New Marvell controller chip makes SSDs cheaper

At CES in Las Vegas Marvell is showcasing a SSD controller that supports version 1.2 of the NVMe protocol. This version makes it possible to use the PC’s RAM as cache for SSDs. This should make SSDs cheaper as they no longer need to contain their own DRAM chip.

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Marvell’s 88NV1140 controller uses the NVMe feature ‘Host Memory Buffer’. The NVMe standards organisation promotes it mainly for small and energy efficient systems, but Marvell emphasizes on cost reduction as SSDs can come without their own DRAM chip.

Lowering the price of SSDs is a clear advantage for SSD vendors because the SSD market is highly competitive and vendors mainly compete on price.

The controller is based on two ARM Cortex R5 cores that are manufactured on the 28nm scale. The Marvel 88NV1140 supports LDPC error correction and supports both 15nm TLC NAND and 3D NAND.