At CES 2024, Phison launched a few new controllers. One is particularly interesting and is something we hope to see make it to products later in 2024. This is the Phison PS2251-21. It is a new USB4 controller that should offer more speed for portable SSDs.
Phison PS2251-21 40Gbps USB4 Portable SSD Controller
The Phison PS2251-21 supports USB4 but is backward compatible with USB 2.0. The new controller is a 40Gbps controller supporting up to 4GB/s reads and writes. Some of the other key controller specs are:
- 500GB up to 8TB support
- Triple-level cell (TLC) and Quad-level cell (QLC) flash memory support
- Compliant with Toggle 1.0/2.0/3.0/4.0 NAND flash interface
- Compliant with ONFI 2.0/3.0/4.1
- Transfer rate: up to 1600 MT/s
- Support up to 4 channels/ 16 Chip Enable (CE) within Single Design
- Flash IO Operating voltage supply 1.2v
- TSMC 12nm Process
These may not be the fastest controller specs for SSDs in general in 2024, but they are very high-end specs for USB drives today. Having a controller like this means that manufacturers do not need to add a bridge chip to create these external SSDs. As a result, the SSD can usually be made smaller and with less complexity. That often leads to more drives in the market driving competition and even lower prices for consumers. All good things for the market.
Phison expects USB IF Compliance to be complete in Q2 of 2024. Once that is complete,it should help pave the way for more portable SSDs with the controller. For our readers, a 4GB/s read/ write USB4 drive will be awesome both for transferring data via sneakernet and as potential extra SSDs in a system that has run out of slots. Hopefully, the single-chip solution will help more vendors offer drives in this class, and at lower prices. We have been waiting for a controller like this to help push the market for USB4 SSDs, and it appears to be close to fruition.