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What is HMB technology? What is the impact on SSD?

HMB is known as Host Memory Buffer, or host memory buffer technology, which allows SSDs to improve their performance without a cache by leveraging the high-speed read and write characteristics of memory, ultimately achieving comparable performance to SSDs with their own cache.
Host Memory Buffer

From NVMe 1.2, all can support HMB master memory buffering. When AN NVMe SSD that supports the HMB function reads and writes data, the function is automatically enabled to increase the speed. If SSD data security is compromised due to unstable system memory, the HMB function is automatically disabled to ensure data security.

The PRINCIPLE of HMB technology is to set aside a cache area in host memory exclusively for SSD use. This area occupies only a small part of the PC memory space (usually less than 128MB) but retains sufficient space to coordinate data exchange between the CPU and hard disks. CPU and system performance is not affected.

However, HMB technology is suitable for the installation of newer platforms, because although THE HMB function automatically enables speed up without additional cumbersome operation process, it has strict requirements on the system side. Windows 10 1703 or 1709 is the minimum version of a computer system that supports HMB.

NVMe History & Roadmap
NVMe History & Roadmap

Currently, control chip manufacturers Marvell, SMI, and Phison have launched several chips to support HMB technology, such as Marvell 88NV1160/88NV1120, SMI SM2263XT/SM2258XT, and Phison PS5008-E8T. Toshiba’s latest DRAM-less designed RC100 series SSDs utilize HMB technology to achieve random read speeds of up to 160K IOPS and random write speeds of up to 120K IOPS. The new generation SM2263XT designed by Huirong DRAM-less utilizes HMB technology to not only double the IOPS performance but also to match the SM2263’s IOPS performance is comparable to that of the SM2263, fully compensating for the IOPS performance disadvantage caused by SSDs without DRAM cache chips.

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