Silicon Motion Announces SM2708 SD Express Controller

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Silicon Movement has introduced their first SD Card controller to help the NVMe-based SD Specific interface. The brand new SM2708 controller is able to sequential switch speeds of 1700 MB/s, vastly increased than the 104 MB/s most SD gadgets and playing cards are restricted to utilizing the older however widely-supported UHS-I interface.

In 2018, model 7.zero of the SD specification launched the PCIe and NVMe-based SD Specific interface as the brand new method ahead for SD playing cards. The older UHS-II and UHS-III interfaces developed in variations four by way of 6 of the SD customary and able to speeds from 156 MB/s to 624 MB/s have been deserted in favor of a single lane of PCIe gen3 (~985 MB/s). Final yr, model eight.zero of the SD specification added help for PCIe gen4 speeds and a second PCIe lane, bringing the theoretical most switch velocity as much as nearly four GB/s.

Silicon Movement’s SM2708 is a two-lane controller, however nonetheless utilizing PCIe gen3 velocity, therefore the highest velocity cannot fairly attain 2 GB/s. This has the potential to carry SD card efficiency as much as close to the degrees of entry-level client NVMe SSDs for laptops and desktops—aggressive with SSDs primarily based on slightly-outdated controllers just like the Phison E8T or Silicon Movement SM2263XT. The SM2708 controller makes use of two NAND channels as a substitute of the 4 sometimes utilized by entry-level SSD controllers, however the SM2708 is able to a 1200 MT/s IO velocity that enables it to get good efficiency out of latest NAND flash generations with out the ability and dimension penalties of a four-channel answer.

In 2019, Silicon Movement’s major competitor Phison introduced their PS5017 SD Specific controller. That is primarily based on the sooner SD 7.zero specification and thus is a PCIe three x1 design and restricted to about 870 MB/s. In February 2021 Phison introduced they have been about to begin transport playing cards primarily based on this answer. Silicon Movement’s SM2708 controller may not take that lengthy to show into precise merchandise, however they clearly have missed out on the primary spherical of SD Specific competitors—although they are able to leapfrog Phison’s answer.

Underlying all of the developments associated to latest flash reminiscence card requirements has been the problem of poor adoption. For years, storage tech has been advancing a lot quicker than digital camera tech. Storage expertise firms stand prepared to provide extra superior reminiscence playing cards, however they can’t succeed available in the market until there are host gadgets prepared to make use of the upper efficiency. We have seen a decade of failed successors to the previous SD and CF requirements that now appear pitifully gradual. SD’s UHS-II and UHS-III, CF’s CFast and XQD, and UFS playing cards have all been demonstrated as working applied sciences and all finally made it to market to some extent, however with very restricted success. The SD and CF worlds have converged on PCIe and NVMe as the best way ahead, adopting interfaces that have already got a thriving ecosystem and long-term viability in different kind components. That makes it extra doubtless that requirements like SD Specific will really catch on, however it might nonetheless be a number of years earlier than PCIe-based interfaces are supported on any telephones or greater than a handful of high-end cameras.

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