August 6th, 2019 by Adam Armstrong
Toshiba Introduces XFMEXPRESS Form Factor
Today Toshiba introduced a new form factor for NVMe memory devices, the XFMEXPRESS. The new form factor will be for flash memory devices and fall in between the M.2 and BGA categories. While there is a slew of potential use cases for such a form factor, it will be of particular interest to OEMs of embedded devices.
New form factors can be a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, they come about because there is a need for them. On the other, it is difficult to get vendors to change and adapt to the new form factors. In the case of XFMEXPRESS, the form factor will allow for the small footprint and low profile of BGA devices while granting the serviceability and upgradeability of M.2 devices. If there is an IoT devices that has an issue with its storage (a problem or it requires a more modern media), users will be able to quickly swap out the XFMEPRESS device for a new one. Smaller than a U.S. quarter, the new memory devices can be swapped out in a matter of seconds once users get access to the connector.
For performance, the XFMEXPRESS is PCIe 3.0 and 4.0 capable and 2 to 4 lane capable. At its release its theoretical bandwidth will be 4GB/s but in the future that can be doubled to 8GB/s. While these numbers would be beneficial to IoT and embedded devices, the diminutive size and performance is highly beneficially to evolving markets like smart automotive and gaming that needs upgradable, fast storage.