Novachips 4TB / 8TB SSD Review – HLNAND Sees 8TB Sizes & Higher, Speed & Low Power

THE NOVACHIPS NVS3800 CONTROLLER

Novachips NVS3800 controller (Codename Bugatti 2) is Novachips second generation proprietary design and is based on 28nm low-power technology. It is a quad-combo single chip ARM-based eight channel controller and capable of supporting four different hardware combinations, SATA, PCIe, ONfi or Toggle NAND, or HLNAND. It’s maximum SSD capacity is 32TB and the maximum supporting NAND channel speed is up to 400MB/s (ONfi/Toggle) or up to 800MB/s (HLNAND).

Our SSD Quick Search on the left tab of this page enables a search of similar SSDs with the same components and reviews, along with links to Amazon for a price check.

Novachips NVs3800 Flash Storage ProcessorThe Novachips NVS3800 supports all modern memory sizes (1y/1x/2x/3xnm) and types (SLC/MLC/TLC/ONFI/TOGGLE) as well as Novachips own HLNAND.  It supports AES 256-Bit encryption, TCG OPAL 2.0 and even DEVSLP in SATA mode.  The only hiccup (and it really isn’t considering their target sales) is that the maximum storage capacity available for all except HLNAND is 1TB, whereas, it is 16TB with HLNAND.

BREAKING DOWN HLNAND

HLNAND is not a new type of memory bore from silicon wafers that are in the control of Novachips, but rather a total package comprised of NAND components and a HL (Hyper-link) bridge.

Novachips Scalar 8TB SSD HLNAND Memory WMIn the case of both of these SSDs, each NAND module contains 16 NAND dies stacked, each of these being SK Hynix 16nm 128Gbt MLC NAND flash memory.  The total RAW capacity of each memory module is 256GB. To make things a bit simpler, this is an actual photo of the inside of a single module as you see above.  It is a (16+1) die stacked HLNAND memory chip as seen in a top view.

Stacked HLNAND

Now to break down NAND packages and channel structure, the 4TB Scalar SSD uses 8 channels x 2 packages per channel (16 packages x 256GB=4TB) while the 8TB Scalar SSD utilizes 8 channels x 4 packages per channel (32x256GB=8TB).

And for the more technically minded, HLNAND adopted Intelligent Packet-based Chip-Select (IPCS) technology over the old-style CE# (Chip-Enable #) based Chip-select, which is selecting NAND dies in ONFi or Toggle system. IPCS technology does not require physical CE# signals which are responsible for much signal-integrity headaches and takes too much PCB area for large capacity SSD design. IPCS technology is, however, based on the existing data packet concept which is sharing 8-bits of DQ signals for Command/Addressing/Data transaction for NAND flash access, by simply adding “Device ID/Bank Address/LUN Address” in front of every Command Packet.

NOVACHIPS HLNAND SSD COMPONENTS

We have both the 4TB and 8TB versions of the NS370 in hand.  Both are 2.5″ notebook SATA 3 SSDs with the 4TB version being 7mm thick while the 8TB version is 15mm thick.  The increased thickness of the 8TB version is due to the dual PCB design.  Both are encased in a two piece aluminum exterior and secured with 4 screws. This is the 4TB PCB and it contains the NVS3800 flash processor, 16 pieces of HLNAND, and two Samsung DRAM cache memory chips:

Novachips Scalar 4TB SSD PCB Top WMNovachips Scalar 4TB SSD PCB Bottom WM

The 8TB Novachips Scalar NS370 contains a dual PCB combination of which the first PCB contains the NVS3800 flash storage processor, two Micron DRAM cache memory chips, and 16 pieces of HLNAND memory (HL7G2T44BHBB) with each piece containing 256GB of RAW memory, for a total of 4TB.

Novachips Scalar 8TB SSD Motherboard PCB Top 2 WMNovachips Scalar 8TB SSD Motherboard PCB Bottom WM

The second PCB also contains 16 HLNAND flash modules, but also contains 40 power capacitors (20 on each side) for complete power loss data protection.

Novachips Scalar 8TB SSD Daughter PCB Top WMNovachips Scalar 8TB SSD Daughter PCB Bottom WM

You might notice that the Novachip Scalar 8TB has a whopping 40 power capacitors (20 front and back of daughterboard) compared to the 4TB version which has significantly less, three in fact.  Novachips assures us that regardless of capacity, the user is fully protected against data loss should a power failure occur.

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dravo1
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dravo1

You have to wonder if Samsung, Toshiba, Intel or Micron had an interest in this technology earlier but found issues with it and could not reveal them publicly due to nondisclosure agreements. With a 3-year warranty I have to wonder about the write life of these high-end SSDs. Do they wear level as well as the competition?

Les@TheSSDReview
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We ran the crap out of the 4TB sample and it is now in my base system as the boot drive. It is just as strong as before testing. We would expect a 3-year warranty from any new company, however your mentioning of wear leveling brings up a good point. We are unable to determine total writes as it is not in the SMART attributes and doesn’t appear in any software programs that we might typically use, although some of that same software identifies SSD health as excellent. I am very curious as to the write count of the 4TB… Read more »

jp1wc1
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jp1wc1

what causes the s.m.a.r.t. attributes to not display? is it the firmware of the drives, the software program used, a combination of the 2 or something else?

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

It is the choice of the manufacturer, however, because HLNAND is simply more than one memory chip, there may be more in play here…waiting for an answer from the manufacturer.

jp1wc1
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jp1wc1

why would a manufacturer not want s.m.a.r.t. attributes to display? also, in this review and others it seems like data is retrieved but, the attribute name is listed as vendor specific. do the vendors have internal names that are not the standard s.m.a.r.t. attribute name? s.m.a.r.t. is a standard that has many attributes covered, why not stick to it?

Les@TheSSDReview
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I cannot answer that and there are several SSD vendors that list only minimal SMART attributes….looking for that F1 value!

dravo1
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dravo1

No reply from Novachips yet? Probably working up a new marketing spin for their questionable write durability. 🙂

HJ
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Hi dravo1, I am a technical marketing director of novachips, and thanks for your interests in our SSDs. For the endurance, 4TB has 1.9 PBW and 8TB has 3.8 PBW based on JEDEC standards. For the SMART attributes, we are working on correct display of total writes, but as Les said, it is the choice of manufacturer. Some shows, some doesn’t. Thanks again, and if you have more questions, please contact me at “hakjune.oh@novachips.com” then I can give you some good DC for your continuous interests and for your test too.

dravo1
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dravo1

Thanks for the speedy response. I noticed on the website that the price on the 8TB unit was dropped from $8000 to $6000 and is expected to ship in 4-6 weeks. Can you clarify how warranty support will be handled in the US? Since I couldn’t find a corporate physical address listed on the website I had some concerns.

HJ Oh
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Hi dravo1, all warranty support will be handled by either S. Korea HQ or USA office. Novachips has 3 locations. Please see here; http://www.novachips.com/contact_us.shtml

mascotzel
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mascotzel

Any info on power consumption?

Les@TheSSDReview
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We haven’t tested power consumption just yet and, should we proceed with full enterprise reviews, it will be complete. Specifications are listed.

TheVorlon
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TheVorlon

“NAND pricing aside, the difficulty with producing a higher capacity SSD has been the fact that higher volume chips were not yet available and too many memory chips were required to make a notebook SSD feasible.”

But there is plenty of room in a 3.5″ form factor.

There are a lot of systems out there with 3.5″ spinning rust that could accommodate a product like that.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Agree totally and we have seen similar out of AIC retail SSDs but…. the main consideration in the case of a notebook SSD is that of creating a single controller design. With what they have now, they could create a 32TB single controller SSD in the 3.5″ design..nobody else can do this. The problem previously was fitting the memory in a single controller design with acceptable heat dissipation and adequate performance…this would have meant a dual controller design.

Mike
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Mike

Every thing looks good but are the 4k read speeds a little slow for the new ssds?

Liviu
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Liviu

Your Nvidia GTX980 is very twisted under the load of the PCIX cables and you have nice but wrong wire management . It isn`t good for it for long time. Good luck . Nice review.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Explain further as i don’t see what you are speaking of whatsoever? Are you saying the physical positioning of the wires?

Liviu
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Liviu

The video card is bended upwards from the PCiX cables from the pict with the case in page 3 in the review .

Simon
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Simon

I agree, it looks like you have pulled your PCIex cables for the graphics card alittle to snug, and its bending the card ever so slightly upwards. Which will be pulling stress onto the PCIex slot on the motherboard.

Liviu
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Liviu

If you mark me an email adress I can show your pictures with further explaining . Or let me put picture on disqus .