Micron updates SATA SSDs with 176-layer NAND

Micron has refreshed its mainstream SATA SSD line with the 176-layer 3D NAND 5400 replacing the 96-layer 5300 line yet leaving performance and endurance pretty much unchanged.

Like the 5300, the 5400 line is divided into Pro (read-intensive) and Max (mixed-use) variants. Each is further divided by form factor into U.2 (2.5 inch) and M.2 (gumstick) products. They all have a 6Gbit/s SATA interface, like their predecessors, and are positioned as hard disk drive replacements and not out-and-out SSD rockets such as the PCIe-connected NVMe SSDs. The 5400 Max M.2 variant is called the 5400 Boot drive.

A downloadable product brief contains a capacity and performance table: 

Micron capacity

The 5400 and 5300 capacity points are identical except that the 5400 drops the 5300’s 1.92TB Pro M.2 option and the 5400 Max U.2 starts at 480TB, dropping the smaller 240TB entry-level 5300 Max U.2 variant.

Micron 5400

The 5400’s performance compared to the 5300 products is pretty much the same as well. Max random read and write IOPS for the 5300 Pro was 95,000 and 40,000 respectively. The 5400 Pro delivers 95,000 and 37,000. The 5300’s max sequential read and write bandwidth is 540MB/sec and 520MB/sec, matching the 5400’s 540MB/sec and 520MB/sec exactly. 

The max sequential bandwidth numbers for the 5300 Max and 5400 Max are the same as for the Pro models. The IOPS picture for the 5300 Max and 5400 Max is nearly the same, with 95,000 random read IOPS for both and 60,000 random write IOPS for the 5300 Max vs 65,000 for the 5400 Max.

How about endurance? Micron presented the 5300 product’s endurance in total terabytes written (TTBW)  terms while the 5400’s endurance is calculated as drive writes per day (DWPD) over the five-year warranty period. We hit a spreadsheet and ran a conversion procedure converting the 5300’s TTBW to DWPD and found that the 5300 and 5400 are identical, except for the 3.84TB 5400 Max, whose 3.4 DWPD is a tad less than the 3.84TB 5300 Max’ 3.5 DWPD:

Micron comparisons
Note the 5300 Pro has M.2 and U.2 variants at all its capacity points other than the 3.84TB and 7.68TB levels. The 5300 Pro M.2 and U.2 endurance numbers are the same

In performance and endurance terms, the 5400 and 5300 products are essentially identical. All three 5400s use the SATA 6Gbit/s interface, have 3 million hours MTTF rating, like the 5300, and a five-year warranty. They support encryption and incorporate various data protection features: AES 256-bit encryption, TCG Enterprise configurability, and TCG Opal support.

Micron’s 5400 product brief says the 5400 drives “offer best-in-class sequential and random write performance.” No doubt they do but they haven’t moved on from the prior 5300. 

It comments that “the Micron 5400 offers reliability (MTTF) and endurance ratings that are 50 percent higher than the other leading data center SATA SSDs.” That’s fair enough but they appear to be no different from the two-year-old 5300’s reliability and endurance ratings. 

As far as customers are concerned, and after about two years, Micron has replaced its 5300 SATA SSD line with an identically performing and enduring 5400 line with no increases in capacity. Micron says the 5400 uses 176-layer NAND, which is technologically impressive. It means the 5400 NAND die has 83 percent more layers (176 vs 96) than the 5300 die and is hopefully cheaper for Micron to produce than the 5300 die. Let’s hope customers see that benefit reflected in Micron’s pricing.