It is anticipated that the new E31T controller will enable common PCIe 5.0 solid-state drives (SSDs) to surpass the previous generation, but without the need for ridiculous active cooling.

The introduction of PCIe Gen 5.0 solid-state drives (SSDs) has been a challenging one, if we are to be honest. While Gen 4 drives have become something of a standard in many high-end systems, Gen 5 drives have failed to take off in a similar manner. This is partly due to the fact that the majority of customers find that traditional solid-state drives (SSDs) provide superior performance in real-world scenarios at a price that is far more affordable. In addition to the exorbitant cost and limited use of this kind of speed in the present state of affairs, there is still another very significant elephant in the room, and that is heat.

Phison, on the other hand, has revealed that it will be showcasing a number of new devices at its booth at the Consumer Electronics Show 2024 (as reported by Tom’s Hardware), and one controller in particular seems to be aimed at alleviating those annoying thermals.

An M.2 PCIe Gen 5 controller with a maximum sequential read and write performance capability of up to 10,800 MB/s, the PS5031-E31T is a controller with a snappily named name. When compared to comparable PCIe Gen 5 drives, this would place it on the slower end of the range; nevertheless, it would still be a good deal quicker than the theoretical maximum speed limit of 7,880 MB/s that is associated with PCIe 4.0 x4.

Nevertheless, it is hoped that it will make it possible to create Gen 5 drives without the need for an active solid-state drive (SSD) cooler. This is due to the fact that it is intended to function at lower power and emit less heat as a result. The adoption of this technology would make it possible for it to be used in tiny systems, laptops, and portable devices that lack the physical space necessary for the implementation of cumbersome heat-dissipation technologies.

TSMC’s 7nm process is used to construct the new controller, which has a 4-channel configuration, an ARM Coretex R5 CPU, AES 256 encryption, and Phison’s 7th Generation LDPC integrated circuit. In addition to supporting 3D TLC and QLC NAND flash, it will have a maximum capacity of up to 8 terabytes.

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Another low-power unit, the second controller that was introduced, is designed to work with the 2230 form factor M.2 solid-state drives that are used in portable gaming devices such as the Steam Deck. The PS5027-E27T is a PCIe Gen 4 controller that was constructed using TSMC’s 12nm technology. It has a maximum sequential performance rating of 7,400 MB/s for reads and 6,700 MB/s for writes.

For the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Phison also intends to demonstrate their PS5026-E26 Max14um Gen 5 SSD controller, which seems to be an incredible performance beast. This is not the first time that we have witnessed the controller being utilised here for the purpose of demonstration. In the past, this drive has been demonstrated to be capable of reading more than 14,000 MB/s and writing more than 12,000 MB/s. However, in order to deal with all of that heat, it requires some serious cooling due to its massive performance.

Considering that the test drive is said to be using two Frore Systems AirJet Minis in order to prevent itself from throttling, it will be fascinating to hear the kind of noise that this solid-state drive (SSD) produces while it is operating at full capacity.

At the same time, Sabrent has hinted that it will be showcasing its Rocket 5 Plus solid-state drives (SSDs) at the Las Vegas exhibition. These SSDs are designed around the Phison E26 controller, but we do not yet know what kind of lavish cooling system it will be using.

It is one thing to beat the heat, but despite the fact that all of this performance seems to be excellent on paper, it is still difficult to conceive that the adoption of Gen 5 will grow until costs decrease. Given the challenges that are now being experienced in the manufacture of NAND, this seems unlikely to happen any time soon. Whatever the case may be, this technology seems to be remarkable as a showcase of prospective advancements; however, we will not be able to experience it for ourselves until the Consumer Electronics Show in 2024.

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