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

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.

Novachips Scalar NS370 Both SSDs Top

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).

Novachips Scalar 8TB SSD Disassembled WM

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.


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.


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.

Novachips HLNAND Both Sides

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.

HLNAND Ring Topology

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.


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    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?

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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 drive as we ran it for so long and Novachips is looking into this for us.

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        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?

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        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.

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        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?

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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!

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

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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 “” then I can give you some good DC for your continuous interests and for your test too.

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        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.

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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;

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    Any info on power consumption?

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    “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.

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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.

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

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    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.

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