3D MLC/TLC NAND
- Supports ONFI 3.0, Toggle 2.0 and asynchronous NAND
- Ideally suited for client SSDs targeting ultrabooks, laptops, tablets and HDD replacement
- Supports both commercial and industrial grade requirements
- AES 256, TCG, and Opal full-drive encryption compliant
Silicon Motion is currently sampling the SM2256 SSD controller with a complete design kit available now. Mass production expected in the fourth quarter of 2014.