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Seagate: We've doubled flash capacity without density changes

Background to the embiggened XM1440 explained

By Chris Mellor, 28 Jul 2016

Seagate’s 2TB XM1440 M.2 NVMe flash drive doubled the previous 960GB maximum capacity and we asked Seagate how that was done.

Senior Product Marketing Director Ken Smith told us: “The flash density did not change from the initial Nytro XM1440 product introduction, just the number of placements. The initial 1TB Enterprise product was very challenging for the design team as it is a very dense PCB design which also includes the power failure data protection capacitors."

"We had to prove out the four flash placement design and yield at high volume before moving to an even denser 2TB PCB (eight placement) design point. Over the last year, Seagate has incorporated lessons learned from the 1TB design into the 2TB design in order to ramp more quickly to this enterprise level solution.”

Will the accompanying XF1140 NVMe PCIe drive also get a capacity doubling?

“We are working with OEM customers now to reach that capacity by the end of the year.”

That suggests a 4TB XF1140 will arrive by year-end.

We asked what host servers or other systems is the device meant for. Smith said: “The main driver for high capacity M.2s was originally spawned from OCP (Open Compute Project) architectures as well as hyperscale storage and server systems needs.”

He continued: “There is developing interest from OEM server vendors where PCIe lanes are at a premium and M.2s can be economically (without switches and high end controllers) aggregated together on riser cards for cost-effective, high-performance solutions that fill the bandwidth of an x8 or x16 PCIe slot. This maximises the PCIe bandwidth utilisation with a cost-effective solution.”

An updated XM1440/XF1440 data sheet should hit this webpage in a day or so, with Smith adding: “The updated 2TB version of the data sheet is just a day or so behind schedule getting posted to the web site.” ®

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