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Tom's Hardware Reviews and Benchmarks Phison's S10 Controller

Tom's Hardware Reviews and Benchmarks Phison's S10 Controller
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Synopsis: Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, Chris Ramseyer reviews the Phison S10 (PS3110-S10) controller as seen in MyDigitalSSD BP5 series drives.

In this article, Tom's Hardware Contributing Editor Chris Ramseyer reviews and benchmarks the Phison PS3110-S10 (S10) controller with three types of NAND flash. Using Toshiba's A19 TLC, 15nm MLC and Micron L95B 16nm MLC flash, Ramseyer looks to show readers the capabilities of each combination with the S10 controller to use as a guide when shopping for an upgrade.

With all the options on the market today, and manufacturers pushing performance to new levels, it's more crucial than ever to know what combinations will give you the best performance for your budget and where you can get similar results for less.

The Phison PS3110-S10 Controller

"The S10 is a Swiss Army controller that can take on any role through quality engineering."

Industry and consumer demands for SSDs vary and controller design often benefits one area of the industry over the other. The Phison S10 controller, on the other hand, is designed to excel at the low-end use of the consumer market as well as the heavy usage of industrial grade applications.

Phison S10 Controller Market Benefits

  • Industrial: The S10 controller supports demanding temperature fluctuations from -40°C to 85°C.
  • High-end Client: The quad core S10 controller CPU does extremely well in getting the best speeds from the SATA interface, and performs above expectations in Tom's Hardware benchmark tests. Ramseyer also had this to say about the potential the S10 controller has for gamers:"Gaming enthusiasts should be excited by its high I/O per second and 560 MB/s throughput."
  • Entry-level Client: Entry level SSDs are cheaper by design to attract everyday users, and will more often have the controller paired with the cheaper to produce TLC flash. For better performing SSDs you might want to consider MLC flash, but Ramseyer had this to say about the S10 controller in combo with a TLC flash SSD: "And we expect the performance of S10-equipped SSDs with TLC flash to compete with existing SSDs armed with MLC NAND, making the transition from MLC to TLC largely transparent."

Phison S10 Controller Features

  • Quad-core CPU: Three CPUs dedicated to the flash management means lower command latency
  • 256-bit AES Engine: 256-bit AES encryption is a government and industrial requirement, which will protect data from loss and SSD end-of-life deletion.
  • Eight-Channel and 2TB Support: By having access to 8 channels of flash, the S10 will support up to 2TB of capacity.
  • TLC Support: The first controller from Phison to support TLC NAND flash
  • Power-Fail Circuit: To prevent data loss from a power failure, the S10 is designed to push data from the DDR to the NAND flash component when necessary
  • End to End Data Path Protection: Finds and fixes and errors on the data path.
  • Smart ECC: Phison's Smart ECC is new RAID ECC technology that will recover uncorrectable errors.
  • SmartRefresh: Implements two different kind of scans to prevent read interruption, the first is
  • GuaranteedFlush: Ensures that specific information is written to the NAND flash and not the DDR memory.
  • P-Fail (Full Power Loss Protection) Circuit: This will allow the controller to recognize when a power failure is imminent and will prepare the SSD to shut down safely and safeguard data from a potential loss.

Benchmark Results

Alternating the flash, Ramseyer puts the S10 through a variety of tests including Sequential Read/Write, Random Read/Write, Mixed Work Load, Steady State, 128KB Sequential Read/Write, PCMark 8 Storage Tests, Latency Tests, and Notebook Battery Life.

The results from testing look into the variety of performance by the different NAND flash grouped with the Phison S10 controller. SSDs with MLC fared better than those with TLC flash, but the comparison has to take the intended use of the SSD into consideration. For example an MLC flash SSD with the S10 controller would be preferred in industrial settings for performance whereas the TLC flash is more than enough for everyday internet and software use.

Though the results highlighted the differences between the different flash types, Ramseyer did have this to say about the S10 controller in the tested SSDs:

"...all deliver exceptional sequential read performance."

In Conclusion

In conclusion, Ramseyer seems pleased with the Phison S10 controller as it performed well with the different flash and he believes it shows promise when combined with flash memory being bought out this year.

"...the S10 should be strong enough to compete with Samsung's 850 Pro and SanDisk's Extreme Pro SATA SSDs."

Featuring the S10 controller, the MyDigitalSSD BP5 plans to do just that.

To read the review in it's entirety, click here.

To read more on the storage testing by Tom's Hardware, click here.

To find out more about MLC, TLC and SLC flash, click here.

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