Samsung announces the first PCIe 5.0 Enterprise SSD: PM1743, coming in 2022.

Although CES 2022 is technically still a few weeks away, announcements related to CES are already starting to appear. Among them is Samsung, which is announcing its first PCIe 5.0 SSD for servers, the PM1743. Based on a new, unnamed PCIe controller, Samsung’s latest server SSD pairs it with the current (sixth) generation of V-NAND. Based on their published specifications, Samsung stands out with 70-90% better performance compared to their previous generation of workload-based drives. And connecting with CES in a few weeks, the new plant has already been awarded the CES 2022 Innovation Award.

At a high level, the PM1743 is the successor to Samsung’s current PM1733 business SSD. While the existing drive is based on the PCIe 4.0 controller and Samsung’s 96L V-NAND fifth generation, the PM1743 increases it to the PCIe 5.0 and 128L sixth generation V-NAND. Given the general nature of today’s announcement, the company does not offer detailed technical specifications on drive architecture, but between NAND and controller enhancements, it seems it will largely be able to keep pace with the additional bandwidth provided by the PCIe 5.0 upgrade.

On paper, the PCie 5.0 x4 connection used by the disk can reach up to 15.76 GB / sec. For the PM1743, in turn, Samsung claims peak sequential read speeds of 13 GB / second and peak sequential write speeds of 6.6 GB / sec (probably in SLC cache). This adds up to 86% higher peak read speed and 89% higher peak write speed than PM1733. Or to put it in terms of IOPS, Samsung claims that the new drive will be able to achieve 2.5 million IOPS in random read and 250K IOPS in random write.

Samsung Enterprise SSD specifications
Form Factor U.2 or E3.S. U.2
Interface PCIe 5.0 x4, NVMe PCIe 4.0 x4, NVMe
Controller Unnamed Samsung PCIe 5.0 Samsung S4LR014 PCIe 4.0
NAND Flash Samsung 128L TLC? Samsung 96L TLC
Sequential reading 13000 MB / s 7000 MB / s
Sequential Write 6600 MB / s 3500 MB / s
Random Read
2500k 1500к
Random Write
250k 135к
Power Active 30 W? 20 W
Idle ? 8.5 W
Write Endurance ? 28 PBW
1.0 DWPD for 5 years

The updated Samsung controller also installs its own security processor and root trust. Samsung’s announcement is easy in detail, but at a high level, the company doubles security by giving the drive a degree of security control independent of the host server.

The company also claims that these updates have improved the energy efficiency of PM1743 by 30% compared to PM1733, bringing it to 608MB / sec / watt. Given that data transfer speeds have improved by more than 90%, while energy efficiency has improved by only 30%, it looks like the PM1743 will have a higher rate of active energy utilization than its predecessor. Calculating the napkin in relation to PM1733, which has a published figure of 20W, would put the active power of PM1743 at about 30W.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s press release also confirms that the company is working with Intel to validate the new drive. Samsung does not go into further details, but with Alder Lake (12th gen Core) which is already shipped as the first mass market platform capable of PCIe 5.0, Samsung has probably tested against that as well as the upcoming Sapphire Rapids (next generation Xeon) platform.

New to this generation of SSDs, Samsung will offer the PM1743 in two form factors. The first will be the traditional 2.5-inch U.2 shape factor. Meanwhile, U.2 will be joined by E3.S, a newer 3-inch enterprise form factor and data center designed to be slightly larger than U.2 drives, while including a connector that can handle up to 16 PCIe lanes . SSDs will of course not use as much tape, but this is a form factor advocated by both drive and system manufacturers, making it a leader as a possible successor to U.2. Based on last year’s release of the E3 2.0 specification, we expected the E3.S drives to land in early 2022, so Samsung arrived on time.

Finally, the PM1743 will be offered in capacities ranging from 1.92TB to 15.36TB, the same capacity that the PM1733 is available today. So, while there is no talk of increasing the capacity at the level of one drive, since the E3.S is half the size of the traditional 15mm U.2 drive, Samsung praises the overall density improvements that the new drive will afford. In essence, if the server uses E3.S, it will be able to receive twice as many disks (and thus twice as much storage capacity) than the U.2 configuration.

The PM1743 is now being sampled, and according to Samsung, mass production will begin in the first quarter of next year.

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Naveen Kumar

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