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KIOXIA PCIe 4.0 Enterprise NVMe SSDs Take Storage Performance to New Heights

KIOXIA America, Inc. (formerly Toshiba Memory America, Inc.), the U.S.-based subsidiary of KIOXIA Corporation, today announced that its lineup of PCIe 4.0 NVMeTM enterprise solid state drives (SSDs) has achieved PCI-SIG compliance for PCIe 4.0 and University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) certification. KIOXIA's CM6 Series successfully passed interoperability tests at the August 2019 PCI-SIG Compliance Workshop - the first workshop to include official PCIe 4.0 specification tests. KIOXIA America will be on hand at Supercomputing 2019 later this month to showcase new levels of flash performance enabled by its CM6 Series SSDs.

The first company to publicly demonstrate PCIe 4.0 SSDs, KIOXIA has established itself as a leader in developing PCIe 4.0 NVM Express SSDs and continues to push the limits of flash storage performance. The CM6 Series brings planned performance improvements of 3x over its PCIe 3.0 predecessors and is 12x faster than SATA drives. KIOXIA's lineup of Gen4 PCIe SSDs also includes the CD6 Series, which is targeted to cloud and scale-out environments.

Crucial Intros 2 TB Version of its BX500 Series SATA SSD

Crucial has started shipping a 2 TB version of its famous, budget/minded BX500 Series of SATA SSDs. As pricing on NAND density has come down, it makes sense that budget solutions start to increase their capacities as well, since there is no longer a premium on new, advanced technologies. The Crucial BX500 2 TB model features the same 3D TLC NAND as the other capacities in Crucial's portfolio: 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory mated to an SMI SM2258XT DRAM-less controller.

Since it maintains the communication protocol (SATA), and the hardware is virtually unchanged except for higher densities, don't expect improved performance: the 2 TB drive is still rated for up to 540 MB/s reads and up to 500 MB/s writes. Pricing is set at $214 (or €241) for the 2 TB model, which means price per GB stands at roughly $0.10.

WD Introduces Storage Optimized for Public Safety, AI and Smart City Deployments

Western Digital Corp., today addressed head-on the need to optimize storage for video and AI analytics at the network edge. The increased use of smart cameras and ever-rising video resolutions are driving the requirement for on-camera storage. Western Digital introduced the WD Purple SC QD101 Ultra Endurance microSD card designed specifically for equipment makers, resellers and installers in the mainstream security camera market. In addition, the company announced a compelling new addition to the hard disk drive portfolio, WD Purple 14 TB HDD for surveillance, which is compatible with wide range of security systems.

According to IHS Markit Technology, global professional video surveillance camera shipments are expected to grow from 140 million to 224 million between 2018 and 2023, and those with onboard storage are expected to grow by an average of approximately 17 percent per year. 4K-compliant cameras are expected to grow from 3.6 percent of all network cameras shipped in 2018 to over 24 percent by 2023, and the up to 5.7X increase in bits generated by 4K vs.1080p video illustrates a fast-growing demand for more storage.

Intel Shares New Roadmap for Optane, NAND, Including 144 Layer QLC and TLC

Intel today at a press event in South Korea announced their plans for future product launches in the memory spaces. Optane is the name of the carriage Intel is pulling here - there's no novelty about that - and the company will be pushing a second generation release of Optane enterprise SSDs and Optane DC Persistent Memory modules. Most interesting for us down-to-earth PC enthusiasts, though - the market launch of 144 Layer QLC NAND in 2020, which should bring even lower pricing to NAND-based devices. Later, the company also plans to launch 144 layer TLC NAND solutions.

The new Optane modules apparently make use of first-generation 3D XPoint memory still - the love child of the now defunct Intel-Micron partnership. Intel's new Optane DC Persistent Memory products will materialize in codename Barlow Pass modules, with a release window around the likes of Cooper Lake (14nm) and Ice Lake (10nm) server processors scheduled for 2020. It seems that Intel's only consumer solution based in Optane - the Optane Memory H10 two-in-one SSD - is a lonely child effort which won't be joined by the previously-planned Optane Memory M15 (a dedicated cache drive for systems with mechanical-based storage, which are already on their way out) and Optane SSD 815P (which would only offer 118 GB of storage, clearly too little for current data storing trends in the overall market.

Western Digital Launches Two New Families of UltraStar NVMe SSDs

Western Digital today announced two new 96-layer 3D flash NVMe SSD families, the Ultrastar DC SN640 and Ultrastar DC SN340. Both are purpose-built for either mixed-use-case workloads or very read-intensive applications, respectively. The new Ultrastar drives help meet the evolving, and increasingly specific workload demands placed on data centers today, while building a strong, flexible foundation for the zettabyte-scale era of the future. Leveraging Western Digital's in-house SSD controller designs, firmware development and vertical integration, these new solutions underscore the company's strengths in developing innovations that allow customers' data to thrive, from edge to core to cloud.

NVMe is having a great impact on enterprises and what they can do with data, particularly for real-time analytics, M2M and IoT, and emerging technologies like composable infrastructure. Data center customers understand the nature of their data streams and application workloads and are realizing that today's general-purpose architectures are inefficient and can carry resource and cost overhead.

SK Hynix Reports Second Quarter 2019 Results

SK hynix Inc. today announced financial results for its second quarter 2019 ended on June 30, 2019. The consolidated second quarter revenue was 6.45 trillion won while the operating profit amounted to 638 billion won and the net income 537 billion won. Operating margin for the quarter was 10% and net margin was 8%.

As demand recovery did not meet expectations and price declines were steeper than expected, the revenue and the operating profit in the second quarter fell by 5% and 53%, respectively, quarter-over-quarter (QoQ). DRAM bit shipments increased by 13% QoQ as the Company actively responded to the mobile and PC DRAM markets, where demand growth was relatively high. However, DRAM prices remained weak and the average selling price dropped by 24%. For NAND Flash, the bit shipments increased by 40% QoQ because of demand recovery due to price declines, while the average selling price decreased by 25%.

Sabrent Intros Rocket PCIe 4.0 NVMe 1TB SSD at $230

American flash memory products manufacturer Sabrent announced a client-segment M.2 NVMe SSD that takes advantage of PCIe gen 4.0, the Rocket NVMe 4.0 series. Based on the same Phison PS5016-E16 controller as most PCIe gen 4.0 SSDs launched so far, the drive uses 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash by Toshiba. It also appears to have higher on-paper performance numbers than most drives from other brands that use the same combination of controller and NAND flash, with up to 5,000 MB/s sequential reads, and up to 4,400 MB/s sequential writes, on both its 1 TB and 2 TB variants. The company didn't bother with a sub-terabyte variant. The 1 TB variant is priced at USD $229.99 ($0.23 per GB), and the 2 TB variant at $429.99 ($0.21 per GB).

SK hynix Launches World-Class Low-Power NVMe Enterprise SSD

SK hynix Inc. announced today that it launched a new low-power Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) Enterprise SSD (eSSD) with the 72-layer TLC 3D NAND flash that offers best-in-class performance for power as well as Quality of Service. The product features an in-house NVMe controller on top of the 72-layer 3D NAND technology currently in mass production. With the launch, SK hynix has established itself as a memory producer that designs, develops, and mass-produces all key components, from NAND and DRAM to controllers, in-house, for not only Client but also Enterprise applications.

Meanwhile, power consumption of datacenters is an increasingly important concern in terms of energy and environmental preservation, as their footprint grows amid rising enterprise demand for cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML). As datacenters are expected to account for one-fifth of the world's energy consumption in 2025, low-power components that enable datacenter energy efficiency are expected to only grow in importance.

NAND Manufacturers Accelerate Deployment of 120/128 Layer 3D NAND Fabrication

A report from DigiTimes pits NAND manufacturers as accelerating their 120/128 layer 3D NAND technologies, aiming for volume production as early as 2020. Even as SK Hynix has begun sampling its 96-layer 4D NAND flash in March, Toshiba and Western Digital already had plans to introduce 128-layer technology, built on a TLC (Triple Level Cell) process technology so as to increase density while avoiding yield issues present with current QLC (Quad Level Cell) implementations.

The decision to accelerate deployment of the next generation of NAND comes from the fact that the market still faces an oversupply of NAND flash, mostly driven by the mature process of 64-layer NAND technology. With new technologies, higher ASPs and lower production scales are sustainable, which should enable supply to reduce enough so as to increase pricing of NAND-based technologies - and allow manufacturers to somewhat reset asking prices for new NAND chips.

GALAX HOF E16 is a Monstrous M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD Dressed in White

With AMD "Valhalla" desktop platform mainstreaming PCI-Express gen 4.0, several SSD manufacturers put out their first products that can take advantage of it, this Computex. The drive with the highest on-paper transfer rates has to be the HOF E16 from GALAX, which will also be sold under the Galaxy and KFA2 brands in various markets. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, the drive features an M.2 PCI-Express 4.0 x4 host interface (backwards-compatible with older PCIe generations), with 64 Gbps of interface bandwidth on tap. The drive comes in capacities of 1 TB, 2 TB, and segment-first 4 TB.

The HOF E16 uses the same heatsink GALAX deployed on the older generation of HOF M.2. A block of aluminium pulls heat from the drive's controller, while a flattened copper heat-pipe spreads heat across. The drive is based on the new Phison E16 controller that's cushioned by an LPDDR4 DRAM chip, and wired to 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory. The drive offers sequential read speeds of up to 4,800 MB/s, and sequential writes of up to 4,000 MB/s. 4K random reads are rated at up to 750,000 IOPS, and 4K random writes up to 700,000 IOPS.

Toshiba Launches XG6-P NVMe SSD Series

Toshiba today announced the XG6-P solid state drive (SSD) series, a derivative of its NVMe M.2-based XG6 Series featuring class-leading write performance. Offering up to 2,048 gigabytes (GB) of capacity, XG6-P SSDs are ideal for high-end workstation PCs and gaming systems, as well as cost-optimized data center and composable infrastructures. With over 30 percent higher sequential and random write speeds and over 15 percent higher random read speeds than its predecessor, the XG6-P Series enables enhanced application performance and data access.

ADATA Unveils its M.2 PCIe Gen4 SSD: Ready for AMD X570

It looks like SSDs will beat graphics cards to utilizing (and benefiting) from the bandwidth of PCI-Express gen 4.0 bus. AMD X570 platform motherboards offer 2-3 M.2 slots with PCIe gen 4.0 x4 wiring (64 Gbps). Corsair formally launched the MP600, and now ADATA joins the party with its unnamed drive. Based on the Silicon Motion SM2267 controller, the drive comes in an unbelievable capacity of up to 8 TB, probably using 96-layer QLC NAND flash.

The controller features DRAM cache, and dynamic SLC caching (all of the NAND flash is treated as SLC until storage demands force portions of them to be treated as MLC, TLC, and eventually QLC). It takes advantage of NVMe 1.3 protocol. As for performance, ADATA claims sequential speeds of up to 4000 MB/s reads. Such speeds were impossible of PCIe gen 3.0 x4 due to various overheads. Sequential writes are still up to 3000 MB/s. 4K random read/write access is rated at 400k IOPS. The company didn't reveal availability details.

Kingston Introduces Next-Gen KC2000 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 KC2000, its next generation M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD for enterprise and power users. Kingston's KC2000 NVMe PCIe SSD delivers powerful performance using the latest Gen 3.0 x 4 controller and 96-layer 3D TLC NAND. Offering superior read and write speeds up to 3,200 and 2,200MB/s, respectively, KC2000 delivers outstanding performance and endurance, and improves workflow in desktop, workstations and high-performance computing (HPC) systems.

KC2000 is a self-encrypting drive that supports end-to-end data protection using 256-bit AES 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. KC2000 also has built-in Microsoft eDrive support, a security storage specification for use with BitLocker.

Toshiba and Western Digital to Jointly Invest in Flash Manufacturing Facility in Kitakami, Japan

Toshiba Memory Corporation and Western Digital Corp. have finalized a formal agreement to jointly invest in the "K1" manufacturing facility that Toshiba Memory is currently constructing in Kitakami, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. The K1 facility will produce 3D flash memory to support growing demand for storage in applications such as data centers, smartphones and autonomous cars. Construction of the K1 facility is expected to be completed in the fall of calendar 2019. The companies' joint capital investments in equipment for the K1 facility will enable initial production output of 96-layer 3D flash memory beginning in calendar 2020, with meaningful output expected to begin later in the year.

Toshiba Memory and Western Digital will continue to cultivate and extend their leadership in their respective memory businesses by actively developing initiatives aimed at strengthening technology competitiveness, advancing joint development of 3D flash memory, and making capital investments according to market trends.

SK Hynix Begins Sampling 96-layer 4D QLC NAND Flash Memory

SK Hynix Inc., announced today that it has delivered samples of new 1Tb (Terabit) QLC (Quadruple Level Cell) product to major SSD (Solid State Drive) Controller companies. The Company applied its own QLC technology to its world's first 96-Layer "CTF (Charge Trap Flash) based 4D (Four-Dimensional) NAND Flash (or 4D NAND)." SK Hynix intends to expand its NAND portfolio to 96-layer-based 1Tb QLC products in time for the QLC market opening and strengthen its responsiveness to the next-generation high-density memory market.

QLC stores four bits of data in one NAND cell, allowing higher density compared to TLC (Triple Level Cell) that stores three bits per cell. Using QLC, it is possible to develop high-density products with cost competitiveness. SK Hynix is able to secure the industry's top-level cost competitiveness through this product, which has reduced the area to less than 90% of the existing 3D-based QLC products.

Micron Introduces New Client SSD To Accelerate Mobile Computing

Micron Technology, Inc. today added a new cost-efficient solid-state drive (SSD) to its client computing portfolio. The Micron 1300 SSD makes flash storage accessible to more users, enabling its adoption in a broader set of personal computing devices for a better mobile computing experience. Consumers who are eager to move from rotating media to solid state drives value fast performance, quick startup, and reliability - whether for desktop, mobile or workstation PCs. SSDs address these needs better than power-hungry hard disk drives (HDDs), yet their higher prices have kept users from shifting to SSDs. Micron redesigned the 1300 SSD series to close the price gap.

"The deployment of advanced 3D NAND technologies has led the client SSD market to branch into value and higher-performance storage segments," said Gregory Wong, president of Forward Insights. "Micron's latest client SSD solutions provide a coherent migration path from HDD to value-oriented SSDs."

Crucial Intros 960GB Variant of BX500 SSD

Crucial late Thursday rolled out a 960 GB variant of its entry-level BX500 SATA SSD series (model: CT960BX500SSD1). The BX500 earlier came in capacities only up to 480 GB. The drive implements Micron's latest 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory mated to an SMI SM2258XT DRAM-less controller. Its rated performance is same as the 480 GB model, with up to 540 MB/s reads and up to 500 MB/s writes. Built in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor, the drive takes advantage of the SATA 6 Gbps interface. The drive is now selling for USD $129.99 ($0.13 per GB).

2019 the Year of 1TB SSDs: Prices Fall by 50%

1-Terabyte SSDs could become a new mainstream-desktop must-have in 2019, as prices of the drives have fallen by 50 percent year-over-year, according to DigiTimes. A 1 TB SATA SSD in the 2.5-inch form-factor can now be had for as little as $99, while faster NVMe drives in the M.2 form-factor start around $130. At the beginning of 2018, 1 TB SATA SSDs used to start around the $160-mark, and NVMe drives north of $200. The 1 TB category includes 960 GB, 1000 GB, and 1024 GB marketed capacities with varying amounts of overprovisioning set by manufacturers.

Falling SSD prices are accelerated by the entry of cost-effective 96-layer 3D NAND flash, higher-density QLC NAND flash, undigested inventories of drives based on older technologies such as 64-layer or TLC NAND flash; and a 15 percent sequential quarterly drop in NAND flash prices in the industry. Growth in speeds of client-segment SSDs have remained largely flat over the year, and not much is to be expected in performance growth other than perhaps the advent of PCIe gen 4.0 based enterprise SSDs towards the end of the year.

Toshiba Unveils Industry's First UFS Ver. 3.0 Embedded Flash Memory Devices

Toshiba Memory Corporation, the world leader in memory solutions, has started sampling[1] the industry's first Universal Flash Storage (UFS) Ver. 3.0 embedded flash memory devices. The new line-up utilizes the company's cutting-edge, 96-layer BiCS FLASH 3D flash memory and is available in three capacities: 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. With high-speed read/write performance and low power consumption, the new devices are suitable for applications such as mobile devices, smartphones, tablets, and augmented/virtual reality systems.

The new devices integrate 96-layer BiCS FLASH 3D flash memory and a controller in a JEDEC-standard 11.5 x 13.0 mm package. The controller performs error correction, wear leveling, logical-to-physical address translation and bad-block management for simplified system development.

PLEXTOR Debuts Next-Gen Consumer SSDs at CES 2019

PLEXTOR, a leading developer of award-winning solid-state drives (SSDs) and other high-performance digital storage devices, today announced the introduction of its latest line of PCIe and SATA SSDs at this year's CES.

The new M10Pe PCIe SSD Series offers a new level of speed and performance targeted for all PC gamers and applications intensive users. The new series combines advanced 96-layer 3D NAND flash and industry leading controller to deliver awesome sequential read/write speeds up to 3,200/2,500 MB/s and random read/write speeds up to 410,000/320,000 IOPS.

Toshiba Shows Off 96-Layer BiCS FLASH Alongside Plethora of Enterprise SSDs at CES 2019

During our visit with Toshiba at CES 2019, we were shown not only new technologies that they will be rapidly deploying but a large number of SSDs for various market segments. The biggest draw was their 96-layer BiCS Flash with 4-bit-per-cell quadruple-level cell (QLC) technology. Toshiba is now pushing the boundary for capacity as a single chip device can reach 1.33 Tb (Terabits) while a single package device with 16-dies stacked architecture can reach 2.66 TB. That said, they are already sampling their 1 TB NVMe single package BG4 series SSDs to PC OEM customers in limited quantities.

These latest drives with their new BiCS FLASH technology incorporate everything into a tiny SSD that offers class-leading storage with sequential read performance reaching up to 2250 MB/s. Random read performance can also hit exceptional levels reaching up to 380,000 IOPS. For now, these BG4 based drives are targeted at ultra-thin PC notebooks, IoT embedded systems and will be made available in four capacities including; 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and finally 1 TB. To meet expected demand, Toshiba will also be opening a facility in Japan dedicated to this latest technology in order to bring even higher capacities per NAND module.

Toshiba Memory Unveils 1TB Single Package PCIe Gen3 x4 SSD with 96-Layer 3D Flash

Toshiba Memory Corporation, the world leader in memory solutions, today announced the BG4 series, a new line-up of single package NVMe SSDs with capacities up to 1,024 GB, which places both innovative 96-layer 3D flash memory and an all-new controller into one package to deliver best-in-class read performance. The BG4 series is currently sampling to PC OEM customers in limited quantities, with general sample availability expected later in the second calendar quarter of 2019.

This new series of single package SSDs, featuring PCIe Gen 3.0 x4 lanes, offers sequential read performance up to 2,250 MB/s, and with improved flash management delivers industry-leading random read performance up to 380,000 IOPS. The BG4 single package SSDs are suitable for compact and performance-oriented systems, such as ultra-thin PC notebooks, IoT embedded systems and server boot in data centers.

SK Hynix Launches World's First 'CTF-based 4D NAND Flash' (96-Layer 512Gb TLC)

SK Hynix today launched the world's first 96-Layer 512Gb CTF (Charge Trap Flash) based 4D NAND flash. Don't let the name trick you - it's still based on 3D TLC technology, but SK Hynix has gone and added a 4th dimension due to its pairing of charge trap flash technology in conjunction with PUC (Peri. Under Cell technology.

SK Hynix says that their approach is (obviously) better than the industry-wide 3D Floating Gate approach. The 4D NAND chip design results in a reduction of more than 30% in chip size, and increases bit productivity per wafer by 49% compared to the Company's 72-Layer 512Gb 3D NAND. Moreover, the product has 30% higher write and 25% higher read performance. Also, its data bandwidth is doubled to an industry-leading (in size) 64KB. Data I/O (Input Output) speed reaches 1,200Mbps (Megabits/sec) at 1.2 V.

Samsung Cuts CAPEX by a Quarter, Calls it an "End of the Chip Boom"

Samsung Electronics Wednesday slashed its capital expenditure (capex) by a quarter, which could significantly reduce its NAND flash chip output, and raise NAND flash prices back to profitability for the company, although not anytime soon. This could herald a rise in SSD prices around this time next year, although they partly contradict analyses that predict further slides in NAND flash prices through 2019, as the advent of 96-layer 3D QLC NAND flash by every major player would add to swelling inventories in the market. If you'll recall, Samsung reportedly desires DRAM prices to remain high and establish current high DRAM prices as a new normal. The company went as far as to further reduce its DRAM output, just so supplies of DRAM in the market remain low. The company remarked that acceleration in NAND flash price-drops signifies an end of the "boom" in NAND flash chip demand that fueled growth over the past two years, as justification to its capex cuts.

NAND Flash Prices May See Further Drops in 2019, DRAM to Remain Flat

Solid-state drives are cheaper than ever, thanks to systematic decline in NAND flash prices owing both to oversupply and increases in densities. NAND flash prices have already declined by 50 percent over 2018, according to a DigiTimes report, and will continue to slide through 2019. ADATA chairman Simon Chen commented that NAND flash makers haven't slowed down capacity expansions, and 2019 could witness an even bigger drop in prices than 2018.

Major NAND flash makers such as IMFlash Technology, SK Hynix, Samsung, Western Digital, Toshiba, have already taped out their 96-layer 3D NAND flash products, which could enter volume production in the first half of 2019. This could impact prices of existing swelling inventories of products based on 64-layer NAND flash. In theory, the 96-layer chips introduce 50 percent increases in densities. Adoption of newer technologies such as QLC (4 bits per cell) will expand densities even further. The same report also projects that DRAM prices could largely remain flat throughout 2019. Most NAND flash makers also happen to make DRAM, and could balance their NAND flash losses with DRAM profits.
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