Sage Microelectronics has announced a new solid state disk (SSD) controller IC that enables SSDs with densities up to 5 Terabytes (TB). The company is currently shipping in volume 2.5 TB SSD units on a single PCB with a standard 2.5” form-factor. Sage Micro’s new technology enables a single SSD controller IC to address up to 5TB of flash memory (on an array of 10 X 4 X 128GB eMMC BGA modules), achieving an industry first in high density and small form factor, according to the company. The Sage S681 device, currently in mass production, employs a SATA II interface to drive 10 channels of SD, MMC or eMMC flash memory cards, with each channel supporting up to 512GB of flash memory.
By offloading the management and high pinout interface of individual flash memory chips to the flash controller IC embedded in each flash memory card, the new Sage S681 can effectively manage ten memory cards, increasing SSD capacity ten-fold. Replacing flash memory chips with flash memory cards does not increase per-byte cost for the Sage SSD controller architecture, because the market has driven flash controller IC pricing to become highly commoditized. This results in flash memory cards being price competitive with the underlying cost of the component flash memory chips themselves. The use of JEDEC-compliant memory cards instead of discrete flash ICs also enables SSD manufacturers to mix-and-match inventory, further reducing testing cost, inventory management complexity and firmware version control.
Sage developed a propriety multi-core architecture for its SSD controller IC. The Sage S681 is built on a multi-core processor that devotes a single concise RISC CPU core to SATA bus management, plus additional cores to handle two memory card channel interfaces each. This enables clear firmware partitioning between the SATA interface and memory card interface, simplifying software upgrades, testing and verification.
The Sage S68X family of SSD controllers includes three devices: the S681 supports 10 memory channels, the S682 supports 5 memory channels, and the S685 support 4 memory channels. All three devices are currently in mass production, and all are priced under USD 5.00, depending on volume.
The S681 is available in a BGA 207 package. The S682 is available in a LQFP 128 package. The S685 is available in a QFN 88 package. Sage Micro also offers a portfolio of low-density SATA II SSD flash controller solutions.