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G.Skill, a well-known maker of memory modules for enthusiasts, this week unveiled its new Phoenix Evo solid-state drive (SSD), which is based on NAND flash memory produced using 20nm-class process technology. Just like some other manufacturers, G.Skill warned its customers that such SSDs can be slower compared to predecessors, but can also be more affordable.

G.Skill's new Phoenix Evo SSD offers 115GB of capacity and is based on SandForce SF-1222 controller. The drive sports Serial ATA-II interface and offers up to 280MB/s read rate and up to 270MB/s write rate. The manufacturer declares 35 000/25 000 read/write input/output 4KB operations per second (IOPS).

The latest Phoenix Evo solid-state drives are based on 20nm-class NAND flash memory, but G.Skill remains tight-lipped about exact manufacturer and it is unclear how reliable the new SSDs actually are. NAND flash memory made using 20nm-class fabrication process can sustain lower amount of write operations per cell, thus requires more over-provisioning space and delivers lower performance compared to 30nm-class NAND flash memory due to rigorous error correction algorithms; for example, compared previous-generation Phoenix-series SSDs delivered up to 50 000 IOPS. The manufacturer also noted that all G.Skill Phoenix Pro-series drives still use only 30nm-class flash ICs to guarantee the consistency of rated performance and capacity.

The issues with 20nm-class NAND flash memory are not limited to G.Skill and are industry-wide. In order to tackle the issues with performance, SSD makers will have to use new controllers designed specifically for flash memory  that sustains lower amount of write cycles. Naturally, such controllers will be more expensive and this will not allow to aggressively reduce pricing of such solid-state drives.

"The performance benchmark of G.Skill Phoenix EVO is listed on G.Skill official website. With the information transparency, consumers can easily choose the right product according to their desire and budget," said Wales Tsai, the G.Skill SSD product manager.

A good thing about 20nm-class NAND flash is its relatively low manufacturing costs compared to previous-generation memory.

The Phoenix Evo  drives will be available via G.Skill authorized distribution partners in early April. The drives come with three-years limited warranty and have meantime between failures rate of one million hours.

Tags: G.Skill, SSD, 20nm, NAND, Flash

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