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Marvell 88SS9187 Targets mSATA Mobile Market

by: admin Friday, March 16th, 2012

Several manufacturers including Intel and Crucial have been using Marvell controllers, so the company’s new releases are likely to show up in a number of SSD products. The latest piece of silicon from Marvell is a brand new SATA controller chip with which they are aiming at the mobile market, likely with a focus on the thin-and-light ultrabook segment.
88SS9187The new SATA controller is called Marvell 88SS9187 and is one of the first to support the new SATA 3.1 standard. SATA 3.1 is an extension of the SATA 3.0 (6 Gbps) and comes with quite a few improvements, including better power management (Required Link Power Management) for lower power consumption.

Even more interesting is perhaps the Queued Trim Command, which allows the controller to perform the Trim command without affecting the unit’s daily routines. The reason that ultrabooks are in focus is that SATA 3.1 also includes official support for the mSATA standard, which is already in a large number ultrabooks (as well as a few regular notebooks).

Just like other controllers from Marvell (but not from SandForce), the new controller utilizes a cache, that in this case supports up to 1GB of DDR3. The figures and specs available are those coming from  Marvell and they claim better performance, lower power consumption and better error correction algorithms. The sequential read performance for the 88SS9187 is said to be roughly 500 MB/s, which would be a considerable improvement in the mSATA segment, where SSDs otherwise cap at SATA 2 speeds.

Marvell claims to have several partners on board already that will be launching SSDs with the new controller. If the specs and claimed improvements are correct, it seems entirely plausible that the 88SS9187 could be widely adopted.

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