Single package PCIe with 96-layer 3D Flash memory

17th January 2019
Alex Lynn

The introduction of the fourth generation of Toshiba Memory’s single package ball grid array (BGA) solid state drive (SSD) BG4 series was announced at CES 2019. Toshiba Memory’s new line-up of ultra-compact NVMe SSDs places both the flash and an all-new controller into one package, bringing design flexibility to ultra-thin PC notebooks, embedded systems and server boot in data centres.

“The BGA form factor SSD enables larger amounts of flash to be added to smaller and thinner devices, and extends battery life to improve the mobile experience,” said Jeff Janukowicz, Research Vice President, Solid State Drives and Enabling Technologies at IDC. “NVMe BGA solutions, such as the new TOSHIBA BG4 series, provide OEMs with a better-than-SATA storage option that boosts demand for client SSD units. In fact, we expect this demand to increase at a 2017-2022 CAGR of 14%.”

The introduction of the fourth generation BG series represents what is reportedly the densest client SSD by volumetric measurements. Utilising Toshiba Memory’s 96-layer BiCS FLASH 3D memory, BG4 increases the maximum capacity from 512 to 1,024GB (approximately 1TB) and provides a slim 1.3mm profile for capacities up to 5,12GB. Furthermore, the BG4 series doubles the PCIe Gen3 lane count from two to four, delivering more performance in the same power envelope when compared to the prior generation product. 

Performance improvements over the BG3 series include:

  • Up to 2,250 MB/s sequential read and up to 1,700 MB/s sequential write performance.
  • Up to 380,000 random read IOPS and 190,000 random write IOPS.

Paul Rowan, Vice President of the SSD business unit of Toshiba Memory Europe, stated: “The BG4 is set to rapidly replace SATA SSDs in notebooks and PCs. Not only because of its performance that exceeds client SATA drives up to four times, but also because of its reduced power consumption and compact footprint.” 

Compared to BG3 series, BG4 SSDs feature a power-saving solution that improves power efficiency up to 20% in read and seven percent in write, and provides a low-power state as low as five milliwatts. The BG4 also improved its Host Memory Buffer (HMB) technology by increasing the accelerated read access range and optimising background flash management. Additionally, BG4 includes new enhanced reliability features to protect against host DRAM failures when using the HMB feature. 

Rowan continued: “Toshiba Memory understands our customers’ needs to gain competitive advantage. The BG4 series, as a result, offers enhanced user-experience through an increase in storage capacity, significantly improved performance while prioritising power efficiency.”

Providing options for today’s mobile devices, Toshiba Memory’s single package SSD is available in capacities of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1,024GB, in either surface-mount BGA M.2 1,620 (16x20mm) or removable M.2 2,230 (22x30mm) module. Pyrite drive (version 1.00) or self-encrypting drive (TCG Opal version 2.01) models are also available.

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