Rainier QX: SSD controller to exhaust PCIe 4.0 x4 with only 4 channels

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Rainier QX: SSD controller to exhaust PCIe 4.0 x4 with only 4 channels

The up-and-coming manufacturer Innogrit has presented another SSD controller with PCIe 4.0. Although the RainierQX only has four memory channels, it should be able to make full use of the PCIe 4.0 x4 thanks to the very fast NAND interface. However, there has not yet been a NAND flash that is this fast.

Fastest NAND interface with 2,400 MT / s

With the “Industry’s first and fastest NAND interface at 2,400 MT / s“Innogrit is promoting the upcoming RainierQX SSD controller. Thanks to the fast NAND interface, the chip should enable SSDs with transfer rates of more than 7 GB / s for reading and 6 GB / s for writing, although it only has four memory channels. The previous team in the form of the Innogrit IG5236 (Rainier), Phison E18 or the in-house controllers from Micron, Samsung and Western Digital achieved such performance values ​​with eight NAND channels.

According to Innogrit, the RainierQX is manufactured in a 12 nm FinFET process, supports NVMe 1.4 and an SSD storage capacity of up to 4 TB. The ECC engine for error correction offers LDPC technology for current TLC and QLC NAND.

  • The Industry’s leading edge technology enabling independent plane access and achieving the fastest possible read access time boosting 4K random read performance over 1M IOPs with limited die count
  • Sequential read performance over 7GB / s and sequential write performance over 6GB / s
  • Proprietary ECC solution featuring advanced 4K LDPC technology which provides superior error correction capability for latest TLC and QLC, as well as power awareness multi-level decoding strategy
  • Large SSD capacity up to 4TB
  • Full support of NVMe 1.4 protocol


NAND with 2,400 MT / s does not yet exist

What Innogrit is keeping quiet about the announcement is the fact that there is still no NAND flash memory with 2,400 MT / s. Current memory chips are usually at 800 MT / s to 1,200 MT / s. Micron’s 176-layer NAND already offers 1,600 MT / s, as does the seventh generation from SK Hynix. Samsung plans to introduce the first products with the new V-NAND V7 and 2,000 MT / s at least this year. At Kioxia and Western Digital, too, the next step is 2,000 MT / s with BiCS6. The RainierQX is already well equipped for this new generation of 3D-NAND. Of course, slower NAND interfaces are also supported.

For SSDs without their own DRAM

In contrast to the IG5236 with 8 NAND channels, the RainierQX is a DRAM-less controller. This means that the processor has to do without its own DRAM cache, which temporarily stores the lookup table of an SSD. So that the performance does not suffer too much as a result of the waiver, the NVMe protocol since version 1.2 with Host Memory Buffer (HMB) offers the possibility of using a small part (about 16 – 64 MB) of the system memory as a cache. This is sufficient as a replacement for most client requirements, as tests of SSDs such as the WD Blue SN550 or Samsung 980 (without Pro) have shown.

Since a DRAM cache of 1 GB is usually built into SSDs per terabyte of usable memory, the costs for the cache skyrocket with increasing storage capacities. In order to save these costs and energy, more and more SSDs without their own DRAM cache will reach the market. Innogrit provides a suitable platform for this with the RainierQX.

Samples now, market launch at the end of 2021 at the earliest

Sampling of the RainierQX is now taking place, as Innogrit explains in the press release published on Tuesday. In association with “Next generation SSD platforms“Availability is expected towards the end of 2021 or 2022.

Website confused with other specs

However, Innogrit causes confusion when looking on your own product pages: There you will find detailed key data under the category RainierQX / Q, but the described variants IG5220 and IG5221 partly have different key data than are mentioned for the RainierQX in the press release. The editorial team asked Innogrit what it was all about. It is conceivable that the information simply corresponds to earlier plans and is now outdated.

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