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Phison E26 PCIe Gen5 Controller Specs Released

by Lyle Smith

Phison is showcasing its new lineup of next-gen gaming solutions during CES 2022. This includes the Phison E26, the company’s first PCIe Gen5 controller for high-end desktop gaming. While already announced, very few details of the E26 controller have been released. Phison has now dropped full specs and images of their reference designs. Phison hopes that their new solutions will help power seamless gaming experiences for modern consoles, desktop/notebook PCs, and mobile devices.

Phison is showcasing its new lineup of next-gen gaming solutions during CES 2022. This includes the Phison E26, the company’s first PCIe Gen5 controller for high-end desktop gaming. While already announced, very few details of the E26 controller have been released. Phison has now dropped full specs and images of their reference designs. Phison hopes that their new solutions will help power seamless gaming experiences for modern consoles, desktop/notebook PCs, and mobile devices.

Phison E26

The Phison E26 (PS5026-E26) is their first PCIe Gen5 release, which is highlighted by its combination of performance and low-power via its unique architecture. The E26 is a customizable SSD platform that will be available for both enterprise and consumer markets in a range of different form factors.

We have a podcast with Phison specifically discussing what Gen5 will enable. The primary benefit of a new interface is almost always headlined by performance and that’s no different with Gen5 SSDs. Phison figures the E26 can deliver sequential read up to 12GB/s and sequential write up to 11GB/s. That’s more or less double what the best client Gen4 SSDs quote today.

Just like the existing E18 platform that’s been used in a wide variety of excellent SSDs like the Seagate FireCuda 530, Phison will partner with the likes of Seagate, Corsair, Sabrent and others to bring E26 SSDs to market. It will be up to these guys to figure out what form factor and capacities they want to bring to market. But it is interesting to note that while the M.2 2280 is the most common form factor in client SSDs, Phison is also providing a reference design for an add-in-card.

Phison E26 (PS5026-E26) Specifications

Host Interface – PCIe 5.0 x4 (Bandwidth: 32GT/s x4)

– Compliance with PCI Express Base Specification Revision 5.0

– Compliance with NVMe 2.0

Processor – 2x ARM Cortex-R5 and 3x Proprietary IP CoXProcessor

– TSMC 12nm process technology

Flash Controller – Up to 8 Channels with 32 Chips Enable (CE)

– Flash transfer rate up to 2,400MT/s

– Capacity up to 32TB

– Support 3D TLC and QLC NAND flash memory

– Compliance with Toggle 5.0 and ONFi 5.0

– Flash I/O operating voltage supply 1.2V

DRAM Controller – DDR4 & LPDDR4 (32 bit, 3200Mbps)
Data Reliability – Phison 5th generation LDPC ECC & RAID ECC

– DDR ECC engine

– End-To-End Data Path Protection

Security – AES 256

– SHA 512

– RSA 4096

– TCG Opal 2.0

Performance – Sequential Read up to 12GB/s

– Sequential Write up to 11GB/s

– 4K Random Read up to 1,500K IOPS

– 4K Random Write up to 2,000K IOPS

Power Management – L1.2
Temperature Range – Operating range: 0~70 °C

– Storage range: -40~85 °C

– Operating junction temperature: -40~125 °C

Package – 576-ball FCCSP, 16 mm x 16 mm
Peripheral – Built-in internal thermal sensor

– GPIO pins

– Built-in UART function

– I3C and SPI for external ROM

Phison E21-T

Phison’s PS5021-E21T is their new High-Performance PCIe Gen4 DRAM-less solution and will also be demonstrated at CES 2022. This is a PCIe Gen4 solution featuring a low-power M.2 form factor. It is ideal for all-day computing in mobile environments and is designed to meet the performance needs of gamers, office workers, and business travelers.

The E21T BGA version features a tiny Z-height of 1.65mm in a massive 1TB capacity. This 11.5mm x 13mm package is designed to handle a range of diverse workloads.

The E21T is the successor to the E19T while the E21T BGA is the successor to the E13T, both of which are quoted to offer new bars in throughput performance via the Gen4 interface.

Phison PS5021-E21T Controller Specifications

Host Interface – PCIe 4.0 x4 (Bandwidth: 16GT/s x4)

– Compliance with PCI Express Base Specification Revision 4.0

– Compliance with NVMe 1.4

– Host Memory Buffer (HMB) support

Processor – Single-CPU architecture with built-in 32-bit microcontroller

– TSMC 12nm process technology

Flash Controller – Up to 4 Channels with 16 Chips Enable (CE)

– Flash transfer rate up to 1,600MT/s

– Capacity up to 4TB

– Support 3D TLC and QLC NAND flash memory

– Compliance with Toggle 3.0 and ONFi 4.2

– Flash I/O operating voltage supply 1.2V

DRAM Controller – DRAM-less
Data Reliability – Phison 4th generation LDPC ECC & RAID ECC

– DDR ECC engine

– End-To-End Data Path Protection

Security – Pyrite – AES 256 – SHA 512 – RSA 4096 – TCG Opal
Performance – Sequential Read up to 4,800MB/s

– Sequential Write up to 4,500MB/s

– 4K Random Read up to 550K IOPS

– 4K Random Write up to 600K IOPS

Power Management – L1.2 < 2.7mW
Temperature Range – Operating range: 0~70 °C

– Storage range: -40~85 °C

– Operating junction temperature: -40~125 °C

Package – 198-ball HSFCCSP, 7.5 mm x 12 mm
Peripheral – Built-in internal thermal sensor

– GPIO pins

– Built-in UART function

– I2C and SPI for external ROM

Phison PS5021-E21T BGA Controller Specifications

Host Interface – PCIe 4.0 x2 (Bandwidth: 16GT/s x2)

– Compliance with PCI Express Base Specification Revision 4.0

– Compliance with NVMe 1.4

– Host Memory Buffer (HMB) support

Processor – Single-CPU architecture with built-in 32-bit microcontroller

– TSMC 12nm process technology

Flash Controller – Up to 4 Channels with 16 Chips Enable (CE)

– Flash transfer rate up to 1,600MT/s

– Capacity up to 1TB

– Support 3D TLC flash memory

– Compliance with Toggle 3.0 and ONFi 4.2

– Flash IO operating voltage supply 1.2V

DRAM Controller – DRAM-less
Data Reliability – Phison 4th generation LDPC ECC & RAID ECC

– DDR ECC engine

– End-To-End Data Path Protection

Security – AES 256

– Pyrite

Performance – Sequential Read up to 3,600MB/s

– Sequential Write up to 3,000MB/s

– 4K Random Read up to 500K IOPS

– 4K Random Write up to 280K IOPS

Power Management – L1.2 < 5mW
Temperature Range – Operating range: 0~70 °C

– Storage range: -40~85 °C

Package – 345-ball BGA, 11.5mm x 13mm
Peripheral – Built-in internal thermal sensor

– GPIO pins

– Built-in UART function

New Direct Access Pattern

Phison has also indicated that game developers will be able to significantly decrease game load times and increase the scale of virtual worlds via a new direct data delivery method. At CES 2022, Phison will be demonstrating this new direct access pattern from the NVMe SSD to the GPU (which relies on data passing through the system at high speeds in a consistent stream) using the PS5018-E18.

Availability

With all of this action, we’re obviously quite interested in the new Phison E26 controller. Availability should occur by mid-year. Intel and AMD are both rushing to get next-generation platforms to market that would offer support for the Gen5 interface.

Intel NAND Storage, now Solidigm, hasn’t had a high-performance client drive in some time, so they’ve relied on partners to help push the high-performance storage market in client systems. Solidigm does benefit from SK hynix’s presence in client SSDs, so it will be interesting to see what happens there. AMD of course relies entirely on partners for SSDs and will want to encourage new Gen5 offerings to get to market in conjunction with their launch.

As such, Phison will do its part with this new E26 platform, to enable as many customers as they can to bring SSDs to market. As we saw with the E18, Phison is very intent these days to deliver performance at the top-end of the spectrum and there are high expectations for the new controller.

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