Micron p320: Micron P320h PCIe SSD (700GB) Review

Micron P320h PCIe SSD (700GB) Review

by Anand Lal Shimpion October 15, 2012 3:00 AM EST

  • Posted in
  • Storage
  • SSDs
  • Micron
  • P320h
  • PCIe SSD



IntroductionRandom & Sequential PerformanceEnterprise Storage Bench — Oracle SwingbenchEnterprise Storage Bench — Microsoft SQL UpdateDailyStatsEnterprise Storage Bench — Microsoft SQL WeeklyMaintenanceFinal Words

Update: Micron tells us that the P320h doesn’t support NVMe, we are digging to understand how Micron’s controller differs from the NVMe IDT controller with a similar part number.

Well over a year ago Micron announced something unique in a sea of PCIe SSDs that were otherwise nothing more than SATA drives in RAID on a PCIe card. The drive Micron announced was the P320h, featuring a custom ASIC and a native PCIe interface. The vast majority of PCIe SSDs we’ve looked at thus far feature multiple SATA/SAS SSD controllers with their associated NAND behind a SATA/SAS RAID controller on a PCIe card. These PCIe SSDs basically deliver the performance of a multi-drive SSD RAID-0 on a single card instead of requiring multiple 2.5″ bays. There’s decent interest in these types of PCIe SSDs simply because of the form factor advantage as many servers these days have moved to slimmer form factors (1U/2U) that don’t have all that many 2.5″ drive bays. Long term however, this SATA/SAS RAID on a PCIe card SSD solution is clunky at best. Ideally you’d want a native PCIe controller that could talk directly to the NAND, rather than going through an unnecessary layer of abstraction. That’s exactly what Micron’s P320h promised. Today, we have a review of that very drive.

Although it was publicly announced a long time ago (in SSD terms), the P320h’s specifications are still very competitive:

Micron P320h





PCIe 2. 0 x8


34nm ONFI 2.1 SLC

Max Sequential Performance (Reads/Writes)

3.2 / 1.9 GBps

Max Random Performance (Reads/Writes)

785K / 205K IOPS

Max Latency (QD=1, Read/Write)

47 µs / 311 µs (nonposted)

Endurance (Max Data Written)







Form Factor

Half-Height, Half-Length PCIe

68. 9mm x 167.65mm x 18.71mm

In fact, the only indication that this product was announced over a year ago is the fact that it is launching using 34nm SLC NAND. Most of the enterprise SSDs we review these days have shifted to 2x-nm eMLC or MLC-HET. Micron will be making a 25nm SLC version available as well as eMLC/MLC-HET versions in the future, but the launch product uses 34nm SLC NAND. I don’t have official pricing from Micron yet, but I would expect it to be pretty high given the amount of expensive SLC NAND on each of the drives (512GB for the 350GB drive, 1TB for the 700GB drive).

The obvious benefit from using SLC NAND is endurance. While Intel’s MLC-HET based 910 SSD tops out at 14PB of writes over the life of the 800GB, the 350GB P320h is rated for 25PB. The 700GB drive doubles that to 50 petabytes of writes.

Micron is also quite proud of its low read/write latencies, enabled by its low overhead PCIe controller and driver stack.

As a native PCIe SSD, the P320h features a single controller on the card — a giant 1517-pin controller made by IDT. The huge pin count is needed to connect the controller to its 32 independent NAND channels, 4x what we see from most SATA SSD controllers:

There are no bridge chips or RAID controllers on-board, that single Micron developed IDT manufactured controller is all that’s needed. Talk about clean.

Each of the 32 channels can talk to up to 8 targets, with a maximum capacity of 4TB although Micron only uses 1TB of NAND on-board. Twenty two percent of the on-board NAND is set aside as spare area for garbage collection, bad block replacement and wear leveling. An additional 1/8 of the user capacity is reserved for parity data.

The IDT controller features a configurable hardware RAID-5 that stripes accesses across multiple logical units. The logical units are broken down into blocks and pages as is standard for NAND based SSDs. Blocks and pages are striped across logical units, with parity data calculated from every 7 blocks/pages.

Micron picked 7+1P as its preferred balance of performance, user capacity and failure protection:

Calculating parity based on fewer blocks/pages would be able to withstand greater failures but capacity and performance would suffer. As NAND failures should be far more rare/predictable than mechanical storage failures, this tradeoff shouldn’t be a problem.

The P320h is available in one form factor: a half-height, half-length PCIe 2.0 x8 card. In the box are both half and full height brackets allowing the P320h to fit in both types of cases:

Unlike most 2.5″ SATA/SAS SSDs, these PCIe SSDs are pretty interesting to look at. With much more bandwidth to saturate, the drive makers have become more creative in finding ways to cram as many NAND devices onto a half height, half length PCIe card as possible. While sticking to a single slot profile, Micron uses two smaller daughterboards attached via high density interface connectors to the main P320h card to double the amount of NAND on the drive.


Each daughtercard has sixteen 34nm 128Gb NAND packages for a total of 256GB of NAND. That’s 512GB of NAND on cards, and then another 512GB on the main P320h card itself for a total of 1TB of NAND for a 700GB drive. The 350GB drive keeps the daughtercards but moves to 64Gb NAND packages instead. Remember that these are 34nm SLC NAND die, so you’re looking at only 2GB per die vs. the 8GB per die we get from 25nm MLC NAND (or 4GB per die from 25nm SLC NAND).

Of course with a huge increase in the number of NAND devices, there’s a correspondingly large increase in the number of DRAM devices to keep track of all of the LBAs and flash mapping tables. The P320h features nine 256MB DDR3-1333 devices (also made by Micron) for a total of 2. 25GB of on-board DRAM. 

There’s a relatively small heatsink on the custom PCIe controller itself. Micron claims it only needs 1.5m/s of airflow in order to maintain its operating temperature. Prying the heatsink off reveals IDT’s NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) controller. This is a native PCIe controller that supports up to 32 NAND channels, as well as a full implementation of the NVMe spec. Although the controller itself is PCIe Gen 3, Micron only certifies it for PCIe Gen 2 operation. With 8 PCIe lanes there’s more than enough host bandwidth on PCIe 2.x so this isn’t an issue. Update: Micron tells us that the P320h doesn’t support NVMe, we are digging to understand how Micron’s controller differs from the NVMe IDT controller with a similar part number.

The NVMe spec promises a lower overhead, more efficient command set for native PCIe SSDs. This is a transition that makes a lot of sense as the current approach of just using SATA/SAS controllers behind a PCIe switch is unnecessarily complex. With NVMe the NAND talks to a native PCIe controller which can in turn deliver tons of bandwidth to the host vs. being bottlenecked by 6Gbps SATA or SAS. The NVMe host spec also scales the number of concurrent IOs supported all the way up to 64,000 (a max of 256 currently supported under Windows vs 32 for SATA based SSDs), well beyond what most current workloads would be able to generate.

As NVMe spec defines the driver interface between the SSD and the host OS, it requires a new set of drivers to function. The goal is down the road these drivers will be built into the OS, but in the short term you’d hopefully only need one NVMe driver that would work on all NVMe SSDs rather than the current mess of having an individual driver for every PCIe SSD. Companies like Intel have gotten around the driver issues by simply using SATA/SAS to PCIe controllers whose drivers are already integrated into modern OSes (e.g. LSI’s Falcon 2008 controller on the Intel SSD 910).

In the long run NVMe SSDs should enjoy the same plug and play benefits that SATA drives enjoy today. You never have to worry about installing a SATA driver to make your new SSD work (you shouldn’t at least), and the same will hopefully be true for NVMe SSDs. The reality today is much more complicated than that.

Micron provided us with drivers for the P320h under the guidance that the driver was only tested/validated for certain server configurations. Even having other PCIe devices installed in the system could cause incompatibilities. In practice I found Micron’s warnings accurate. While the P320h had no issues working on our X79 testbed, our H67 testbed wouldn’t boot into Windows with the P320h installed. What was really strange about the P320h in the H67 system was that the simple presence of the card caused graphical corruption at POST. I noticed other incompatibilities with certain PCIe video cards installed in our X79 system. I eventually ended up with a stable configuration that let me run through our suite of tests, but even then I noticed the P320h would sometimes drop out of the system entirely — requiring a power cycle to come back again.

Micron made no attempt to hide the fact that the P320h is only validated on specific servers, but it’s something worth considering if you’re looking at this drive. Apparently the state of Linux drivers is much better than Windows, unfortunately most of our tests run under Windows which forced us into dealing with these compatibility issues head on.

Random & Sequential Performance
IntroductionRandom & Sequential PerformanceEnterprise Storage Bench — Oracle SwingbenchEnterprise Storage Bench — Microsoft SQL UpdateDailyStatsEnterprise Storage Bench — Microsoft SQL WeeklyMaintenanceFinal Words



Micron 700GB PCIe SSD Hard drive P329h

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Micron 700GB P320H Series PCI-E SSD MTFDGAR700SAH-1N1AB P329h HHHL SLC


$279. 00

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700 GB
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  • Description
  • Other Details
  • Warranty Information

Micron 700GB P320H Series PCI-E SSD MTFDGAR700SAH-1N1AB P329h HHHL SLC

The Micron RealSSD P320h is a half-height, half-length (HHHL) application accelerator that uses SLC NAND and a PCIe Gen 2 x8 interface to deliver quoted sequential read speeds of 3. 2 GB/s and random read IOPS of up to 785,000.


Brand: Micron
Series: P320H
Capacity: 700GB
Type: SSD
Form Factor: PCIe 2.0
Flash Technology: SLC
Interface: SATA

We have plenty of inventory that is not on this site. If you can’t find exactly what you are looking for, please chat with our sales team so we can assist you better. 
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700 GB
Form Factor:
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Sanding belt grit

Grit marking

Sanding belt grit is the most important characteristic of a belt. Depending on its purpose, the size of granules (grains) can vary from a few millimeters (tapes with this grain size are used for rough work) to 3-5 microns (for final grinding). The standard that is the most common in the world and adopted in Russia is FEPA or ISO 6344. According to this standard, the abrasive grit is denoted by the letter P and the numerical part, which means units (from 12 to 2,500). The higher the numerical part of the marking, the finer the grain will be on the tape.

Along with the world standard in the countries of the former USSR, an outdated type of marking is used, which corresponds to the Soviet GOST 3647-80. With this type of marking, the digital part indicates the grain size in tens of microns with the additional letter H (20-H, 10-H). The smallest size of the abrasive coating is indicated by the letter M and the numeric part, where M stands for micro. There are other types of markings, for example, GB2478 — China, ANSI — America and JIS — Canada.

Application type

Sanding belt grit is created in two ways:

  • open and semi-open coating method — with this method, the grains cover from 40 to 60% of the surface, the tape is suitable for soft materials of low density, for example, putty objects, resinous woods; this type of sprinkling prevents clogging of gaps and the formation of lumps;
  • solid or closed type of coating — the surface is completely covered with abrasive grains, materials with this type of coating are suitable for grinding surfaces of high hardness (metals, hardwoods). nine0014

Grit Grades

Grit comes in several grades. Grouping occurs according to grain size. The lower the grain index number, the rougher the material will be processed.


Extra Coarse P22-P36. P22-P36 extra coarse grit belts are used for very rough applications and are the roughest. The grain sizes are in the range from 1000 to 500 µm.

Coarse P40-P60. Coarse grain belts (P40-P60) are used for the initial processing of the material (most often wood). Since the granules are quite large, the belt does not clog as quickly, which allows a significant amount of work to be done. The grain sizes range from 500 to 250 µm.

Grit P70-P120 for primary sanding. Primary sanding belts (P70-P120) are suitable for almost all surface cleaning jobs, such as paintwork or when a part needs to be smoothed out. The grain sizes are in the range of 250–100 µm.

Grit P150-P220 for final sanding. Finishing sanding belts (P150-P220) are used for final depainting or smoothing of surfaces, also for sanding for painting. Used for soft woods. The grain sizes are in the range of 100–63 µm.

Fine grit

P240-P280 grit for final sanding. Finish sanding belts (P240-P280) are used for finishing hardwoods and for deburring them before coating. The grain sizes are in the range of 63–40 µm.

P400-P600 grit for polishing final coats. Finishing polishing tapes (P400-P600) are designed for smoothing painted surfaces, creating the necessary smoothness, polishing between paints, wet sanding. The grain sizes are in the range of 40–20 µm.

P1000 grit for fine sanding. Fine sanding belts (P1000) are used for polishing metal, ceramics, plastics and wet sanding. The grain sizes are in the range of 20–14 µm.

P1200-P2500 grit for fine sanding. Fine sanding belts (P1200–P2500) are used for final polishing of products, making the surface shiny. The grain sizes are in the range of 14–3 µm.


nine0084 CRS



nine0084 A30

FEPA ANSI GOST 3647-80 3M tm Trizact tm Scotch-Brite TM Size, µm
P24 24 80
P36 36 50
P40 40 40 XCRS
P50 50 32 XCRS
P60 60 25 XCRS 250

60 16 A300 180
P100 100 A200 CRS 150
P120 120 12 A160 120
P150 150 10 A130 100
P180 180 8 A110 MED 80

A100 MED 70
P220 6 A90 MED
P240 220 M63 60
P280 240 M50 A65 FIN 50
A60 FIN 45
P320 280

P360 320 A45 VFN 40
P400 M40 A40 SFN nine0085
P500 360 SFN/UFN
P600 M28 A35 UFN 35
400 30
P800 A25 XFN
P1000 500 M20 A20 XFN 20

600 A16 15
P1200 800 M14
P1500 1000 M10 nine0085

P2000 1200 M7 9
P2500 M5 A6 5

AMD Athlon II Dual-Core P320 (AMP320SGR22GM)

AMD Athlon II Dual-Core P320 (AMP320SGR22GM)

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