Upcoming Xbox Series X consoles could benefit from PCIe 4.0 SSDs thanks to Phison
In order to ensure a significant technological leap over current gen consoles, Microsoft (and Sony, as well) once again struck a deal with AMD, so the upcoming Xbox Series X (+ the PS5) will be powered by custom-made Zen 2 APUs the combine the CPU power of the Ryzen 3000 desktop CPU series with a modified Navi 10 GPU. Storage is also expected to receive an important overhaul, as both console makers announced there will be solid state drives instead of the traditional slow HDDs. Since the Zen 2 platform is already offering PCIe 4.0 compatibility, one would expect the new console SSDs to also be compatible with the new standard, yet the exact SSD controller provider was not mentioned by either of the console makers. According to a new report from DigiTimes, it looks like Microsoft has already decided to go with Phison.
DigiTimes quotes industry sources that essentially confirm that “Phison has reportedly broken into the supply chain of Microsoft's Xbox.” This move makes sense, as Phison has been the premier SSD controller supplier (besides Samsung) for quite some years now. It was also the only company offering a PCIe 4.0 controller (E16) for the few NVMe 1.4 SSDs that launched last year. The E16 controller is rated for read/write speeds of up to 5,000 MB/s, which is already 25 times faster than what current console HDDs offer. However, Phison also plans to commercialize an updated E18 controller that is rated for 1 million IOPS and up to 7,000 MB/s reads.
Given that Microsoft is all about custom-made versions of existing hardware, the Xbox Series X console will most likely feature a modified SSD hopefully featuring a version of the Phison E18 controller and a maximum capacity of 1 TB. Even if it is getting a variant of the older E16 controller, the Xbox Series X console should still have substantially more sequential throughput to enable more detailed textures and smoother gameplay with lightning fast loading times.