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Transcend Announces Lineup of Embedded DRAM-less SSDs

As a leading manufacturer of embedded memory products, Transcend provides high-value storage products for industrial applications. The firm recently released DRAM-less 96-layer 3D NAND SSDs in 2.5" and M.2 form factors with NVMe PCIe and SATA III interfaces, catering to increasing demand for smart edge applications. Capable of operating under harsh conditions, this economical storage solution helps companies upgrade their hardware and remain highly competitive even without DRAM, allowing them to quickly deploy edge storage devices in the AIoT era.

Recognizing that industrial applications create a variety of needs, Transcend has released a complete product lineup, including MTE632T, an NVMe PCIe Gen 3x4 SSD, SATA III M.2 2280 SSD MTS932T, SATA III M.2 2242 SSD MTS532T, and 2.5" SSD SSD432K. Capacity options of up to 1 TB can be customized for enterprises seeking to choose the most suitable storage device. All DRAM-less SSDs are built with 96-layer 3D NAND flash that withstands 3K Program/Erase cycles for intensive read-write demands.

New Phison E18 Flash Controller for 176-Layer NAND Now Commercially Available

Phison Electronics Corp, a global leader in NAND flash controller integrated circuits and storage solutions, today announces shipping of its PS5018-E18 PCIe Gen4 controllers to manufacturer partners with new 176-layer replacement gate NAND.

The new E18 paired with 176-layer fills the crucial role in the Phison product stack as the highest performing E18 to date. The potent combination delivers up to 7,400 MB/s sequential reads and 7,000 MB/s sequential writes.

The largest gains arrive in random read latency where the new premium tier shows a 35% performance increase over previous models at low queue depth improving user experience in system responsiveness. The new E18 delivers the best game load times of any consumer SSD in its class.
TPU had the chance to test this drive and we posted our review here.

SK hynix Unveils the Industry's Most Multilayered 176-Layer 4D NAND Flash

SK hynix Inc. announced the completion of developing the industry's most multilayered 176-layer 512 Gigabit (Gb) Triple-Level Cell (TLC) 4D NAND flash. The Company provided the samples to controller companies last month to make a solution product.

SK hynix has been promoting 4D technology from the 96-layer NAND flash products that combine Charge Trap Flash (CTF) with high-integrated Peri. Under Cell (PUC) technology. The new 176-layer NAND flash is the third generation 4D product that secures the industry's best number of chips per wafer. This allows the bit productivity to be improved by 35% compared to the previous generation with the differentiated cost competitiveness. The read speed of cell increased by 20% over the previous generation adopting 2-division cell array selection technology. The data transfer speed also has been improved by 33% to 1.6 Gbps adopting speed-up technology without increasing the number of processes.

SK hynix to Acquire Intel NAND Flash Memory Business for $9 Billion

SK hynix and Intel today announced that they have signed an agreement on Oct. 20, KST, under which SK hynix would acquire Intel's NAND memory and storage business for US $9 billion. The transaction includes the NAND SSD business, the NAND component and wafer business, and the Dalian NAND memory manufacturing facility in China. Intel will retain its distinct Intel Optane business.

SK hynix and Intel will endeavor to obtain required governmental approvals expected in late 2021. Following receipt of these approvals, SK hynix will acquire from Intel the NAND SSD business (including NAND SSD-associated IP and employees), as well as the Dalian facility, with the first payment of US $7 billion. SK hynix will acquire from Intel the remaining assets, including IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers, R&D employees, and the Dalian fab workforce, upon a final closing, expected to occur in March 2025 with the remaining payment of US $2 billion. Per the agreement, Intel will continue to manufacture NAND wafers at the Dalian Memory Manufacturing Facility and retain all IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers until the final closing.

Plextor Unveils M8V Plus Series SATA SSDs

Plextor late last week unveiled the M8V Plus line of mainstream SATA SSDs in the 2.5-inch and M.2-2280 form-factors. The M8V Plus is an incremental update of the original M8V series from 2018. What's new is the implementation of KIOXIA-sourced 96-layer TLC NAND flash replacing 64-layer chips from Toshiba. The M8V Plus series comes in 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB variants, while the original M8V came in 128-thru-512 GB variants.

The Silicon Motion SM2258 controller under the hood of the M8V Plus, has been updated to its latest revision, and supports Plextor-innovated Plex Compress technology. This feature uses the controller's idle time to compress files that haven't been accessed for over 30 days. The Plex Turbo feature, which is essentially variable-size SLC cache, has also been improved to be larger in size. On-paper performance hasn't changed, with the company claiming up to 560 MB/s sequential reads, up to 520 MB/s sequential writes, up to 90,000 IOPS 4K random access for the 256 GB and 512 GB variants; and up to 88,000 IOPS random access for the 1 TB variant. The company rates write endurance for the 256 GB variant at 140 TBW, 512 GB variant at 280 TBW, and 560 TBW for the 1 TB variant. All three variants are backed by 3-year warranties. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Western Digital Expands WD Purple Line of Surveillance Storage Solutions

Enabling customers to design and build solutions for a variety of smart video workloads, Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced its expanded family of WD Purple storage solutions, including the industry's highest capacity 18 TB surveillance HDD for DVRs, NVRs and analytics appliances, and the 1 TB WD Purple SC QD101 microSD card for AI-enabled cameras. Setting the bar for smart video applications, all WD Purple drives are optimized to help reduce frame loss and pixelation, improve overall video playback and enhance streaming for 24x7 workloads - from ingest to backup and long-term storage - as the industry broadens the use of deep learning and analytics.

From commercial buildings to municipalities, businesses are accelerating adoption of AI and deep learning to enable automation and better efficiencies that ultimately help create a safer and better experience for employees, customers and communities. Deep learning algorithms, hungry for data generated by IoT and edge ecosystems, demand higher resolution for better accuracy, increasing the need for storage capacity in cameras and NVRs. In its recent report, Video Surveillance & Analytics Intelligence Service, July 2020, Omdia states that shipments of cameras enabled with deep learning algorithms will continue growing at a five-year (2019-2024) CAGR of 67 percent, and NVRs enabled with deep-learning analytics will grow at 37 percent. Meanwhile, video analytics appliances shipments are expected to grow at 43 percent. In addition, a 2020 Western Digital-commissioned survey of North American security system integration companies found that 76 percent of them see video analytics and AI as playing an ever-increasing role in their deployments.

GIGABYTE Intros 2TB AORUS Gen4 AIC SSD

GIGABYTE today introduced a 2 TB variant of its AORUS Gen4 AIC SSD. This drive is essentially a PCI-Express 4.0 x16 to four M.2 PCIe Gen 4 x4 riser card that comes with four 500 GB AORUS Gen4 M.2 NVMe SSDs pre-installed. Using it requires a platform with PCIe lane segmentation (most modern platforms since 2016 do), and for the OS to support NVMe RAID.

The riser card component of the AORUS Gen4 AIC SSD has basic logic that controls a lateral blower based on drive temperature, and provides basic disk activity LEDs. Inside, a copper monoblock heatsink pulls heat from all four drives. Each of the four internal M.2 NVMe drives features 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory, and Phison E16 controllers. With NVMe RAID striped, the card offers peak performance of up to 15,000 MB/s sequential reads, and up to 9,500 MB/s sequential writes. Random access performance is rated at up to 425,000 IPS 4K random reads, and up to 440,000 IOPS 4K random writes. GIGABYTE is backing the drive with a 5-year warranty. The company didn't reveal pricing.

GIGABYTE Announces AORUS Gen4 SSD Series without Heatsinks

GIGABYTE was among the first to the market with a PCI-Express gen 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD, with its AORUS NVMe Gen4 SSD series from June 2019. Those drives are characterized by bulky copper heatsinks. The company decided to launch variants of the drive that lack this heatsink, and instead using only a thin copper peel that works both as a heatspreader and as a product label. The rationale behind this product is to let people use the M.2 heatsink that came with their motherboards. The lineup consists of 1 TB (GP-AG41TB) and 2 TB (GP-AG42TB) variants, and introduces a new 500 GB variant (GP-AG4500G) that's not available in the original lineup.

The underlying drive is identical. It combines a Phison PS5016-E16 controller with 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory over 8 channels, and a DDR4 DRAM cache (512 MB for the 500 GB variant, 1 GB for the 1 TB variant, and 2 GB for the 2 TB variant). All three variants offer sequential read speeds of up to 5000 MB/s. The 1 TB and 2 TB variants offer up to 4400 MB/s sequential writes, while the 500 GB variant offers up to 2500 MB/s. The 1 TB and 2 TB variants further offer the same 4K random-access performance numbers of 750k/700k IOPS (reads/writes), while the 500 GB variant offers up to 400k/550k IOPS. GIGABYTE is backing the drives with 5-year product warranties. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Seagate Announces the New-Generation Nytro Enterprise SSD Series

Seagate, a world leader in data solutions, today announced two new additions to its solid state Nytro portfolio which delivers optimal endurance and quality of service. Nytro 3032 SAS SSD and Nytro 1360 SATA SSD are designed to meet the needs of a wide range of enterprise applications.

The next generation of high-capacity SAS SSD from Seagate, Nytro 3032 SAS SSD delivers ultra-fast, reliable, and secure performance. The drive has an SAS 12 Gb/s interface and it also offers dual ports for speeds of up to 2200 MB/s and up to 10 DWPD bringing consistent and easily scalable performance to write-intensive, mixed, and read-intensive enterprise workloads. The Seagate Nytro 3032 SAS SSD delivers up to 15 TB in a 2.5-inch x 15 mm form factor and boosting enterprise storage density to keep up with data growth.

HP Announces S750 2.5-inch SATA SSD

HP today announced the S750 line of client-segment SSDs in the 2.5-inch form-factor that take advantage of the SATA 6 Gbps interface. Available in capacities of 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB, the drives combine an SMI-sourced controller with 96-layer 3D NAND flash memory. All three variants are rated to offer sequential transfer speeds of up to 560 MB/s reads, with up to 520 MB/s writes. The 256 GB variant offers random access performance of up to 55,000/79,000 IOPS (reads/writes); the 512 GB variant up to 90,000/89,000 IOPS, and the 1 TB variant up to 74,000/80,000 IOPS. Endurance of the three variants are rated at 160 TBW, 320 TBW, and 650 TBW, respectively. The company didn't reveal pricing as it vastly varies between regions.

Enmotus, Company Behind Original StoreMI, Launches FuzeDrive NVMe SSD

Enmotus is the company behind the FuzeDrive software on which the original AMD StoreMI technology is based, which juggles data among your various physical storage devices based on heat (frequency of access), improving performance. The company has now come up with its first hardware-product, the FuzeDrive NVMe SSD. Built in an M.2-2280 form-factor, the drive offers 1.6 TB of capacity, and combines a Phison E12-series controller with 96-layer 3D QLC NAND flash memory. The drive takes advantage of PCI-Express gen 3.0 x4.

Performance numbers of the FuzeDrive 1.6 TB SSD as rated by its makers include up to 3,470 MB/s sequential reads, up to 3,000 MB/s sequential writes; and an endurance rating of 5,000 TBW. The drive uses a 128 GB SLC cache to speed up write performance in moderate bursts. There's more to this drive than just its hard-product, Enmotus includes software that juggles data between the 128 GB pseudo-SLC and QLC areas; and of course the FuzeDrive software that lets you build volumes of up to 15 TB in size by throwing in fixed physical drives of any shape and size. Enmotus is pricing the FuzeDrive 1.6 TB NVMe SSD at $349.

Update Jul 3rd: We've learned through Enmotus that this drive has a permanent 128 GB SLC cache that's exclusive of the 1.6 TB QLC user-area. We believe this drive is possibly a 2 TB QLC drive, in which a quarter of the user area is permanently assigned to work as SLC, with 30,000 P/E cycles. The FuzeDrive firmware transfers hot data between the SLC and QLC areas of the drive.

Western Digital Announces Ultrastar DC SN840 NVMe SSD and OpenFlex Data24 NVMe-oF

Western Digital today announced new solutions that provide the foundation for next-generation data infrastructures designed around Ultrastar NVMe SSDs and supercharged by NVMe-oF. Building upon the company's innovative design and integration capabilities - from NAND Flash to storage platforms - the new dual-port, performance Ultrastar DC SN840 NVMe SSDs and in-house RapidFlex NVMe-oF controllers are standalone solutions that combine to create the new OpenFlex Data24 NVMe-oF Storage Platform, a new shared storage JBOF (Just a Bunch of Flash) enclosure that extends the value of NVMe to multiple hosts over a low-latency Ethernet fabric network. These new solutions further expand Western Digital's data center portfolio to help customers transition to higher efficiency NVMe SSDs and more advanced shared storage architectures to meet the evolving demands of performance-driven applications and workloads.

In today's global digital economy, microseconds count. As hyperscale cloud and enterprise data centers constantly work to remove bottlenecks to ensure uncompromised performance and availability of essential applications, while also keeping pace with unprecedented data growth, customer adoption of NVMe and NVMe-oF solutions continues to accelerate. Industry analyst firm IDC expects hyperscalers, OEMs and end-user IT organizations to continue to transition away from legacy SATA and SAS interfaces, with NVMe on track to reach more than 55 percent of total enterprise SSD units shipped in 2020 and grow at a 2018-2023 CAGR of 38 percent.

Kingston Ships 2TB KC2500 NVMe PCIe SSD

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, today began shipping the 2 TB KC2500 M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD for desktop, workstations and high-performance computing (HPC) systems. The new, higher capacity gives customers the flexibility to keep up with increasing storage needs and improves workflow.

KC2500 combines outstanding performance with endurance using the latest Gen 3.0 x 4 controller and 96-layer 3D TLC NAND, with speeds up to 3,500 MB/s read and up to 2,900 MB/s write. The self-encrypting SSD supports a full-security suite for end-to-end data protection using AES-XTS 256-bit hardware-based encryption and allows the usage of independent software vendors with TCG Opal 2.0 security management solutions such as Symantec, McAfee, WinMagic and others. KC2500 also has built-in Microsoft eDrive support, a security storage specification for use with BitLocker.

Corsair Unveils 4TB Variant of MP510 M.2 NVMe SSD

Corsair unveiled a new high-capacity 4 TB variant of its MP510 M.2 SSDs that take advantage of the PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface, and NVMe protocol (model: CSSD-F4000GBMP510). The drive retains its Phison PS5012-E12 controller, but paired with 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash. The drive retains the manufacturer-rated performance numbers for the 2 TB variant: up to 3,480 MB/s sequential reads, up to 3,000 MB/s sequential writes, up to 580,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 680,000 IOPS 4K random writes. Thanks to its high capacity, the drive enjoys a stellar endurance rating of 6,820 TBW. When it goes on sale, on June 4, the drive is expected to be priced close to the USD $800-mark.

Micron Delivers Client NVMe Performance and Value SSDs With Industry-Leading Capacity Sizes and QLC NAND

Micron Technology, Inc., today announced new client solid-state drives (SSDs) that bring NVMe performance to client computing applications, freeing laptops, workstations and other portables from legacy architectures that can rob devices of battery power, performance and productivity. The Micron 2300 SSD combines the power and density needed to drive compute-heavy applications in a compact form factor with the reduced power consumption modern mobile users demand. For the first time, Micron brings together NVMe performance and low-cost quad-level-cell (QLC) NAND in the Micron 2210 QLC SSD. It combines fast NVMe throughput and Micron's leadership in QLC technology to offer flash capabilities at hard disk drive-like price points while reducing power consumption by 15 times when compared to hard drives.
Micron 2300 NVMe SSD

Addlink Intros S20M SATA 2.5-inch SSD Series

Addlink today refreshed its S20 line of SATA SSDs with the new S20M series. The refreshed lineup uses 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory, and a Maxiotek MAS080X controller replacing the Phison S11-series controller on the original S20. The 2.5-inch, SATA 6 Gbps drive comes in 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB capacities, which offer varying performance. There is no 120-128 GB variant in the series. The 1 TB variant offers sequential reads of up to 560 MB/s, and up to 500 MB/s sequential writes. The 512 GB variant offers up to 550 MB/s reads, with up to 500 MB/s writes. The 256 GB variant does up to 510 MB/s reads, and up to 400 MB/s writes. Addlink claims increased endurance and MTBF over the S20, although it didn't specify numbers. The company didn't mention pricing, although availability is expected by late-May.

GIGABYTE Announces Updated UD Pro Series High-Endurance SATA SSDs

GIGABYTE today announced the refreshed UD Pro line of high-endurance SATA SSDs. Built in the 2.5-inch form-factor with SATA 6 Gbps interface, the drives come in capacities of 256 GB (GP-UDPRO256G), 512 GB (GP-UDPRO512G), and 1 TB (GP-UDPRO1T). The new drives feature updated 96-layer KIOXIA 3D TLC NAND flash memory, with increased endurance rating across the board. The 1 TB variant offers a staggering 750 TBW endurance (for perspective, the NAS-optimized WD Red SA500 1 TB is rated with 600 TBW); while the 512 GB variant offers 370 TBW; and the 256 GB variant 175 TBW.

All three variants offer sequential transfer speeds of up to 550 MB/s reads, with up to 530 MB/s writes. The 1 TB variant offers up to 98,000 IOPS 4K random reads and up to 89,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The 512 GB model offers 97,000/89,000 IOPS. The 256 GB model offers 98,000/89,000 IOPS. All three drives appear to be using a Phison S10-series controller with fixed 256 MB DRAM cache across all three variants. GIGABYTE is backing these drives with 5-year warranties. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Western Digital Announces WD Purple QD101 Ultra Endurance microSDXC Cards

Western Digital on Tuesday (27/04) announced availability of its WD Purple QD101 line of ultra-endurance microSDXC cards for use as internal storage in surveillance devices, such as smart security cameras. The card implements 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory, is capable of 500 P/E cycles, and 256 TBW for its top of the line 512 GB variant. The card is particularly useful as a failsafe storage device for cameras in case their link to the NVR server is severed, and is rated for 24x7 operation. The card comes in capacities of 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB. The card is now shipping to NVR and smart camera manufacturers.

Kingston Releases Next-Gen KC2500 NVMe PCIe SSD

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, today announced KC2500, its next generation M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD for desktop, workstations and high-performance computing (HPC) systems. KC2500 NVMe PCIe SSD delivers powerful performance using the latest Gen 3.0 x 4 controller and 96-layer 3D TLC NAND. With speeds up to 3,500 MB/s read and up to 2,900 MB/s write, KC2500 combines outstanding performance and endurance that improves workflow for desktop, workstation and power users.

KC2500 is available in capacities up to 2 TB housed in a compact M.2 2280 form factor that saves space for other components while allowing users to take advantage of PCIe speeds. The self-encrypting SSD supports a full-security suite for end-to-end data protection using AES-XTS 256-bit hardware-based encryption. It allows the usage of independent software vendors with TCG Opal 2.0 security management solutions such as Symantec, McAfee, WinMagic and others. KC2500 has built-in Microsoft eDrive support, a security storage specification for use with BitLocker.
Kingston KC2500

Memblaze Launches PBlaze5 920 Series Enterprise NVMe SSDs in AIC and U.2 Form-factors

Beijing Memblaze Technology Co., Ltd. today announced the launch of PBlaze5 920 Series enterprise-class NVMe SSD, which can greatly enhance user experience. PBlaze5 920 Series NVMe SSD adopts 96-layer 3D eTLC NAND with a capacity up to 7.68 TB, and comes in form factors of 2.5-inch U.2 and HHHL add-in card. PBlaze5 920 Series consists of 4 groups of SKU -PBlaze5 D920, PBlaze5 C920, PBlaze5 D926 and PBlaze5 C926.

Memblaze PBlaze5 920 Series NVMe SSD offers up to 5.9 GB/s read bandwidth and 970,000 read IOPS, with read and write latency lowering to 90 μs and 12 μs respectively. With superior performance, perfect data protection, good compatibility, and user experience, as well as abundant enterprise-class features, PBlaze5 920 Series NVMe SSD enables customers to build high-speed, high-reliability, and flexible storage solutions for their mission-critical applications.

Kioxia Corporation Unveils 5th-Generation BiCS FLASH

Kioxia Corporation, the world leader in memory solutions, today announced that it has successfully developed its fifth-generation BiCS FLASH three-dimensional (3D) flash memory with a 112-layer vertically stacked structure. Kioxia plans to start shipping samples of the new device, which has a 512 gigabit (64 gigabytes) capacity with 3-bit-per-cell (triple-level cell, TLC) technology, for specific applications in the first quarter of calendar year 2020. The new device aims to fulfill ever-growing bit demands for a wide variety of applications, including traditional mobile devices, consumer and enterprise SSDs, emerging applications enabled by the new 5G networks, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles.

Going forward, Kioxia will apply its new fifth-generation process technology to larger capacity devices, such as 1 terabit (128 gigabytes) TLC and 1.33 terabit 4-bit-per-cell (quadruple-level cell, QLC) devices.

SK Hynix Inc. Reports Fiscal Year 2019 and Fourth Quarter Results

SK hynix Inc. today announced financial results for its fiscal year 2019 and fourth quarter ended on December 31, 2019. The consolidated revenue of fiscal year 2019 was KRW 26.99 trillion won while the operating profit amounted to 2.71 trillion won, and the net income 2.02 trillion won. Operating margin for the year was 10% and net margin was 7%.

In order to respond to changing market conditions, SK hynix proactively adjusted both investment and output level last year to maximize business management efficiency. However, amid increasing global economic uncertainty, the increase of inventory burden and conservative purchasing policies on the side of the customers led to a slowdown in demand as well as price falls. As a result, the Company's earnings decreased year-over-year (YoY).

Plextor at CES 2020: M9P Plus AIC SSD and its M.2 Twin

Plextor showed off its very recently announced M9P line of premium PCI-Express NVMe SSDs at CES 2020. The M9P Plus comes in both half-height add-in card (AIC) form-factor, and a more conventional M.2-2280 form-factor. In both, it leverages PCI-Express 3.0 x4 along with the NVMe 1.3 protocol. At the heart of these drives is the Marvell 88SS1092 "Eldora Plus" controller that has 8 flash channels. This controller is paired with Kioxia 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash (BiCS 4), and a DDR4 DRAM cache.

With capacities of 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB, the M9P offers sequential reads of up to 3,400 MB/s, with up to 2,200 MB/s writes (up to 1,700 MB/s writes for the 256 GB variant). Endurance (TBW) for the three models are proportionately rated at 160 TB, 320 TB, and 640 TB. The 256 GB variant of the M.2-2280 model is priced at $51, the 512 GB variant at $81, and the 1 TB variant at $135. The AIC equivalents are priced at roughly $15 premiums over these prices, and in addition to the convenience of AIC (easier to swap in a test bench), they feature some RGB LED embellishments.

Samsung at CES 2020: SSD 980 PCIe Gen 4 M.2, SSD T7, and the Gorgeous Odyssey G9 Monitor

It's finally here: a high-end PCI-Express gen 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD by Samsung, made end-to-end by homebrew components. When it releases sometime later this year with a possible technical reveal in Q2, the SSD 980 will be possibly the only client-segment M.2 NVMe PCIe gen 4 SSD to feature MLC (2 bits per cell) NAND flash memory. This also means that the highest capacity on offer is just 1 TB. The company also put out sequential transfer rates: up to 6,500 MB/s reads, with up to 5,000 MB/s writes. The biggest payoffs of MLC would be sustained write performance and endurance (in its capacity class, compared to TLC and QLC).

Next up, is the Portable SSD T7 Touch, a successor to the T5 from 2017. This drive comes in an in-built fingerprint reader, letting you secure its data with your fingerprints. The drive is also a much needed update to the T5, which still uses 64-layer TLC NAND; and possibly uses the latest generation 96-layer V-NAND. The drive is built with an aluminium case that's drop-resistant up to 2 m. A single USB 3.2 connection handles power and data. The drive includes type-C to type-C and type-C to type-A cables, and will be compatible not just with PCs, but also Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets.

Western Digital Unveils WD Blue SN550 M.2 NVMe SSD

Western Digital unveiled the WD Blue SN550 line of M.2 NVMe SSDs. A successor to the WD Blue SN500, the SN550 is updated with a new controller that utilizes PCI-Express 3.0 x4 (compared to just x2 on the SN500). Designed in-house by WD and SanDisk, the controller is based on the same architecture as the one that drives the WD Black SN750, but is DRAM-less, and has fewer flash channels. Speaking of which, WD deployed 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash, and wants the drive to compete in pricing with QLC NAND-based drives such as the Crucial P1. The 250 GB variant is priced at USD $54, the 500 GB variant $65, and the 1 TB variant $99.

All three variants take advantage of the increased PCIe bandwidth to offer sequential read speeds of up to 2,400 MB/s (the SN500 capped out at 1,700 MB/s). Write speeds vary, with the 250 GB variant offering up to 950 MB/s, the 500 GB variant up to 1,750 MB/s, and the 1 TB variant up to 1,950 MB/s. Endurance figures (TBW) of the three variants are rated at 150 TB for the 250 GB variant, 300 TB for the 500 GB variant, and 600 TB for the 1 TB variant. An interesting design choice with these drives is pushing the NAND flash chip and the controller as far apart on the PCB as possible, for less concentration of heat. All three models are backed by 5-year warranties.
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