JMicron JMS583 – Controller Version Matters For Portable USB Drives
The JMicron JMS583 USB 3.1 Gen 2 to PCIe Gen3x2 bridge controller has been widely used on portable USB drives since being introduced in 2018. You can find the JMS583 powering USB NVMe SSD enclosures, memory card readers and portable SSDs in recent years. The list of customers for the JMS583 is impressive as MyDigitalSSD, Sabrent, HP, LaCie, Patriot, SilverStone Technology, Plugable, ORICO, QNINE, TREBLEET, JEYI, YIKESHU, TDBT, Speedbyte, Alxum, N N.ORANIE, A ADWITS, Wanfocyu, FIDECO, UPTab, ineo, and Rongdeson are just a small portion of companies using it on devices they have brought to market.
One of the reasons that the JMS583 bridge chip has been so popular is due to the fact that it was the first chip on the market to deliver over 1,000 MB/s in performance by fully saturating the USB 3.1 Gen2 10Gbps interface. It also had the USB Type-C control circuitry built-in, so there was no additional components or board space needed to implement a USB Type-C connector. This also helped lower build costs and is one of the reasons NVMe SSD to USB Type-C enclosures can be found for under $40 from dozens, if not hundreds of companies around the globe.
Legit Reviews first encountered the JMS583 bridge chip on the MyDigitalSSD M2X enclosure that we reviewed back in September of 2018. The drive worked great and we were hitting nearly 1000 MB/s read and write speeds on an Intel X299 platform on a wide variety of SSDs. We were super excited that sub $40 enclosures were allowing NVMe SSDs to be used over the USB interface. These devices were also USB bus powered and supported features like TRIM and UASP. Very impressive at that point in time, but we noticed that we were running into stability issues on newer platforms from both AMD and Intel. Companies like MyDigitalSSD released firmware updates for the M2X enclosure that helped resolve some things, but certainly not all of them. The other thing we have noticed is that many of the companies bringing JMS583 products to market are small and have not been keeping up on the firmware updates made available by JMicron.
Earlier this month we reviewed the ORICO GV100 Portable NVMe SSD on our ‘new’ AMD X570 test platform that we built for 2020 and ran into some issues. Our conclusion was that the JMicron JMS583 controller that powered the drive was no longer stable or one that we recommended to our readers. That certainly got the attention of both ORICO and JMicron and we’ve been having great discussions with both companies since the article was published.
What we have learned is that JMicron is aware of some performance/stability issues on platforms that have been discovered since the JMS583 bridge chip was introduced in 2018. The AMD X570 platform that we use came out in Q2 2019 and JMicron acknowledges that there were some compatibility issues that were encountered. JMicron has released firmware updates to help solve some of them, but to fully resolve the known issues they needed to make internal changes to the JMS583 bridge chip. So, there are different versions of the JMicron JMS583 bridge chip on the market today.
- JMS583 A0 – Original production release
- JMS583 A1 – Internal version used for testing and validation that was never released
- JMS583 A2 – Released Q3 2019 w/ AMD Stability Issues Fixed & Improved Signal Quality for Low Quality USB 10G Cables
- JMS583 A3 – OEM version to support custom features; will gradually replace A2 starting in early 2021
All of the devices that we have featuring the JMS583 bridge chip are version A0. We just received the ORIVO GV100 portable NVMe SSD in May 2020 and even it still uses JMS583 A0. This might be why some of you have experienced drive disconnections, poor performance or a drive compatibility issues on newer systems with one of these JMS583 powered drives.
So, the issue here is how can you get the latest bridge chip version for the best user experience?
Right now we can’t find a single manufacturer of the JMicron JMS583 controller that is disclosing the version controller is being used. We spent several hours today looking around at product pages and online retailer listings and not one discloses what version of the JMS583 bridge chip is being used.
This article will hopefully help inform consumers and storage enthusiasts and change that. We have also proactively reached out to a handful of companies and let them know about this. We also asked them to update the out-dated firmware on their sites for the original JMS583 A0 drives. We’ll see how many companies listen and release products based on the newer JMicron JMS583 A2 bridge chip.
JMicron is going to be sending Legit Reviews one of their own JMS583 A2 developer boards to try out. Expect to see that coverage posted in June 2020 once we get the drive in our labs to try out!