Home Enterprise Podcast #88: PCIe Gen5 is Coming – What You Need to Know

Podcast #88: PCIe Gen5 is Coming – What You Need to Know

by Brian Beeler

PCIe Gen5 is coming along at a rapid pace, we should see it in enterprise systems next year. From a storage perspective, this means a theoretical doubling of performance again. The data rate specification for PCIe Gen5 at 32Gb/s is twice the lane speed of PCIe Gen4 at 16Gb/s. How that manifests still remains to be seen, the SSDs that leverage PCIe Gen5 will need to be designed well. Perhaps the most important component of these SSDs will be the controller. As with Gen4, Phison is the first to announce their SSD controller for Gen5 SSDs, the Phison E26. 

PCIe Gen5 is coming along at a rapid pace, we should see it in enterprise systems next year. From a storage perspective, this means a theoretical doubling of performance again. The data rate specification for PCIe Gen5 at 32Gb/s is twice the lane speed of PCIe Gen4 at 16Gb/s. How that manifests still remains to be seen, the SSDs that leverage PCIe Gen5 will need to be designed well. Perhaps the most important component of these SSDs will be the controller. As with Gen4, Phison is the first to announce their SSD controller for Gen5 SSDs, the Phison E26. 

On this podcast, I visit with Sebastien Jean, CTO of Phison. After I start off by offending him, we get into a very deep dive on the benefits of PCIe Gen5 and how Phison has transitioned as a company to be a major player in SSD performance. We discuss in good detail the E18 controller, which is arguably the pivot point for Phison, at least in the client space. That controller paired with Micron’s latest NAND has created to the best performing drives in our lab via the Seagate FireCuda 530 and Corsair MP600 Pro XT.  Phison very much has its sights set on the enterprise market as well though, with the E26 potentially being the gateway. 

Phison E26 Controller

The company is proud of the E26 controller for a number of reasons. Phison makes more of the critical IP blocks inside the controller than any other company. Additionally, the E26 controller IP is developed concurrently with Phison’s firmware in a FPGA environment, even before tape out ensuring a fast time to market with the highest reliability at introduction. The E26 SSD platform will support PCIe Dual Port, SR-IOV, ZNS, and support for the newest, fastest NAND interfaces ONFI 5.x and Toggle 5.x. The E26 is a customizable SSD platform that will be available in M.2, U.3, E1.S, and E3.S form factors. All of this is very much with the enterprise in mind. 

Video pod on YouTube

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