Over the last few months I have been getting involved with learning, reviewing and generally playing with more industrial control applications

 

Everything from Raspberry PI control systems through to Crouzet PLCs and even reviewing the IP67 rated Agilent Insulation Resistance meter and one area that has not yet been covered (Well there are a few really) is Industrial grade memory that not only is reliable at room temperature and nice weather / humidity but is also guaranteed to work at sub-zero or extreme heat and humidity. We’re talking between -40 to + 85 Deg centigrade and up to 85% RH. Way more extreme than most folks would ever want to be out and about in.

 

Here in Canada we regularly get the -40 for a few days (Sometimes) but never the +85deg C.

 

So with this in mind a company called swissbit (http://www.swissbit.com) provided me 4 memory units to play with and review.

swissbit.png

 

The memory falls in to two categories. mSATA and Slim SATA

This is what the mSATA memory card looks like

eSATA.jpg

and this is a SLIM SATA

Slim SATA.jpg

You might say there almost identical and you would be correct. The two significant differences is that the top card uses the mSATA / eSATA connector interface and runs on 3V3 while the lower card using the more common SATA connector so often found on the back of almost every commercial hard drive these days and like them it runs on 5V (The 12V is not used even if provided on the connector.

 

Here is a picture I took of the four cards, in high resolution and showing both sides of the cards

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On close examination you will see that all four cards use the same controller, and SM2242 SATA Solid State Drive 4-Channel Flash Controller from Silicon Motion which acts as the interface between the NAND memory and the SATA differential drive interface

Here is its architecture diagram

NAND Controller.png

 

what is clear from this and reading the data sheet is that is can handle 4 NAMD channels and has much built in intelligence providing features such as SLC sustained read rate of 105 MB/s „and SLC sustained write rate of 80 MB/s as well as 3Gb/s SATA speeds and one feature very important in critical applications is error correction, Hardware BCH ECC detects/corrects up to 15-bit errors in 528 data and an MTBF of 2.5Million hours. All of the cards in their active state will consume up to 490mA of power but as low as 180mA in standby depending on host platform capabilities (64GB Part).

Based on the same controller and the same class of memory used across the boards, when it comes to performance I don’t expect to see much variance.

 

The X-200 series SLIM SATA comes in sizes from 2GB through 32GB while the mSATA extends one more step to 64GB

 

So these cards have temperature covered, but they are also tested and certified for use in automotive applications and if needed can be ordered with conformal coating and other options like a read only switch and activity LED. all extending hte capabilities of the cards. They are also tested with shock, vibration and humidity up to 20G peak vibration, 1500G shock and 85% RH. all together this make these cards an ideal candidate for most industrial applications even with extreme temperature and harsh or corrosive atmosphere

 

Here is a link to their individual data sheets, as you will see, these are not the fastest memory on the block but there up there when it comes to reliability and resistance to the harsh environments that can be found in the industrial space.

Welcome to Swissbit › Welcome to Swissbit the main swissbit web site where you can find all about these memory chips and many more on offer

 

http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/1821170.pdf  - mSATA

http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/1596027.pdf  - SLIM SATA

 

http://www.sabreadv.com/wp-content/uploads/SM2242-Product-Brief_Preliminary_1222.pdf  - memory controller used on all the boards

 

So for a performance test i ran a simple disk read performance application under windows 10 on my 8 core I7 and also tried transferring large data files onto the SSDs from my local Samsung SSD in order to eliminate all possible bottle necks in the transfer. Leaving only the test boards performance being significant

 

Testing the 16GB SLIM SATA (LEFT) gave the following figures compared to the 8GB (Right)

For a rather unfair comparison, this is the figures for my C Drive which is a SAMSUNG 940 SSD, that will blaze up to and in excess of 1GB/s, I doubt the SAMSUNG would be working at -40Deg C though or at +85

 

A more real compare would be a standard Mechanical drive or to its right, a 16GB SD card

For the mSATA cards, I ran them on my GIZMO 2 board utilizing the built in mSATA connector on its underside. Even though the board only supports a dual core AMD CPU running at 1GHz and only 1GB RAM, it was still able to post closet to the MAX manufactures figures

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Here are the results of the test under windows 10 and the 16GB Card

16gb mSATApng.png

As you can see the 16GB card, even with all the environmental limits was still able to post some pretty good figures.

The 8GB Card will be covered in the video as it was performed using UBUNTU using its built in performance options. It was still a good result comparable with the rest of the tests.

In addition to the benchmark tests, I also performed a 7,4GB file transfer to and from the cards, in all cases the read speed was close to double or more then the write speeds. In all cases the write speed was ultimately down around 50MB/Second but f you consider the purpose of these cards, that is way more than enough

 

In the following two videos you will see a rather more detailed walk through of the Memory Cards along with the recorded performance tests

 

 

So in summary, the memory NAND flash cards indeed performed to expectations as far as I am able to test, this along with the pre delivery testing and burn in should assure any perspective customer that these memory cards will meet the needs of demanding industrial solutions and should provide significant product life and reliability. They are not intended for high volume and high capacity storage. if that is needed, then swissbit also has that covered with other lines of their product range up to and in excess of full M2 based cards with the same industrial specifications and extending their performance and capacity up to over 480GB size and 600MB/S transfer rates