Hynix Enters Consumer SSD Market with SandForce Based SSDs - 20nm NAND is Also Here UPDATE: It's actually 26nmby Kristian Vättö on June 25, 2012 9:48 PM EST
Hynix has been in the SSD industry for years but their SSDs have been available only to OEMs. Their NAND is used in various other brand SSDs but Hynix has not had a consumer SSD lineup until now. Strangely enough, the SSD series does not carry any name or model, Hynix is simply calling it a client SSD.
Last week, Hynix acquired a controller firm Link A Media Devices (LAMD). One would automatically expect that this series would be using a controller from LAMD, but this is not the case. The same series was actually announced in Asia over a week ago and Hermitage Akihabara's review reveals a SandForce SF-2281 controller inside the chassis. This isn't actually a surprise because Corsair has exclusivity to LAMD for an unpublished period of time (the Neutron series is not even out yet, so it should be obvious that the exclusivity is still on).
Another interesting aspect of Hynix' SSD series is the fact that it's the first consumer SSD to utilize 20nm MLC NAND. The drive uses Hynix' own NAND and it appears that Hynix has beaten IMFT in the race for 20nm NAND. We should, however, start seeing 20nm IMFT NAND very soon since it has been in mass production for over six months now. Hynix has not published any datasheets of their 20nm NAND so specifics such as P/E cycle count are unknown, though if IMFT's 20nm NAND gives any clue we should still expect 3,000 P/E cycles.
Update: The NAND used is actually 26nm, not 20nm as we initially reported. Hynix' press release mislead us because it says "20nm class process", which actually means 2Xnm and not 20nm.
Hynix is offering standard 2.5" SATA models along with mSATA ones. There are actually two mSATA models, the second one being a 32GB SATA 3Gb/s SSD (most likely based on SF-2141 or SF-2181). Below is a table summarizing the specifications:
|Hynix Consumer SSD Series Specifications|
|Form Factor||2.5" SATA||mSATA|
|Interface||SATA 6Gb/s||SATA 3Gb/s|
|Capacities (GB)||128, 256||64, 128||32|
|NAND||20nm Hynix MLC NAND|
|4KB Random Read||55K IOPS||21K IOPS||12K IOPS|
|4KB Random Write||85K IOPS||37K IOPS||44K IOPS|
Performance is pretty much what you would expect from SF-2281 based SSDs with ONFi NAND. Sequential speeds are a bit lower than we normally see with SandForce SSDs but it's possible that Hynix is just being more conservative than most other OEMs. mSATA models have noticeably lower random speeds but that is due to the limited amount of NAND packages and smaller capacities (and hence the use of fewer channels).
Pricing and US availability are both unknown. The drives are already retailing in Japan and Hynix is currently working on bringing their SSDs to market in the US and Korea. There is no word on availability in other regions, though.