Analyzing the Road to Entering High-end PC OEM: New SSD Controller TenaFe and Kingtek, Seize New Opportunities for Storage Development from Crisis and Opportunity
Posted on Guangdong - 2022-06-01
This year, under the pressure of the two mountains of the epidemic and inflation, the momentum of memory chip shipments is not good, but in the long run, the world will maintain the general trend of data transformation, and data storage is the top priority in the transformation process. In the environment of crisis and opportunity, domestic memory chip manufacturers are also brewing a new round of development opportunities.
In the industry, Jintigo, as a veteran module manufacturer focusing on data storage for 20 years, is already a well-known veteran in the storage industry. Its products are widely shipped to major mainstream application fields, covering consumer, industrial, enterprise and embedded. storage, etc. But when it comes to TenaFe, maybe everyone is relatively unfamiliar with this new SSD controller. Although it is a new company established in 2019, it has the courage and courage to boldly promote R&D and technological innovation. With the rapid development, the SSD main control products developed by TenaFe have been shipped to major OEM and consumer channel markets in large quantities. This time, Kingtek teamed up with the new SSD master controller TenaFe to bring a new SSD product TP5000 to the high-end PC OEM market. The product has been used in well-known domestic game books. Surprised behind its rapid development, what is the secret of this new SSD master controller?
This time, the CFM flash memory market exclusively interviewed Xiu Chen, general manager of TenaFe China, and Wang Jiangtao, executive deputy general manager of Jintike, and conducted in-depth discussions on storage technology, the background of cooperation between the two parties and market development.
As we all know, the consumer market accounts for more than 80% of the market share of the SSD market segment, and the PC OEM market is a favorite of module manufacturers.
Mr. Wang Jiangtao of Jintek introduced that the company is constantly exploring the market demand of high-end PC OEMs. High performance, low power consumption and stability are the three main demands of PC OEM customers. Especially in the field of e-sports games, users have high-performance hardware requirements, and the throughput of game data is very large, and the huge amount of data read leads to increased power consumption of the device. When the solid state drive is under high load, when the power consumption is too high or the temperature is too high, the traditional processing method is to reduce the frequency first, so that it is limited to a controllable level, which reduces the temperature, but at the same time, the performance will also decline. . However, users have been using high-end gaming laptops for a long time, and have strict performance requirements. The performance and consistency requirements of SSDs are also getting higher and higher.
The SSD product TP5000 launched by Kingtek and Tenafe this time is an SSD product launched by high-end PC OEMs. It is equipped with Tenafe TC2200 main control, adopts PCIe Gen 4 high-speed interface, and has a read and write bandwidth of up to 4.8GB/s. The NAND media particles of Changjiang Storage X2-9060, the interface performance of each channel can reach 1600MT/s. Tenafe TC2200 main control chip has carried out a strict test and verification process for the OEM market. Jintigo has perfected and reliable import and mass production test process for the EVT/PVT of SSD modules, forming a double test insurance.
(Detailed parameters of Jintigo TP5000 SSD product)
In response to the three demands of high performance, low power consumption and stability, Jintigo and Tenafe passed a large number of laboratory tests, took hundreds of samples and tested them continuously for 96 hours in a high temperature and high humidity environment, and the product successfully passed the test. The test was also completed in special environments such as high temperature and high humidity, power-on and power-off, etc., and some mechanical stress tests were also carried out, such as red ink, drop, shock, etc., and the product was still without problems. In addition, TP5000 performs special processing on power consumption, and optimizes algorithms for high-end laptops. Under full load, the temperature will not exceed the limit, which can ensure the consistency of SSD product performance and ensure smooth storage and read-write applications for customers need.
(Kintech TP5000 product)
As a DRAMless main control chip, TenaFe TC2200 adopts PCIe Gen 4 high-speed interface and TSMC 12nm process. While meeting high performance and low power consumption, how can it quickly adapt to customer needs in the PC OEM market?
TenaFe's Mr. Xiu Chen said that the current mainstream demand in the market has gradually shifted from DRAM BASE to DRAMless. The core reason is that at the current mainstream speed of 5GB/s, DRAMless can provide the same performance as DRAM BASE. Under the prospect of 7GB/s demand, DRAMless can also do the same. The mainstream PC OEM market demand will basically move towards DRAMless, and there will still be some demand for DRAM BASE on top-performance 14GB/s products in the future. Based on the current mainstream PC OEM market demand, DRAMless main control chips have great advantages from multiple perspectives such as performance, power consumption, cost, and supply chain. In addition, TenaFe's unique FlexLDPC technology can greatly extend the life of NAND Flash, delay entering soft decoding, and improve the Qos of SSD.
While giving full play to the high-speed advantages of PCIe 4.0, Tenafe uses a self-developed intelligent R&D system, which greatly shortens the time for customer product certification. It is reported that it takes several months for a general product to be introduced into the PC OEM market. During hundreds of tests, one of the biggest pain points is how to quickly locate and reproduce the problem. Due to the complexity of the storage system, each link of the main control, firmware, host-side interface, and flash memory interface has a lot of details. Once a problem is found, how to quickly find the problem and reproduce it for quick analysis is the key to solving the problem.
Tenafe said bluntly that in the recent PC OEM mass production process, they did encounter individual problems in the testing process, but this self-developed intelligent system helped them solve very important problems smoothly. From customer feedback to positioning problems, the problem was successfully solved in less than a week. The customer is also very convinced that Tenafe and Jintike are capable of completing the design and introduction of new products through new technologies, ensuring product promotion efficiency in the shortest time. Complete the test and reach the state of mass production.
After successfully opening the PC OEM market, TenaFe and Kintek have started a new round of product planning, and will launch new SSD products with PCIe 5.0 bandwidth up to 14GB/s in the third quarter of 2023
The TP5000 SSD product has been successfully introduced into PC OEM high-end notebooks and achieved mass production. Based on mutual recognition and cooperation experience between the two parties, TenaFe and Kingtek have started planning for the next generation of SSD products in the first quarter of this year. In the third quarter of 2023, a new SSD product with PCIe 5.0 bandwidth speed of 14GB/s will be launched.
TenaFe's PCIe Gen 5 main control chip is currently developing smoothly, and it is expected to be tape-out in January 2023. In addition to Jintek's use of this chip, the internationally renowned brand module factory has also reached cooperation with TenaFe. It is reported that next year Will also use this main control chip to design their enterprise-level products.
Although TenaFe has been established for a relatively short time, it has shown very rich experience in the process of cooperation with Jintaike. It is understood that the average working experience of TenaFe’s R&D team is more than 10 years, covering chip design, firmware design and system testing. The backbone members of the team have a shipment history of more than two main control chips. The company’s annual R&D investment is as high as $30 million to $40 million.
TenaFe’s financing progress is also very smooth. At present, the B round of financing has been completed. The investors behind it are even heavyweight companies in the industry chain, including Shunwei Capital, Northern Lights Venture Capital, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech, etc. Industrial investors have provided great help for TenaFe to develop international and domestic markets. At the same time, by virtue of its own excellent technical strength, TenaFe also provides products and services for industry investors at the business level to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results.
With its strong team background and advanced R&D technology, TenaFe has shipped a large number of its SSD main control chips to major OEM and enterprise markets, and successfully introduced several manufacturers such as Jintike, Netac, and Jinsheng for mass production. There are many storage vendors who have discussed in-depth cooperation and introduced testing.
Regarding the development of the chip market in the storage industry this year, TenaFe and Jintaike reached a consensus: I believe that demand will not disappear for no reason, but will be temporarily suppressed. The company actively prepares goods and will stimulate new market demand through technological innovation.
At present, the market is indeed in predicament, and multiple unfavorable factors are superimposed. The second quarter is the off-season for the industry, and the domestic epidemic is still spreading. The international war has caused inflation to rise, resulting in a decline in overall demand in the second quarter. But TenaFe and Kintek believe that demand will not disappear for no reason, only temporarily suppressed. When the epidemic eases and the traditional peak season in the third quarter arrives, the suppressed demand will gradually be released. TenaFe and Jintike are optimistic about the future, and the company is also actively stocking up to meet the demand that bursts in the market at any time.
At the same time, the two sides also expressed that they will make every effort to reduce costs through technological innovation and stimulate potential new market demand. The company will accelerate the adoption of new media such as QLC to further reduce storage costs. Stimulate new demands in the market through technological innovation, and adopt PCIe Gen 4 high-speed interface to bring higher performance SSD products. Although the current market is somewhat sluggish, the global wafer production capacity remains structurally in short supply, and the wafer fab is operating at full capacity, and there is no excess chip capacity.
After the acquisition of Huirong Technology, the world's largest main control chip shipment, domestic main control manufacturers are ready to go, opportunities and challenges coexist
Talking about the recent major events in the storage industry chain, there is nothing more than the acquisition of Huirong Technology. Due to the long history of Huirong Technology, the compatibility of particles and platforms is its advantage. The quality, stability and maturity of Huirong Technology's main control products have reached a high level, and Huirong Technology's share in some original factories and PC OEM fields is very large. Domestic main control manufacturers are currently taking a wait-and-see attitude. After all, companies that can achieve the high level of Huirong Technology must first be able to meet the quality requirements of PC OEM customers, and at the same time meet the service requirements of global customers. Controlling manufacturers can be described as both opportunities and challenges.
At present, the storage industry is facing a common dilemma, but it also contains various opportunities for development. Storage manufacturers such as TenaFe actively coordinate domestic and foreign markets, and continue to innovate and progress. In the wave of domestic storage chips, they will eventually see the moon.