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Marvell Bravera SC5, the 14GB / s PCIe 5.0 SSD Controller

There is no doubt that we are in the decade of the SSD, the technological changes that are going to take place in the coming years will mean the massive adoption of this storage format, whose main advantage is in access speed, both in access latency as in bandwidth. In the latter case, due to the use of PCI Express interfaces, whose fifth generation is just around the corner.

Marvel Bravera SC5: NVMe SSD under PCIe 5.0

Under its Bravera brand, Marvell presented its new SC5 product line a few days ago, which consists of a series of NVMe M.2 SSD units, but with a particularity that differentiates them from the rest of the units launched so far in the market, since that are compliant with version 5.0 of the PCI Express standard.

This means that they have a transfer speed that can reach up to 14 GB / s between flash controller and system PCI Express interface. Double the 7 GB / s of NVMe SSDs under PCI Express 4.0. Specifically, they will do so with two versions of their memory controller. The 8-channel MV-SS1331 and the 16-channel MV-SS1333. It should be remembered that the channels are the number of NAND Flash chips installed in the SSD with which the flash controller interacts.

As for the PC we know that while Intel will bet on the full PCI Express 5.0, AMD for the moment will not do it with the chipsets that will accompany the AM5 socket, although it is too early to say so and AMD may take a step back.

Challenges for the adoption of PCIe 5 in SSDs

Thermal pad SSD

The main problem for PCIe 5.0 is heat and consumption, the jump from PCI Express 4.0 to 5.0 means doubling the bandwidth without increasing the number of pins for full backward compatibility, which means a considerable increase in energy consumption when transmitting data and with it also the heat transmittedto. Right now the NVMe PCI Express 4.0 SSDs are a huge challenge for certain form factors such as laptops and this problem will be even more accentuated with the NVMe PCIe 5.0.

Another advantage that we will possibly see in the new generation SSDs will be in the adoption of hardware systems for compression and decompression of data in real time, but with the ability to operate with several gigabytes per second of bandwidth. We have already seen this measure on consoles and it requires changes to next-generation CPUs. With this, NVMe SSDs gain virtually more storage capacity, but this consumes a lot of CPU power.

Be that as it may, we are talking about several dozen times the bandwidth of a SATA SSD and therefore a considerable performance increase. Nor can we forget that all NVMe PCI 5.0 SSDs will be compatible with previous PCIe generations.