Kraftway K1942BK018: New SSD controller from Russia gets faster
Kraftwar Corp. is one of the largest IT manufacturers in Russia. The latest SSD controller, namely the Kraftway K1942BK018, was already shown about a year ago. Now it has been spotted in the wild for the first time, and it is making significant gains in terms of speed.
Kraftway K1942BK018: V1 shows off, V2 with performance jump
At the Innoprom 2022 trade fair in Yekaterinburg, the Kraftway K1942BK018 SSD controller, which was announced over a year ago, was shown in action for the first time, as Servernews.ru reports. The first performance values of the Russian controller were also presented.
The K1942BK018 uses PCIe 2.0 x4 as host interface, including the NVMe 1.2.1 protocol with SLC/MLC support. It is manufactured in a 40 nm process at TSMC. The NAND flash is from Micron and Toshiba, while four Arm Cortex R5 cores are used as the CPU.
Accordingly, the performance values in the CrystalDiskMark benchmark, which Kraftway published in a PDF, turn out to be manageable. Around 829 MB/s in sequential read and 681 MB/s in sequential write are recorded for the first edition of the SSD controller. The K1942BK018 still achieves 55,000 / 65,000 IOPS in random 4K transfers. However, a V2 re-release for the coming year has already been announced.
V2 relies on RISC-V cores
In 2023, however, a much faster Kraftway K1942BK018 V2 controller will be launched. Here, for example, the ARM computing cores will be replaced by RISC-V cores, which are manufactured in the 28 nm process and thus not only achieve higher performance, but also work more energy-efficiently.
The manufacturer promises up to 1,500 MB/s for reading and writing, as well as 200,000 / 150,000 IOPS. This is a significant increase compared to the first edition, but the Russian SSD controllers are still not really fast.
This would put the controller at about the same level as conventional Western SSDs with PCIe 3.0 x2 connectivity. Despite PCIe-Gen4-x4, the Russian model is miles behind similar controllers like the Phison E18 here, which brings it up to 7,400 MB/s. Compared to the initial release of the K1942BK018, however, the performance increase is extremely notable.
Sanctions against Russia complicate manufacturing
However, it is unclear whether the SSD controllers can be manufactured at all. In the context of the Ukraine war, chip manufacturer TSMC had announced at the beginning of June that it would no longer supply Russia with chips as part of the sanctions.
Chip production is now said to have been transferred to another, unspecified, factory, according to Kraftway. However, since almost all IT companies have now turned their backs on the country, this can really only mean that they now want to carry out production in the 28 nm process in their own country.
However, it is also conceivable that the manufacturer will get its chips from SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation) in China, which has promised the country continued support. However, it is doubtful whether the planned launch in 2023 can be met.
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