August 3rd, 2016 by Adam Armstrong
Toshiba Announces Industry’s Smallest NVMe Form Factor SSD
Today Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc announced that it intends to showcase new BG series solid state drive (SSD) family. The new BG SSD family leverages Toshiba’s BiCS FLAS with 3-bit-per-cell TLC (triple-level cell) technology and Toshiba’s new single-package ball grid array (BGA) NVMe PCI Express (PCIe) Gen3 x2 SSD. Toshiba intends to showcase their new technology at the 2016 Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California next week, August 8-11.
2.5” drives were reigning champs of small and powerful until M.2 came along and knocked them off their perch. While M.2 is small, the new BG SSD has both its NAND and controller in a 16mm x 20mm BGA package. That makes it 95% smaller than a 2.5” drive and 82% smaller than an M.2. As devices get more and more thin, new storage products such as the BG family are more attractive to manufacturers. Makers of ultra-thin mobile PCs, including 2-in-1 convertible notebooks and tablets can utilize this new technology to give them better performance while leaving more space for larger batteries. Longer battery lives are something all consumers want in their devices. And in the case where socketed storage is needed, the BG family can be mounted on a M.2 Type 2230 module.
In order to get up to 512GB in such a small form factor, the BG SSD family utilizes BiCS FLASH, a three-dimensional (3D) stacked cell structure. Toshiba takes this another step and uses its in-house Toshiba-developed controller and firmware, which the company says will ensure technology that is tightly integrated for optimal performance, power consumption, and reliability.
To get low power consumption and a performance boost in this new form factor, the BG SSDs are using latest NVMe standard Host Memory Buffer (HMB) feature. Instead of using dedicated DRAM for flash management (which can be both costly in price and power usage), HMB allows the drive to use the host’s DRAM for flash management. According to Toshiba, HMB can also increase performance over solutions without DRAM by storing lookup data on host memory to reduce access times for commonly accessed data.
The new BG SSD will be available in capacities of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB in both 16mm x 20mm package (M.2 Type 1620) or a removable M.2 Type 2230 module. Toshiba is sampling the new drive family now with select OEM customers and expects the drive to be more available by the fourth calendar quarter of this year.