REPORT SUMMARY AND FINAL THOUGHTS
HLNAND has been around since 2010 when an Ottawa based company named MOSAID introduced it to the tech world. Novachips signed on with MOSAID to jointly develop HLNAND in 2012 and, even back then, they identified that a HLSSD would support capacities of 8TB. MOSAID was eventually bought out and, seeing the value of HLNAND, Novachips purchased the IP (intellectual property) specific to HLNAND in January of this year. It is not new. Novachips has been developing this for years and sees something special in ‘hyperlink memory’.
In fact, having spent so much time getting to know the technology from the inside out, we can’t help but wonder why this wasn’t bought by any of the big names; Samsung, Micron, Intel or Toshiba. Novachips has developed and is now marketing a technology that nobody else has been able to up to this point. This was more than ripe for the picking when SanDisk could have used a hand…or two. Through it all, Novachips believed in the technology and stuck with it. We think they are about to reap the rewards of that loyalty.
Traditi0nally, the difficulty with manufacturing a high-capacity SSD was NAND stage of development tied into the cost of creating large capacity NAND flash memory. We had to consider the power needed to run that many memory chips, along with sufficient data transfer speeds to justify that SSDs manufacturing. Simply put, it just doesn’t make sense to market a 4TB SATA 2 SSD when one can buy 2x 2TB SATA 3 SSDs cheaper. We then had to look at the number of controllers that would make all of this possible, and factor in additional things such as the heat that might result.
Novachips’ ‘HLSSD’ (Hyperlink SSD) contains a single controller with Novachips proprietary HLNAND and is capable, not only of the 4TB and 8TB capacities we have tested here but also, capacities up to 16TB and even 32TB. This same SSD is low power, compliant with ASPM, DEVSLP and TCG OPAL 2.0, has optimum SATA 3 speeds, and includes AES 256-Bit encryption, thermal protection, power loss protection and a 3-year warranty. Novachips Scalar is compatible with any memory on the market (remembering only HLNAND for high capacities), along with your choice of interface, be it SATA 1.5/3/6, PCIe x2/4 or NVMe. In fact, we will have the NVMe version in our hands soon enough for testing and report.
In our testing, we went that extra step for this report. We wanted to see just what the Scalar was capable of so we ran it through PCMark 8 Extended Storage Testing several times. This was much longer than the typical single run of 17-18 hours and much longer than we ever have for any other SSD. The Novachip Scalar SSD has been filled more times than your bath tub. Through it all, the SSD still runs great. The PCMark 8 Extended Storage results we have published are the last run we did and this SSD just won’t give up. It is a very well manufactured product.
Availability and pricing… This product is available now to enterprise and oem and they are welcome to contact Novachips with inquiries. Novachips has also just opened a Shopify Store to put this SSD within reach of small business and the consumer. It is a niche product and, as such, is running at a premium of .50-.65/GB. After all, they are the world’s first 7mm 2.5″ 4TB and 15mm 2.5″ 8TB SSDs with general availability, and their lifeline is a bit more than most at 3,900TBW. Very soon, we will also see the Novachip N550 Express HLSSD available in the store with similar capacity and speeds of 1.5GB/s, but not before our report we hope!.
HLNAND technology is a remarkable technology that Novachips has played a very large part in developing. We believe the Novachips Scalar HLNAND SSD is worthy of our Editor’s Choice.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
I cannot answer that and there are several SSD vendors that list only minimal SMART attributes….looking for that F1 value!
No reply from Novachips yet? Probably working up a new marketing spin for their questionable write durability. 🙂
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 “firstname.lastname@example.org” then I can give you some good DC for your continuous interests and for your test too.
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.
Hi dravo1, all warranty support will be handled by either S. Korea HQ or USA office. Novachips has 3 locations. Please see here; https://www.novachips.com/contact_us.shtml
Any info on power consumption?
We haven’t tested power consumption just yet and, should we proceed with full enterprise reviews, it will be complete. Specifications are listed.
“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.
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.
Every thing looks good but are the 4k read speeds a little slow for the new ssds?
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.
Explain further as i don’t see what you are speaking of whatsoever? Are you saying the physical positioning of the wires?
The video card is bended upwards from the PCiX cables from the pict with the case in page 3 in the review .
It is simply the look..card sits fine.
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.
If you mark me an email adress I can show your pictures with further explaining . Or let me put picture on disqus .