M.2 SSDs nowadays are used for a wide variety of applications, whereas Samsung tried to promote its next generation small form-factor (NGSFF) for enterprise-grade solid-state storage under the M.3 moniker (yet later renamed it to NF1). Apparently, there are companies that are working on SSDs in the so-called M.4 form-factor. One of such drives was spotted at Computex.

Silicon Motion demonstrated Agylstor’s M.4 NVMe SSD at the trade show earlier this month. The drive is based on SMI’s own enterprise-grade SM2270 controller based on three pairs of ARM Cortex R5 cores to support 2KB LDPC error correction and featuring 16 NAND channels with 8 CE per channel (128 CE in total) as well as a PCIe 3.0 x8 interface. Meanwhile, the SSD was assembled by SMART Modular.

Agylstor’s M.4 NVMe drive is essentially two M.2 SSDs (PCBs) glued together. The construction allows to install 16 NAND packages (eight on both sides) and thus offer an doubled capacity. Meanwhile, a PCIe 3.0 x8 interface promises a very strong performance. Keeping in mind that we are talking about an enterprise-grade controller and appropriate drives, we mean sustained performance, not peak performance.

Agylstor is a startup that develops specialized storage subsystems for a wide variety of applications from drones to video & film production as well as from IoT to oil & gas exploration. That said, Agylstor does not necessarily need to make SSDs compatible with general-purpose PCs for many reasons.

At present, it is unclear when Agylstor plans to release its M.4 NVMe SSDs.

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  • mkaibear - Saturday, June 15, 2019 - link

    Can't work out if you're giving a pro or con comment...

    These will undoubtedly be bundled with x8 PCIe adaptors for super fast workstation storage. That's the target market. They won't be used in servers except in certain niche markets - as you say the U.2 appears to be the way forwards for those.
  • Valantar - Saturday, June 15, 2019 - link

    That doesn't manke much sense - if that was the use case, why not just make it a HHHL x8 AIC, which would have much broader compatibility and could thus sell to everyone from HEDT and workstation users to servers? As the article mentions, the company behind this makes a lot of custom/bespoke solutions, so this is likely for some specialized use case where custom motherboards are the norm. Showing them off at Computex is likely just to say "Hey, we can make custom, high-performance enterprise-grade SSDs".
  • mkaibear - Monday, June 17, 2019 - link

    >why not just make it a HHHL x8 AIC

    Because if you do that then you need a different SKU for each product, whereas if you have an adaptor available you can have a single SKU for the drive plus relatively simple adaptors?

    Putting it solely on a board means it's only ever useful for something which has precisely that form factor. Putting it on an adaptor means that you can put it in a half-height board, or a full height one, or in a future workstation board, or in a laptop if the form factor takes off. Etc, etc, etc.

    The only reason you'd want to use a dedicated HHHL board is if you need the mahoosive heatsink.
  • Qasar - Saturday, June 15, 2019 - link

    ahh thats what i thought... cause HStewart seems to imply that it was going into a pce slot, then surt asked about x8 slots... :-)
  • peevee - Monday, June 17, 2019 - link

    "will support PCIe 4.0 in 2020 with the launch of new Rome boards"

    Why 2020? New EPYC is shipping shortly (if not already).
  • Irata - Monday, June 17, 2019 - link

    Wouldn't that make the other x16 slot x 8 in that case ?
  • HStewart - Saturday, June 15, 2019 - link

    This device is not x8 or x16 slot and TB 3 can handle at least x4 and likely more in something situation.

    But realistic - most people don't need any of these slots - HEDT market is a small part of actual market.
  • Qasar - Saturday, June 15, 2019 - link

    these are NOT for the HEDT market HStewart, these are aimed at server and workstation.
  • peevee - Monday, June 17, 2019 - link

    "and TB 3 can handle at least x4"

    I hope by "at least" you mean "at most", and it is just PCIe3.0. There is no higher-speed controllers, and the advertised 40Gb/s data rate is obvious marketing BS.
  • Korguz - Saturday, June 15, 2019 - link

    surt, hstewart is talking about the speed, pcie 4 or 5, not the slots.. .and i think the amount of computers with pcie 4 will go up.. staring next month :-)

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