First launched again at CES 2022, this morning SK hynix is lastly kicking off gross sales of their new retail client SSD, the Platinum P41. The successor to the favored Gold P31, the P41 incorporates the newest controller and NAND know-how from SK hynix, upgrading their flagship SSD lineup with PCIe 4.0 connectivity and the efficiency to match. Although with costs topping out at $260 for the 2TB mannequin, it might appear that SK hynix has even higher ambition than earlier than, inserting the P41 squarely within the high-end section of the SSD market.
Whereas SK hynix has been well-established identify within the NAND and OEM SSD markets for years, their presence within the client retail market is way more latest. The corporate solely kicked off their (up to date) retail SSD efforts again in August of 2020, with the Gold P31 collection. However in a single technology and with only a single product, SK hynix was capable of carve out a spot out there based mostly on the power of their preliminary P31 drives. With strong efficiency and superb energy effectivity, the P31 made for a very fashionable PCIe 3 SSD, particularly for aftermarket laptop computer upgrades. And now SK hynix will get to attempt to enhance on that for the PCIe 4 technology with the Platinum P41.
Taking issues from the highest, the Platinum P41 SSD is the direct follow-up to the P31. By using an up to date controller (Aries) and their latest-generation 176-layer TLC NAND, SK hynix is aiming to duplicate their early success with a good quicker NVMe drive. And but there’s additionally a component of “if it’s not damaged, don’t repair it” to the design of the P41 with respect to its building and have set, which isn’t a foul factor coming from the P31. It’s a bit greater than a speedier, PCIe 4.0 model of the venerable P31, however not by an excessive amount of extra.
|SK hynix Platinum P41 SSD Specs|
|Capability||500 GB||1 TB||2 TB|
|Type Issue||M.2 2280 single-sided|
|Interface||PCIe 4 x4 NVMe|
|Controller||SK hynix Aries|
|DRAM||SK hynix LPDDR4|
|NAND Flash||SK hynix 176L 3D TLC|
|Sequential Learn (128kB)||7000 MB/s|
|4700 MB/s||6500 MB/s|
|Random Learn IOPS (4kB)||960k||1400k|
|Random Write IOPS (4kB)||1000k||1300k|
|Idle||< 50 mW|
|L1.2 Idle||< 5 mW|
|Write Endurance||500 TB
On the coronary heart of this latest SSD is SK hynix’s in-house controller, Aries, the corporate’s first PCIe 4.0 controller. Whereas SK hynix doesn’t provide an in depth breakdown of its specs, we do know that it implements a multi-core CPU setup. And based mostly on the development of the drive – in addition to what’s identified in regards to the firm’s 176L TLC NAND – it might seem that that is one other 4-channel design. Which, just like the P31 earlier than it, is a notable departure from different high-end NVMe SSDs, that are nonetheless sometimes 8-channel designs.
Paired with Aries is a DRAM buffer, within the typical 1 GB per 1TB of flash ratio. SK hynix is as soon as once more utilizing their very own in-house DRAM right here, as soon as once more utilizing LPDDR4 reminiscence. Given how new Aries is, I’m a bit shocked to see that SK hynix isn’t utilizing LPDDR5 right here, however on the finish of the day except they’ve a means to make use of the extra good thing about LPDDR5, the advantages can be restricted.
On the NAND facet of issues, that is the primary retail SSD with SK hynix’s 176L TLC 3D NAND. And whereas SK hynix doesn’t get the honors of being the primary out of the gate on this technology with 176L NAND (Micron takes that title), it’s nonetheless considered one of only a handful of drives available on the market with what’s primarily the latest technology of NAND.
Based mostly on disclosures from ISSCC and different occasions, it appears like SK hynix’s 176L is similar to their previous-generation 128L NAND. We’re nonetheless taking a look at 512Gb dies organized into 4 planes, with the corporate seemingly investing the majority of their good points into lowering their bodily die sizes as a substitute. So SK hynix can totally populate the P41 with simply 1TB of NAND, which is mirrored within the efficiency figures. In the meantime, the I/O interface pace has been cranked up by 50% versus the final technology (to 1.6Gb/sec), although this system throughput of the brand new NAND is just about 27% quicker, at 168MB/sec for a single die.
In any other case, on condition that SK hynix’s 176L NAND doesn’t enhance their die capacities in any respect, it doesn’t come as an excessive amount of of a shock that their general SSD capacities are remaining unchanged versus the P31. Which means the lineup begins at 500GB and tops out at 2TB, which is ample for a lot of the market, however not notably spectacular in mid-2022. Nonetheless this additionally signifies that SK hynix has been capable of retain their single-sided building – inserting all the parts on the highest of the drive – which makes it notably effectively fitted to cramped laptops and different gadgets the place NAND on the back-side could also be undesirable.
With reference to efficiency, in lots of respects the brand new P41 drives look lots like a doubled-up P31. Sequential learn speeds are rated for as much as 7GB/sec – primarily hitting the PCIe bottleneck – and in the meantime the totally populated drives are rated to put in writing as much as 6.5GB/sec. As at all times, that is in opposition to the SLC cache, so speeds after spilling over to TLC might be a lot slower. SK hynix doesn’t disclose official throughput figures there, however based mostly on the P31’s specs and the quicker program throughput of the 176L NAND, we’re probably taking a look at 2.0-2.1GB/sec for sequential writes. So like different PCIe 4.0 drives, the hole between cached and uncached writes is rising, as PCIe speeds are enhancing quicker than the write speeds of the TLC NAND itself.
Random IOPS efficiency can be considerably improved over the previous-generation P31. SK hynix is claiming 1.4M random learn IOPS, and an equally blistering 1.3M random write IOPS. These are at excessive queue depths (QD32), so efficiency at QD1 might be way more humble – although nonetheless within the tens-of-thousands of IOPS vary. In that respect, even the partially-populated 500GB mannequin continues to be rated for the next IOPS charge than the quickest P31.
In the meantime, the write endurance of the drive/NAND stays unchanged from the P31. Which means 500 TBW for the 500GB drive, 750 TBW for the 1TB drive, and 1200 TBW for the most important 2TB drive. Which works out to 0.3 drive writes per day for the most important drive, and rising barely to just about 0.5 DWPD for the smallest drive.
Efficiency apart, the opposite main issue within the authentic P31’s reputation was its energy consumption, and that’s going to warrant a detailed eye with the brand new P41. On the prime finish, the official ranking for energetic energy consumption is 7.5W, which is 1.2W greater than the P31. Provided that we by no means noticed the 1TB P31 attain 6.3W, it’s unlikely that the P41 goes to hit 7.5W both. Nonetheless the facility consumption of SSDs – and notably SSD controllers – has been going up with the shift to PCIe 4.0, and SK hynix will not be proof against that. So it will likely be very attention-grabbing to see the place the P41 stands, and in the event that they’re capable of preserve their excessive energetic energy effectivity. In the meantime the idle and deep sleep energy consumption figures stay unchanged at below 50mW and below 5mW respectively.
Past peak efficiency figures, SK hynix doesn’t publish any further efficiency information/benchmarks, so it’s arduous to say the place they formally anticipate the drive to land versus the competitors. Nonetheless, if their retail pricing displays their efficiency expectations, then it might appear SK hynix is aiming for the high-end of market. At $260, the 2TB P41 is priced to compete with Samsung’s flagship 980 Professional, and it’s an analogous story at $150 for the 1TB mannequin and $105 for the 500GB mannequin. This places the drives at 13¢/GB for the 2TB mannequin, and rising from there.
Suffice it to say, these costs are an enormous step up from P31 pricing, the place even when the drive will not be on sale (and it steadily is), it’s a very moderately priced drive that’s sometimes below 10¢/GB. In comparison with the P31, the P41 must be considerably quicker in all circumstances, however SK hynix actually isn’t promoting a budget-priced drive right here. The flip facet is that if SK hynix desires to cost flagship costs, then they’ll must you should definitely ship flagship efficiency with the P41. In any other case they’re more likely to have bother transferring this drive in a market with loads of different choices for high-end PCIe 4.0 TLC SSDs.
In any case, at present’s launch signifies that PC customers can have the prospect to take a look at the brand new drives first-hand. SK hynix has already began gross sales of the brand new drives a number of hours forward of at present’s embargo, and just like the P31, they’re specializing in promoting them on to customers through their Amazon storefront. All three drive capacities include a 5 yr guarantee.