Being the next step in PCIe, SSD controller makers are looking to release their PCIe 4.0 designs into the market. Silicon Motion is not an exception, with its upcoming design scheduled to come to retail over the coming quarters.

Having captured a noteworthy share of turn-key SSD market in the recent years, Silicon Motion has a modern lineup of controllers that includes its top-of-the-range SM2262EN, the mainstream SM2263XT/SM2263G, and the SM2263EN for entry-level 3D QLC NAND-based SSDs. SMI’s PCIe 4.0 SSD controller, the SM2267G, is in its final stages of development, it will be made available in the near future - ADATA showcased a prototype at Computex. The plan is to make SSDs featuring a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface available sometime in the second quarter of 2020 and aligning it with a launch of a next-generation mainstream PC platform.

What is noteworthy is that Silicon Motion’s PCIe 4.0 x4 controller is, as the company says, it belongs to a new design generation of its controllers, so we expect a variety of new features. Areas to expect are obvious: performance optimizations, compatibility with new types of 3D NAND flash memory, and improvements of endurance.

Actually, neither the features nor the specs of the SMI's PCIe 4x4 controller are confirmed by Silicon Motion at this point, but there is a clear plan to make Silicon Motion-powered PCIe 4.0-enabled drives available sometime in Q2 in 2020.

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  • Irata - Wednesday, June 5, 2019 - link

    Article says "The plan is to make SSDs featuring a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface available sometime in the second quarter of 2020 and aligning it with a launch of a next-generation mainstream PC platform."

    I guess we can safely assume that this means Intel as the other next gen mainstream PC platform (AMD) is launching now.
  • Skeptical123 - Wednesday, June 5, 2019 - link

    If there is a demand for 5/6 GB/s NVMe drives you can be certain it won't matter if a NVMe drive uses 5 watts similar to current drives or 25 watts similar to hard dives. Of course it will matter in legacy applications but the real market will be in the sever industry where they buy new hardware every couple years. And you can bet server makers can easily crank out new designs that allow for little heat spreaders on NVMe drives. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - link

    "with PCI-e 5.0 right around the corner"
    Oh, so I can buy it before Christmas? Because that would be "right around the corner".
  • shabby - Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - link

    It'll be bundled with intel's 10nm desktop chips... which are right around the corner. Reply
  • TheUnhandledException - Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - link

    No it is not. Also even if PCIe 5 hosts became widespread in 2020 (2021?) does it really matter if devices can't saturate a 4 lane PCIe 4 link? This same controller on a PCIe 5 link wouldn't be any faster. It took years for m.2 devices to saturate the 4 lane PCIe 3.0 m.2 connection. Maybe in 2021 or 2022 we might see devices maxing out what a PCIe 4.0 connection can provide.

    The one nice thing is that PCIe is backwards and forward compatible. You can put a 5.0 device in a 4.0 slot or put a 4.0 device in a 5.0 slot albeit operating at 4.0 not 5.0 speed.
  • rems - Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - link

    4.0 just launched and we're already 5/8th of the way to saturation, it won't take a year to get there. 4.0 is only double and market's already dev'ing for m.2 whereas it only started on 3.0 and before with sata which it had to move away from, somewhat(I wonder what the market share is between sssd sata vs m.2). Reply
  • Korguz - Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - link

    TheUnhandledException i think shabby for to add /sarcasm at the end of that :-) cause intel has been saying for 4 years now that 10nm chips are on track.. :-) Reply
  • Santoval - Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - link

    No it won't. Intel's PCIe 4.0 support is still some way off, so PCIe 5.0 support is even farther back in time. It is still unclear if Intel will manage to release mid and high power Ice Lake CPUs fabbed at 10nm+. If they don't (and they probably won't) then PCIe 4.0 support will have to wait for Tiger Lake (with Willow Cove cores), which will be fabbed at the 10nm++ node iteration, and apparently released in 2H 2020 (i.e. Q4 2020).

    While they could have added a PCIe 4.0 controller in their upcoming Ice Lake-U CPUs for laptops I strongly doubt they did, since their thermals and clocks are already bad enough, and that would only make them worse. So don't expect PCIe 4.0 from Intel anytime soon, not in their CPUs anyway (they are offering PCIe 4.0 *and* PCIe 5.0 in their newest FPGAs, which are an entirely different thing).
  • pogostick - Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - link

    PCIe 4.0 spec was released October 5, 2017. PCIe 4.0 products hit shelves July, 2019. (21 months later).
    PCIe 5.0 spec was released May 28, 2019. PCIe 5.0 products hit shelves ??? January 2021 maybe ???
  • rems - Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - link

    That makes sense to me, 2 years to capitalize on for amd if intel skips 5.0 which they won't. But god do I hate this extra point of failure with those fans on mobos... Reply

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