The Silicon Energy P34A80 SSD Evaluation: Phison E12 With Newer Firmware

Silicon Energy's SSD product line has all the time supplied many entry-level choices which have not too long ago entered the NVMe market. Silicon Energy is uncommon amongst SSD manufacturers for utilizing Silicon Movement and Phison controllers and reference designs. Most manufacturers that use turnkey drive options are unique companions with simply considered one of these two controller distributors. For his or her NVMe drives, Silicon Energy has been utilizing second-generation NVIDes from Phison. Based mostly on the Phison E8T DRAMless controller, the P32A80 was complemented with the Phison E12-based P34A80 high-end drive final yr.

Previous to the provision of retail merchandise, we had a preview of the Phison E12 controller resolution with a take a look at of a technical pattern. Later we examined the Corsair Drive Collection MP510. On this foundation, we have now a reasonably good concept of ​​what to anticipate from the P34A80, however there are two probably important adjustments. First, the Silicon Energy drive is configured with a bigger usable capability and thus a smaller free house than the Corsair drive: 1024 GB as an alternative of 960 GB, whereas each drives have the identical quantity of flash reminiscence on the onerous drive. Reserving extra free house is often used to enhance persistent efficiency on write-heavy workloads and to cut back the worst-case write achieve, thereby rising the write time of a drive. The Silicon Energy P34A80 could subsequently be at a drawback for the assessments in our suite that measure the efficiency of a full drive.

Secondly, the Silicon Energy drive comes with a more recent firmware than we had beforehand examined: the Corsair MP510 had the model and the P34A80 the ECFM12.1. Usually, many firmware variations are displayed for every Phison SSD controller. For the S10 SATA controller, a few of these variations have been required to assist new NAND flash reminiscence launched over the lengthy lifetime of the controller. With the E7, the primary NVMe controller from Phison, we've seen not less than 4 completely different firmware variations within the mail order bundle, however finally none of them may get sufficient energy to make the controller aggressive with different high-end NVMe drives again then. The Phison E12 was launched as a critical competitor, so there may be much less want for optimized firmware. On the identical time, nevertheless, we've discovered that different controller performs higher when paired with the identical Toshiba / SanDisk 64L TLC, particularly Western Digital's residence controller used within the WD Black product line.

Not all producers of Phison SSDs can present firmware updates. The present firmware improve from Silicon Energy is a yr outdated, however its NVMe drives didn’t require a firmware replace. Corsair was a lot quicker available on the market with its Phison E12 drive, however the 12.1 firmware has not but been packed for its prospects. MyDigitalSSD was one other person of the E12 controller with BPX Professional, the primary retail product to obtain firmware replace 12.1.

Specs for the Silicon Energy P34A80 SSD

256 GB
512 GB
1 TB

Mannequin No.

kind issue
M.2 2280 double sided

PCIe x4 NVMe 1.three

Phison PS5012-E12

Nand Flash
Toshiba 256Gb 64L 3D TLC

Sequential studying
3200 MB / s

Sequential writing
3000 MB / s

5 years

Silicon Energy provides solely essentially the most primary specs for the P34A80. It lacks numbers for random I / O efficiency, energy consumption, and write-resistance. The sequential I / O efficiency figures are usually not damaged down by capability, however are a bit conservative in comparison with different manufacturers selling their 1 TB Phison E12 drives.

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Above: Phison E12 Engineering Pattern
Under: Silicon Energy P34A80

If we flip to the drive itself, we won’t discover any surprises underneath the sticker. The Toshiba 64L 3D TLC is now very acquainted and the printed circuit board format has solely been barely revised in comparison with the primary examined reference mannequin Phison E12. The drive is double-sided even at decrease capacities, as a result of there are some passive elements on the again of the cardboard moreover DRAM and NAND.

The Competitors

The closest benchmark for the Silicon Energy P34A80 is the Corsair Drive Collection MP510 with an identical however older firmware and configured for a lower-end use. Different drives on this take a look at that use the identical Toshiba / SanDisk 3D TLC however embody completely different controllers:

Kingston A1000, primarily based on the entry-level NVMe Phison E8 controller
WD Black SN750, primarily based on Western Digital's Western Controller
Plextor M9Pe, primarily based on the Marvell 88SS1093 controller

The Patriot Hellfire exhibits what the outdated NVMe controller platform of the primary era of Phison E7 with 15nm planar MLC NAND provides. Its efficiency can solely compete with right now's entry-level NVMe drives.

AnandTech 2018 Shopper SSD Testbed

Intel Xeon E3 1240 v5

ASRock Fatal1ty E3V5 Efficiency Gaming / OC

Intel C232

4x eight GB G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR4-2400 CL15

AMD Radeon HD 5450, 1920 x 1200 at 60 Hz

Software program
Home windows 10×64, model 1709

Linux kernel model four.14, fio model three.6

Specter / meltdown microcode and OS patches, as of Might 2018

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