Micron has announced their latest generation of enterprise SATA SSDs, all based on their 3D TLC NAND. The new 5100 series is a full range of enterprise SSDs with capacities ranging from 240GB to 8TB and in three tiers of endurance and performance. Spare area ranges from a minimum of 15% on the density-focused 5100 ECO up to a massive 60% on the performance-focused 5100 MAX. Conversely, write endurance ratings vary from less than one drive write per day (DWPD) on the 5100 ECO up to 5 DWPD on the 5100 MAX. The 5100 ECO and middle-tier 5100 PRO offer M.2 models up to 2TB in addition to their 2.5" form factor models, while the 5100 MAX is only available as a 2.5" drive.

Micron's decision to use TLC NAND across the entire range is a notable departure from previous enterprise SSD product lines. The shift was made possible by two major factors: demand for the highest performance and highest write endurance has shifted from SATA to PCIe SSDs, and Micron's 3D TLC with sufficient over-provisioning can hit their endurance targets and the bandwidth limits of SATA more economically than a drive based on 3D MLC would.

As enterprise SSDs optimized for consistent sustained performance, the 5100 series does not implement SLC caching and all writes go to TLC NAND. This means that the random and sequential write speeds of the lower-capacity models are significantly impaired, but the larger models in each of the three tiers can saturate a SATA link with sequential writes.

Micron 5100 Series Specifications Comparison
  5100 ECO 5100 PRO 5100 MAX
Form Factor 2.5" 7mm and single-sided M.2 2280 2.5"

480GB, 960GB, 1920GB, 3840GB, 7680GB (2.5")

480GB, 960GB, 1920GB (M.2)

240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1920GB, 3840GB (2.5")

240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1920GB (M.2)


240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1920GB

Controller Marvell 88SS1074
Interface SATA 6Gb/s
NAND Micron 384Gb 32-layer 3D TLC
Sequential Read 540 MB/s
Sequential Write 380–520 MB/s 250–520 MB/s 310–520 MB/s
4KB Random Read (QD32) 93k IOPS 78k–93k IOPS 93k IOPS
4KB Random Write (QD32) 9k–31k IOPS 26k–43k IOPS 48k–74k IOPS
Endurance 0.45–8.4 PB 0.65–17.6 PB 2.2–17.6 PB
MSRP 55–45¢/GB 65–55¢/GB 75–65¢/GB
Encryption optional TCG Enterprise and FIPS 140-2 validation

The 5100 series has hardware similarities to the 1100 series client SATA SSDs and the consumer Crucial MX300, all of which use Micron's 3D TLC and Marvell's 88SS1074 "Dean" controller. The 5100 series adds full power loss protection and enterprise-focused firmware. In a feature Micron advertises as Flex Capacity, the divisions between the three product tiers can be blurred with manual over-provisioning. When reducing the accessible capacity of the drive using the device configuration overlay (DCO), steady-state write performance will naturally improve due to the increased spare area. But in addition, past certain thresholds the 5100s will also engage the same changes in flash management strategy that the higher-endurance tiers apply out of the box. Thus, a 5100 ECO can be reconfigured to be a 5100 PRO in all but name.

The different capacity and form factor options across the three tiers of the 5100 series adds up to 21 different models, each available with or without TCG Enterprise support and FIPS 140-2 certification. Many of these configurations will not initially be available in retail channels and will instead be sold primarily to high-volume customers. Exact pricing has not been announced, but retail prices are expected to range from 45¢/GB to 75¢/GB depending on capacity and endurance tier, and high-volume direct sales will be cheaper.

With the 5100 series replacing the M500DC and M510DC, Micron's business and enterprise SSDs have all transitioned over to their new naming scheme except for the S600DC SAS SSDs. Micron hasn't announced what model number their future SAS SSDs will use, but they currently use 1100 for client SATA SSDs and 7100 and 9100 for PCIe SSDs. They also reserved 2100 for client PCIe SSDs before putting those plans on hold. The 1100 and 5100 Series use Micron's 3D TLC NAND while the rest are still based on planar MLC NAND. Micron expects the 7100 series successor to also switch entirely to TLC when it adopts 3D NAND, so the successor to the 9100 series might be their first use of 3D MLC.

Source: Micron

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  • Nexing - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    Not entirely true. There is still a need to match 850 Pro performance while lowering its energy consumption plus adding power loss protection. The former is important to the portable devices moreso in light of the even higher power consumption of PCIe based SSDs. The later via the addition of small & cheap capacitors, which 850 PRO line lacks for marketing reasons.
  • HomeworldFound - Monday, December 5, 2016 - link

    I saw now that Samsung released 4TB 850 EVO SATA SSDs. £1300. Affordable prices for large volume drives are on the way in a year or two... I think it's amazing.
  • Magichands8 - Monday, December 5, 2016 - link

    The only thing that's really amazing is that companies like Micron, Intel, Samsung and Toshiba, after many years, are STILL releasing "new" drives which have very low capacities, performance that remains crippled by the transfer interface and ridiculously high prices. Oh, and that after all this time we are still years away from reasonably priced large capacity SSDs.
  • CoD511 - Tuesday, December 6, 2016 - link

    What are you talking about? We've been relying on magnetic storage for an exceedingly long time now and this is a young consumer market from less than a decade ago in formation.

    I paid $500 for a Vertex 2 120GB drive relatively early on and I can definitely say, the ability to buy a $500 1TB drive for with infinitely better lifetime, consistent throughput and that happens to eliminate all major consumer performance barriers as well as innovating the technology in more complex ways to present a massive endurance increase from where it was initially. Performance is also better on all metrics.

    Do you have the knowledge to explain thoroughly, why this is ridiculous (without ignoring the fundamental industry changes or market trends or technological barriers or company costs involved in development and so forth)? In less than 10 years, I can pay the same for 10x the storage increase in SSDs and that's ignoring the significant improvements, changes, limitations and technological innovation that was required to facilitate this instead of just driving NAND nodes lower for lower costs at the expense of subsequently, far lower endurance and reliability.
  • doggface - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    He wants the $/GB ratio to go down and it is not going down very fast. While the sizes go up, so do the prices, and so the ratio stays around $0.30-.70/GB. What we need is $0.10-.20/GB for SSDs to be more accessible. That seems another 5 years away at this point.
  • Magichands8 - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    It's ridiculous because the technology to vastly increase capacities has been around. It's just that the entire industry is deliberately dragging its ass in releasing it to milk that cow. Performance hasn't gone anywhere in years and price/GB and capacity have been stalled for a very long time and the refrain I keep hearing is that what we currently have is 'good enough'. Consumers should actually care about the technology advancing and prices coming down, not rationalizing and making excuses for an industry deliberately not producing better products at a better value as you seem to be doing. Which lends me to think you own stock in some of these companies or something. Any system can only be as fast as its slowest component. If all you ever want to do is check your Facebook and read your emails then why not just go back to using magnetic storage since it's good enough after all. My time however is actually valuable to me. If I have to transfer a 4GB file from and SSD to magnetic storage then all of a sudden our good enough SSDs aren't good enough anymore. And if I need to store more than 10TB of data I have NO other option than to RAID and take all the bad that comes with that. And I don't need to be a professional to want something better. At this rate you'll be waiting far more than 10 years to see the improvements you're talking about.
  • jabber - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    So when do we get SATA IV? I just want the same backwards capable connector with more throughput.
  • Billy Tallis - Thursday, December 8, 2016 - link

    You're looking for Serial Attached SCSI, then. It's currently at 12Gbps and will be moving to 22.5Gbps starting in a year or two. SATA won't be getting a direct successor; SATA Express made PCIe the official way forward, but M.2 and U.2 are the connector standards that actually caught on.
  • jabber - Thursday, December 8, 2016 - link

    Yeah trouble is all those newer standards are a mess.

    M.2 can be SATA/NVME/Single Sided, Double Sided, B key? Whatever.

    I just want one socket and one standard with no gotchas to look out for. Just like we've had with SATA for the past 10+ years.

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