Two Companies Use MEMS to Cool the ‘World’s Fastest Compact SSD’
At this year's Flash Memory Summit, two companies combined their respective cooling technology and SSD controllers to unlock unprecedented storage performance.
At Flash Memory Summit 2023, Frore Systems and Phison Electronics showed off “one of the world’s fastest consumer SSDs” using Frore’s AirJet active cooling system. As processing and storage solutions approach more bottlenecks, Frore Systems’ piezoelectric cooling modules offer active cooling in a slim and dust-proof form factor.
The PCIe Gen5 SSD includes the E26 SSD controller and two AirJet Mini systems to provide active cooling and deliver improved performance. Image used courtesy of Frore Systems
Frore’s AirJet system features comparable performance to traditional cooling technologies in a considerably smaller package. Coupled with Phison’s PS5026-E26 PCIe SSD controller, the two companies created a powerful SSD with no throttling for high-performance computing tasks.
This article takes a closer look at the technology supporting the new SSD and discusses how each group’s contributions can benefit the engineering community.
AirJet Modules Use Piezo for Active Cooling
The Phison E26 chip leverages two AirJet Mini modules (datasheet linked) from Frore Systems, each relying on numerous vibrating membranes to intake cool ambient air and exhaust hot air. This creates a slim active cooling mechanism that can dissipate up to 5.25 W.
Using piezoelectric materials, the AirJet system creates pulsating jets of air to provide active cooling to the connected device. Image used courtesy of Frore Systems
The AirJet systems address a key limitation of the modern computing industry: heat dissipation. Compared to traditional cooling systems, which are typically bulky and impractical for portable electronics, AirJet offers scalable coolers for smaller systems such as memory or storage devices.
In addition to the AirJet Mini, Frore Systems offers the AirJet Pro when designers need more cooling power. The AirJet product line includes various thin, component-level coolers that may be useful in PCIe cards, such as the Phison SSD, where liquid cooling may not be practical for built-in cooling.
Phison's SSD Controller Reaches New Speeds
Of course, cooling is only one part of the formula for an effective SSD. To provide users the speed to support next-generation workloads, Phison also relied on its E26 SSD controller. The PCIe Gen5 controller is equipped with I/O+ technology to speed along storage-intensive processes and offers end users exceptionally high access speeds.
Coupled with the AirJet Minis to keep the chips cool, the E26 SSD demonstrated at Flash Memory Summit sustained read speeds of 14,175 MB/s with over 1,000 MB/s on PCMark 10 Storage Tests—making it the first NAND-based M.2 SSD to achieve such a feat.
The E26 SSD controller surpassed 100 MB/s in the RND4K read test, indicating that the chip can deliver noticeable performance improvements over previous generations. Image used courtesy of Phison Electronics
Although Phison primarily markets the SSD toward consumers, engineers can certainly make use of the SSD controller in an enterprise setting to deliver greater performance for simulation, coding, or other high-intensity development tasks. Designers can also integrate this tool for the next generation of storage devices.
Engineering Collaboration Done Right
Although both the cooling and SSD controller have been demonstrated separately, the combination of the two technologies highlights the practical ability of the AirJet system to cool devices and the E26 controller's ability to deliver major performance increases. In addition, the SSD itself shows the importance of collaboration amongst the engineering community, where two different technologies can mutually benefit each other to achieve high performance.