Phison Announces PCIe Gen 5 SSD Controller Expansion For Blistering-Fast Storage

Phison SSD controller 708pxs
Phison is set to reveal further details of its upcoming PS5031-E31T SSD controller for PCIe 5.0 Solid State Drives. However, unlike Phison's E26 controller that's used for today's SSDs, the E31T is designed to use much less power and be more efficient. That could enable the creation of PCIe 5.0 SSDs that don't require heatsinks, which have been a sticking point for E26-powered SSDs, especially as active cooling solutions have been becoming more and more necessary.

Though we've known of the E31T controller for a few months now, Phison has been pretty silent on it since its initial announcement. Unlike the E26, which caps out at roughly 14,800MB/s reads and 12,800MB/s writes, the E31T targets a modest transfer rate of 10,800MB/s in reads and writes. That level of performance is roughly in between first generation and second generation PCIe 5.0 SSDs equipped with the E26, which hit around 10,000MB/s and 12,000MB/s respectively.

Phison E31T SSD controller news

Although the performance regression is unfortunate, the possibility of PCIe 5.0 SSDs that might not even require a heatsink at all is a big deal. It will make PCIe 5.0 SSDs suitable for laptops and other mobile devices, and desktop users can rejoice in not having to use a big, M.2 heatsink that might even have a tiny fan on it. And while top-end E26-powered drives will be much faster than those using the E31T, 10,800MB/s is still much faster than what the best PCIe 4.0 SSDs are capable of.

Phison isn't the only one making such a controller though, as Silicon Motion is also working on something similar. Its SM2508 controller boasts a maximum TDP of 3.5 watts, much less than the E26's TDP of 5 watts. The SM2508 is also rated for 14,500MB/s reads and 14,000MB/s writes, which is massively ahead of the E31T. However, Silicon Motion's controller is only expected to pop up in SSDs starting in 2025, which may be later than Phison's E31T. We're expecting the E31T to make an appearance at CES in January per Phison's CES promo, which mentions the E31T alongside the E26..