Micron RealSSD P320h PCI Express SSD Review
We’ve often spoken a replica watches bout the future of SSD technology eventually evolving away from “bridged” interfaces like SATA and SAS, to direct attached, native interfaces like PCI Express. It just makes sense. With the ultra fast random access times and high IO bandwidth of solid state storage, it’s not the storage media itself that’s the limiting factor, rather, non native interfaces get in the way and become the bottleneck. A SAS or SATA controller still has to have its protocol translated over to PCIe so the host can talk to it, which wastes precious bandwidth and adds latency.
Most of the PCIe SSD cards on the market today, with the exception of products from Fusion io, still rely on SATA or SAS based NAND controllers to interface on the backend of the devic replica watches e to the NAND array. PCIe cards from OCZ, Intel, LSI and others use controllers from LSI SandForce or the like. Fusion io was the first company to introduce a true native PCI Express to NAND Flash controller processor employed in their products, though Micron has also been cooking up their own native PCIe SSD technology for some time now.
Today we’re looking at the Micron P320h, a PCI Express SSD that was introduced to the market well over a year ago and has actually been shipping to OEM customers for some time, but is just now hitting the market for general availability. Micron partnered with IDT, a veteran semiconductor manufacturer out of San Jose that specializes in high speed serial switching and memory interface technology, for co development of the product. A match made in high bandwidth heaven, replica watches between a bellwether memory giant and a cutting edge high speed logic manufacturer? Perhaps. At least in theory, there is a high degree of hand tuning involved in custom ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) design implementations, versus programmable logic (FPGA) chips. The latter of which, from a volume production standpoint, is also generally more costly as well. (Full disclosure: I used to work for IDT as a Field Sales Engineer.)
The IDT ASIC follows the emerging NVMe standard of optimized PCI Express SSD Interfaces. IDT purpose built this ASIC with Micron for their application but also has a number of similar devices available now on the open market. The 89HF3208 is a 32 channel NAND controller with a X8 PCI Express interface that is both Gen 2 and Gen 3 compatible, though Micron’s P320h card is currently only validated for Gen 2 operation. The IDT 89HF3208 is a rather large 1517 pin FCBGA (Flip Chip Ball Grid Array) packaged device, which is understandable with a 32 channel NAND memory controller on board.
Regardless, the net result of what Micron and IDT have pulled together here is a X8 PCI Express SSD that claims monster performance numbers of up to 785K IOPs for reads and 205K IOPs for writes, along with over 3GB/s and 1.9GB/s read/write bandwidth, respectively.
The Micron P320h isn’t cheap though. At a one piece price of $6995, this is an SLC (Single Level Cell) NAND solution that is squarely targeted at high availability, high throughput data center a replica watches nd enterprise applications. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the Micron P320h tick.
Dave, can you show us a video of the p320h booting up? I sorry to revive this very old comment thread, but I been looking for native bootable pci e ssds for a while now.
Hi BL, It never a problem reviving a thread when you have relevant questions like this or even if you just want to comment.
The reason I didn cover boot up with the P320h is that technically, Micron doesn support this out of the box and I was unable to get it to function stably. I did try and even got an image installed on it but it blue screened pretty quickly. I could revisit it with newer drivers I suppose but it unlikely to be different I think.