Continuing with our Flash Memory Summit coverage, HGST announced their FlashMAX III enterprise SSD, which is the first fruit of HGST's Virident acquistion and continues Virident's FlashMAX brand. The FlashMAX III will come in half-height, half-length form factor and will be available in capacities of 1100GB, 1650GB and 2200GB. The controller is an FPGA-based 32-channel design with a PCIe 3.0 x8 interface, but there is no NVMe support since the FlashMAX III builds on the same architecture as the previous generation FlashMAX II. 

HGST FlashMAX III Specifications
Capacity 1100GB 1650GB 2200GB
Form Factor Half-Height, Half-Length (HH-HL)
Interface PCIe 3.0 x8
Controller 32-channel FPGA based
NAND Micron 20nm 64Gbit MLC
Sequential Read 2.7GB/s 2.0GB/s 2.7GB/s
Sequential Write 1.4GB/s 1.0GB/s 1.4GB/s
4KB Random Read 549K IOPS 409K IOPS 531K IOPS
4KB Random Write 53K IOPS 30K IOPS 59K IOPS
4KB 70/30 Random Read/Write 195K IOPS 145K IOPS 200K IOPS
Write Latency < 30 µsec
Max Power 25 watts
Endurance 2 DWPD
Warranty Five years

The maximum throughput seems a bit low for a design that uses up eight PCIe 3.0 lanes since 2.7GB/s should be achievable with just four PCIe 3.0 lanes. Obviously performance scaling is not that simple but for example Samsung's XS1715 (which we will be reviewing soon!) is rated at up to 3.0GB/s while only consuming four PCIe 3.0 lanes. Using less PCIe lanes allows for more drives to be delpoyed as the amount of PCIe lanes is always rather limited.

The 1650GB model is even slower due to the fact that it utilizes less NAND channels because it is a middle capacity. Basically, the 1100GB and 2200GB models have the same number of NAND packages, with the 2200GB model having twice as much NAND per package; the 1650GB model uses the higher capacity packages but doesn't fully populate the board. HGST told us that they are just testing the water to see if there is demand for something in between 1100GB and 2200GB.

The FlashMAX III also supports Virident Flash-management with Adaptive Shceduling (vFAS), which is a fancy name for Virident's storage driver. vFAS presents the FlashMAX as a single volume block device to the OS, meaning that no additional storage protocols or controllers are needed, whereas some drives just use a RAID controller or need software RAID solutions to be configured into an array. Additionally vFAS handles NAND management by doing wear-leveling, garbage collection, data path protection, NAND-level parity, ECC, and more. 

The FlashMAX III is currently being qualified by select OEMs and will ship later in this quarter. 

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  • imaheadcase - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    What is the deal with these coming to consumers? Just price?

    Since no price is listed, I assume its out of reach for most people..

    I had no idea these had such high capacity.
  • Kristian Vättö - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    It's an enterprise SSD. There is no price because it will ship through server OEMs (e.g. Dell and IBM), so ultimately pricing is up to the OEMs.
  • - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    I think Dell and IBM are VARs in this case. The OEM is HGST. And Anandtech could post the price to VARs, just like they post the volume pricing of CPUs.
  • hlmcompany - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    If the likes of Dell, IBM, etc. integrate this product into their servers, then they are the OEM. They would also carry the warranty, not HGST.
  • Kristian Vättö - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    I guess it's a matter of how you want to put it. Technically Dell and IBM could be seen as VARs but generally I see the term OEM used quite a lot, probably more than it should (of course, in this case, Dell and IBM are server OEMs, not SSD OEMs).

    HGST hasn't published any price (even for VARs/OEMs), which is fairly normal in the SSD market. Usually there are only a handful of OEM customers, whereas Intel CPUs are used by a countless number of OEMs and SIs.
  • mmrezaie - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    still I think it should be cheaper than intel's solution. latency is higher and scalability is worst.
  • djepson - Saturday, August 23, 2014 - link

    Not true
  • imaheadcase - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    I understand that, but people get hands on OEM stuff all the time and use it. Still does not answer if a market is for consumers any time soon.
  • djepson - Saturday, August 23, 2014 - link

    We priced the cards lower than the FlashmaxII and we do offer them to end users as well as OEMs and SI's. Cheers
  • OreoCookie - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    I'd assume they won't be cheap.

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