|Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 SSD Processor|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 03 March 2010|
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Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 SSD Processor
Just over two years ago there were only five companies involved in Solid State Drive technology, and as of January 2010 there are nearly 140 names in the business. Without doubt, the SSD market has enjoyed a powerful growth period with relatively painless consumer acceptance. Benchmark Reviews has been on top of the SSD scene since retail products were first introduced at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show. Based on the Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 SSD processor, the Crucial RealSSD-C300 becomes the industry's first SATA-6G consumer Solid State Drive. Likewise, the C300 is also the first SSD to use ONFI 2.1 synchronous NAND flash. In this article, Benchmark Reviews inspects the Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 SSD processor rated for 355/215 MBps read and write speeds.
Micron utilizes the Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 Solid State Drive controller inside their 256GB Crucial RealSSD-C300 SSD, model CTFDDAC256MAG-1G1. While the SSD industry grows daily, only a few select manufacturers offer popularly-accepted Flash NAND SSD controllers. The most popular consumer controllers at the moment are: Indilinx IDX110M00-FC "Barefoot", Intel PC29AS21AA0, JMicron JMF612, Toshiba T6UG1XBG, Samsung S3C29RBB01-YK40, Marvell 88SS8014-BHP2, SandForce SF-1200/1500, and now the Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 SATA-III SSD processor introduced by Crucial.
In most respects, the new Marvell SSD circuit board follows the design of several past products. Illustrated from the top-view image above, you'll notice that the printed circuit board (PCB) utilizes a dense component layout for the Micron flash NAND modules and Marvell 88SS9174 SSD-controller with few electronics filling the remaining area. Marvell's 88SS9174 SATA-III SSD processor is joined by up to sixteen flash NAND modules (Micron 0AB12 used here), and a single DRAM chip for buffered transactions. Although only a 256GB capacity has been revealed for the Crucial RealSSD-C300, anything is possible as demand grows for more storage space.
The Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 processor used in this architecture was taken from the Crucial RealSSD-C300 Solid State Drive model CTFDDAC256MAG-1G1. The Marvell 88SS9174 supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with 32 command slots. Similar to other modern SSD controllers, the Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 processor was built to support native TRIM and Secure Erase commands. Additionally, the Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) command set is also supported on the Crucial RealSSD-C300.
Bandwidth estimates for the Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 SSD controller claim speeds up to 355 MB/s read-from and 215 MB/s write-to, however these are dependant on the flash-NAND and DRAM buffer used (the Crucial RealSSD-C300 CTFDDAC256MAG-1G1 is referenced here).
Since Crucial is a Micron brand, it's not surprising to see Micron NAND used in the RealSSD-C300 Solid State Drive. The flash NAND used on the CTFDDAC256MAG-1G1 (256GB) model are built with 34-nanometer technology and utilizes Micron's high-speed ONFI 2.1 NAND interface for 166 MT/s with 512-byte industry standard sector size. Each 32GB NLC NAND module requires 3.3V, and is marked as OAB12 NW172 (Micron part MT29F32G08CBABBWP-12).
The ONFI 2.1 specification pushes NAND performance levels into a new performance range: 166 MB/s to 200 MB/s. This new specification is the first NAND specification to specifically address the performance needs of solid-state drives to offer faster data transfer rates in combination with other new technologies like SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.0 and PCI Express Gen2.
The 128MB Micron OAD12-D9LGQ DDR DRAM module offers decent cache performance for fast transaction buffering, which will become more important as SATA-III 6.0Gbps transfers are observed.
While the Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 processor is an ambiguous component, we respect that our sample came inside the Crucial RealSSD-C300 series. Please continue on for details and performance results for this Solid State Drive...