Size, speed, reliability, and value are the variables that have determined SSD success since it’s introduction back in 2007. Today’s consumer can buy a SSD with blistering speeds of 2.5GB/s, another with 2TB of storage, both will last longer than their need requires, and now we can find prices at or below .25/GB. Two things still create a bottleneck in SSD capacity though, these being the mechanics of today’s SSDs along with flash pricing. Novachips hopes to tackle this with the introduction of their Scalar family of 4 and 8TB notebook size SSDs, now available to oem, enterprise and even the consumer.
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. In result, multiple controllers would be required to power so many chips, as well as ensuring an adequate level of performance for the SSD. Add to this the fact that the inevitable heat would make the idea of containing 4TB, much less 8TB of storage within a notebook solution unrealistic….that is until Novachips engineered a new memory solution called HLNAND (or Hyperlink NAND).
This report will demonstrate both the Novachips Scalar Series 4TB and 8TB SSDs and both are 2.5″ SSDs, the 4TB being 7mm in height while the 8TB is 15mm. Both contain a single SSD controller, present no additional heat concerns than we might experience from a typical SSD, and both are 6Gbps SSDs that perform at the top of the SATA 3 bandwidth. This is something that we have never seen in any similar capacity prior, short of Samsung’s recently announced enterprise only PM1633a. The PN1633a is a 16TB SAS SSD that has never been seen in the wild and will never be available outside of large quantity enterprise purchase. Also, stay tuned because before long, we we will have the Novachips NVMe SSD in our hand, capable of 1.5GB/s and 16TB of storage space.
SPECIFICATIONS AND WARRANTY
Novachips Scalar SSDs are SATA 3 SSDs and are available in 2, 4 and 8TB capacities right now. All are capable of 520MB/s read and 500MB/s write throughput with up to 70K random read IOPS and 80K random write. Power consumption is listed at up to 6.09W (active) and 2.73W (Idle) average for the 8TB version and all have 256-Bit AES encryption which may be enabled, as well as thermal protection and power loss data protection. Reliability is listed at 3,900TBW and the Scalar comes with a 3-year limited warranty. Initial pricing has just been released at $2499 for the 4TB and $4999 for the 8TB and immediate purchases can be made at the Novachips Shopify website.
WHAT IS HLNAND?
In its simplest form, HLNAND is much like Thunderbolt in many ways. It uses a daisy-chain, or ‘Ring’ topology to connect memory chips, much unlike the present parallel bus architecture that is very limited.
Up to 255 memory chips can be connected in the ‘Ring’ and each only connects to the next, meaning that each only receives and transmits a single load. Each module shown in this below left diagram can be broken down to 4 banks and the HLNAND interface as we see to the right of that.
Because of this single load transfer, memory speed is maintained throughout the ring and power requirements are significantly lower than that of a multi-controller parallel bus architecture.This then results in significantly less heat as well. Let’s take a look at a HHHL AIC card layout:
Now consider the capacity in this AIC, considering that each module in the sample can now be 256GB of RAW storage, and all chips running into a single controller design.