Japanese company Kioxia announced on the launch of the industry’s first removable media in the new XFM Embedded and Removable Memory Device (XFMD) format. Externally, the XFM drive looks like an SD memory card, but it is somewhere between miniSD and microSD cards in size. The new drives are intended to be a replacement for fast SSDs for compact devices, but with the possibility of easy and quick disassembly.
The XFMD standard was approved by the JEDEC committee in August 2021. At the same time, Kioxia promised to be the first to launch new removable storage devices, and MediaTek announced plans to provide corresponding chipset support. We don’t yet know anything about devices – AR and VR headsets, smartphones, laptops, drones, and other small and powerful platforms – that can support XFM drives. But there will surely be some soon.
The XFM standard is intended to be an alternative to UFS drives on the one hand and a replacement for SSDs in the M.2 form factor on the other. UFS drives are known for their compactness and low consumption, but they are not removable and require the integration of the interface into the SoC. M.2 drives can be very powerful, but they are relatively large and consume a lot. A new type of removable disk in the face of XFM offers the possibility of quick replacement, a compact form factor and high performance, although obviously it will significantly surpass UFS drives in terms of consumption.
“The small size and low profile (14mm × 18mm × 1.4mm) of the JEDEC XFM DEVICE Ver.1.0 form factor offers a footprint of 252mm2, optimizing space for installing ultra-compact host devices without sacrificing performance or serviceability. With its minimized height, the XFMEXPRESS XT2 form factor is ideal for thin and light notebooks and opens up new design possibilities for next-generation solutions and systems.” – said in a press release from Kioxia.
While the company has yet to disclose the specifications of the first XFM drives, support for dual PCIe 4.0 lanes and NVMe 1.4b specifications promises industry-leading performance for compact SSDs. We await details.