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Intel P4510 U.2 SSD ships with 64-layer TLC 3D NAND

Intel launched a new P4510 Series of U.2 solid-state drives (SSDs) equipped with its 64-layer triple-level cell (TLC) 3D NAND flash and enhanced firmware, enabling greater storage density and lower random read latency than the prior P4500 model.

The enterprise Intel P4510 Series is the first datacenter SSD to use Intel’s latest 64-layer 3D NAND designed for bulk storage. The company began shipping client SSDs with the denser 64-layer flash technology last year.

The Intel P4510 PCI Express (PCIe) SSDs began shipping at at 1 TB and 2 TB capacities last year to cloud service providers (CSPs) and is now making available 4 TB and 8 TB drives to CSPs and channel customers. Intel expects to ship the new P4510 SSDs to OEM partners later this year.

The prior P4500 model used Intel’s 32-layer TLC 3D NAND technology. The highest capacity available for the P45000 SSDs in the U.2 form factor was 4 TB. Intel also lists 8 TB P4500 options in the new “ruler” form factor, named for its long, thin shape.

The latest Intel P4510 PCIe SSDs are 2.5-inch, 15-mm U.2 form factor. Intel plans to add lower power 110-mm M.2 and 7-mm U.2 P4511 datacenter SSD options later this year.

Intel claimed the new P4510 SSD boosts sequential write bandwidth up to 90% over the older P4500 model and improves quality of service up to 10 times. Firmware enhancements allowing granular I/O prioritization help the Intel P4510 SSD to cut mixed workload latency by up to two times and read workload latency by up to 10 times, according to Intel.

The Intel P4510 Series supports non-volatile memory express (NVMe) 1.2, with four PCIe 3.1 lanes, as well as the NVMe Management Interface (NVMe-MI) for operational insight.

Hot-pluggable U.2 SSDs
Intel enabled additional management and serviceability features in the P4510 SSDs through its Volume Management Device (VMD) and Virtual RAID on CPU (VROC). The VMD and VROC platform-connected technologies help to facilitate hot pluggability with U.2 SSDs, LED light management to help users locate failed drives, and RAID configuration simplification and acceleration, according to Intel.

Industry-wide, U.2 SSDs currently account for approximately 25% of the unit volume of NVMe PCIe SSDs, and they will become the majority in 2019, according to Greg Wong, founder and principal analysts at Forward Insights.

But Greg Matson, director of SSD strategic planning and product marketing at Intel, said Intel will push the Enterprise & Datacenter SSD Form Factor (EDSFF) 1U Long and 1U Short as the “preferred and optimized” form factors for 3D NAND SSD bulk storage this year. Intel introduced the early version of the EDSFF SSDs as the ruler form factor at last year’s Flash Memory Summit and then worked to get EDSFF standardized.

Matson said 1U Long SSDs allow massive capacity scaling, and the EDSFF SSDs are PCIe 4.0- and PCIe 5.0-ready and support up to 16 lanes.

“While we think U.2 is a pretty darn good form factor for storage, it’s not as good as EDSFF,” Matson said. “We can make much more thermally efficient platforms requiring about half the airflow, and about half the airflow is also less than power than the U.2 form factors.”

Matson said three of the four major drive suppliers and several “tier 1” ODMs and OEMs, including Quanta and Supermicro, support EDSFF. He noted that Intel has already shipped ruler SSDs to IBM Cloud and Tencent, one of the largest cloud service providers in China.

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