ADATA Goes DRAM-Less With SP580

/ 4 years ago


Earlier in the month, ADATA announced their new SP580 SSD. Reportedly using Marvell controller with TLC NAND, the expectation was the use of the 88SS1074 controller. That controller has made its debut in a number of drives recently, being specifically designed for TLC. However, ADATA has now revealed that the SP580 uses the 88NV1120 controller.

Unlike the 1074, the 1120 does not feature a DRAM cache. This means the controller is reliant on internal controller memory store the NAND mapping table. Generally, this leads to slower performance as we saw with the SM2246XT which fell behind its SM2246EN sibling which did feature cache. While drives without cache are generally slower, this doesn’t have to be true depending on how the controller works. As we saw with SandForce, their DRAM-less controllers dominated due to their innovative compression methods. I look forward to seeing how the drive ends up performing.

Of course, the drive also comes with SLC mode caching, crucial for TLC drives to be competitive. The big differentiator though, will be the price. Assuming all other costs are the same ADATA will be able to save about $2 by cutting out the DRAM as well as extra integration and testing costs. With these savings, the SP580 should be able to under-cut its more expensive DRAM enabled competitors. All it remains to be seen is if the cost savings are worth the performance drop, if any, that exists.

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