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Xbox Series X WDSN530 has custom ASIC to support PCIe 4.0 (Tweaktown corrects PCIe 3.0 claims)

LordOfChaos

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In terms of performance, the Xbox Series X SSD is manufactured by Western Digital and is an OEM model that is only sold to businesses. According to the information on the label, the console uses the WD SN530, NVMe model in the PCIe 3.0 standard.

The presence of PCIe 3.0 is a rather surprising factor, as the system supports the latest PCIe 4.0 standard. The company also uses the technology on Seagate's external storage card, which
has also been dismantled.



And the expansion card teardown -


When it comes to memory, we have a Hynix 1TB SK chip,possibly SK Hynix'snew 4D NAND, which overlays your memory cells in 128 layers. And all of this sits on a printed circuit board that uses the CFexpress connection pattern. This standard being entered in the market uses, in addition to NVM Expressprotocols, the PCI-Express 3.0 connection interface with 1 to 4 channels - data up to 1GB/s can be provided per channel. This combination of technologies allows the card to offer low overhead and latency, as well as much faster read and write speeds (up to 4 GB/s). CFexpress - All about the new pattern of much faster memory cards As Jeff Grubb mentions, 4GB per second would give enough margin to the Phison E19T controller, which reaches a maximum of 3.75 GB/s for read/write speeds.



Odd. The system being Zen 2 based does sport PCI-e 4.0, but the internal drives are PCI-e 3.0 models, and both are seemingly standard OEM-only parts.

Hit google translate, obvs
 
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LordOfChaos

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Prob one of the ways they were able to get the box in at $499 without taking too huge a hit... kind of disappointing but oh well. I wonder what kind of speeds we could have gotten with a true PCI-e 4.0 drive?

4 lanes * 2GB/s, plus some overhead, so most PCI-e 4.0 drives cap out around 7GB/s. Close to double the 3.75GB/s max here, but Microsoft quotes a lower 2.4GB/s probably because the card is in such a small housing for thermal dissipation.
 
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ShadowWolf712

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Black_Stride

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The Phison E19T is a PCIE4 controller not PCIE3.
 
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LordOfChaos

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The Phison E19 is a PCIE4 controller.


SO this is indeed sketchy.....why would the internal use PCIE3 then the external use PCIE4?

Perhaps a newer controller was needed on the external expansion card due to the smaller size not dissipating heat as well, while the internal one had more margin to use an older one/perhaps on an older fab node


OR, could the external drive be using half the PCI-e 4.0 lanes to match the speed of the internal one using PCI-e 3.0.
 
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Black_Stride

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And the controller is on the MOBO?

Their "custom" solution must be doing something weird because if all this is to be believed the Internal SSD should have a lower theoretical max speed vs the external.
Controllers are physically on PCBs of SSDs.
I havent watched the video yet, but unless they have found someway to put a seperate controller on the motherboard to boost the speeds somehow.....yeah the external should be faster than the internal.
 
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BlueXImpulse

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This is shocking

Based on the performance we are seeing in comparing games between both consoles. I don't have an issue with this. Still we need to see a next gen game optimized for both to see what the performance is really like.

What performance? We haven't compared a single actual game which would leverage the I/O of either console yet. We literally have seen nothing, but we will this week.
 
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ToadMan

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4 lanes * 2GB/s, plus some overhead, so most PCI-e 4.0 drives cap out around 7GB/s. Close to double the 3.75GB/s max here, but Microsoft quotes a lower 2.4GB/s probably because the card is in such a small housing for thermal dissipation.

The drives are using just 2x lanes each - 2x for internal and 2x for external.
 
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Bo_Hazem

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Perhaps a newer controller was needed on the external expansion card due to the smaller size not dissipating heat as well, while the internal one had more margin to use an older one/perhaps on an older fab node


OR, could the external drive be using half the PCI-e 4.0 lanes to match the speed of the internal one using PCI-e 3.0.

Maybe this explains using only 2x PCIe 4.0 lanes instead of full 4x lanes? As 2x lanes max out at 3.5GB/s = 4x PCIe 3.0 lanes?
 

ToadMan

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Maybe this explains using only 2x PCIe 4.0 lanes instead of full 4x lanes? As 2x lanes max out at 3.5GB/s = 4x PCIe 3.0 lanes?

Hmmm I wonder. It could be something like that.

But then the external add on is Gen 4 and 2x again. 🤔
 
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Ascend

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Not surprising at all...

If people thought for just a second... It has to support the memory cards also. What does that mean? It means that the PCIe 4.0 lanes need to be split between the internal SSD and the memory card. It just so happens that PCIe 4.0 lanes are twice as 'wide' as PCIe 3.0 lanes. That means that if you have one PCIe 4.0 x4 slot, it would be the same as two separate PCIe 3.0 x4 slots.
 
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LordOfChaos

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The drives are using just 2x lanes each - 2x for internal and 2x for external.

Weird. I would assume not but I wonder if there will be cases where the external is marginally faster, if it uses 2x gen 4, while the internal uses 2x gen 3.

I'm assuming such a setup though is to make sure the external card never throttles to below the internal drives performance, ensuring consistent performance between them, they may be setting them to the same speed to make sure it's constant.
 
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LordOfChaos

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And yet still loads games faster then a ps5, real kick in the nards huh?

Last gen games in BC mode. You've seen native PS5's games bonkers insane load times, right? And those are loading up to twice as much RAM as the 8th gen, yet load faster than 8th gen titles. Kinda obvious what's happening.

The PS5's BC mode seems likely to be nerfing its SSD to ensure compatibility, where we've long observed Microsoft's API is more portable.
 
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