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Samsung Launches 3rd-Generation "Flashbolt" HBM2E Memory

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced the market launch of 'Flashbolt', its third-generation High Bandwidth Memory 2E (HBM2E). The new 16-gigabyte (GB) HBM2E is uniquely suited to maximize high performance computing (HPC) systems and help system manufacturers to advance their supercomputers, AI-driven data analytics and state-of-the-art graphics systems in a timely manner.

"With the introduction of the highest performing DRAM available today, we are taking a critical step to enhance our role as the leading innovator in the fast-growing premium memory market," said Cheol Choi, executive vice president of Memory Sales & Marketing at Samsung Electronics. "Samsung will continue to deliver on its commitment to bring truly differentiated solutions as we reinforce our edge in the global memory marketplace."

JEDEC Publishes Update to Universal Flash Storage (UFS) Standard

JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, the global leader in the development of standards for the microelectronics industry, today announced the publication of Universal Flash Storage (UFS) version 3.1, JESD220E. In addition, an optional new companion standard, JESD220-3: UFS Host Performance Booster (HPB) Extension, has also been published. Developed for mobile applications and computing systems requiring high performance with low power consumption, UFS 3.1 introduces new features intended to help maximize device performance while minimizing power usage. Both JESD220E and JESD220-3 are available for download from the JEDEC website.

Kioxia, Formerly Toshiba Memory, Makes its CES Debut

One of the big hardware industry changes of 2019 was the formal spin-off of Toshiba Memory as an entirely independent firm called Kioxia. This is big, because Toshiba is regarded as the inventor of NAND flash as we know it; and a pioneering firm with DRAM, NAND flash, and other forms of solid-state storage. Toshiba retains the hard disk business. Having formally begun operations only in Q4-2019, much of Kioxia's upcoming products are in development, but we still caught some of their latest SSDs that implement PCIe gen 4.0 and NVMe 1.4 protocol, besides some former-Toshiba products under new Kioxia branding. Kioxia is planning to make a big splash in the near future as its pioneering Twin BiCS Flash tech hits the market, besides scoring design wins with the automotive and data-center industries.

The CD6 and CM6 SSDs are star-attractions. The CD6 is designed for data-centers, and comes in capacities ranging all the way from 800 GB to 15 TB, with 1 to 3 DWPD endurance. It uses the next-generation U.3 (SFF-TA-1001) connector with PCI-Express 4.0 x4 physical-layer and NVMe 1.4 protocol. Among its security features are SIE, FIPS140-2, and SED Opal/Ruby. The drive is built in the 15 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor. The CM6 is its cousin, targeted at enterprise environments with higher mission-criticality. With capacities ranging from 800 GB to a staggering 30 TB, the drive offers sequential transfer-rates of up to 6,400 MB/s by leveraging PCI-Express 4.0 x4 and NVMe 1.4. Much like the CD6, the CM6 uses the new U.3 connector, and is built in the 15 mm form-factor. Endurance and security feature-set are identical to the CD6. We also spotted the 2+ year old rebranded XD5-series and PM5-series in fresh Kioxia colors. Lastly, there are the XG6 and XG6-P SSDs from 2019 transitioned to the Kioxia brand.

Kioxia Develops New 3D Semicircular Flash Memory Cell Structure "Twin BiCS FLASH"

Kioxia Corporation today announced the development of the world's first three-dimensional (3D) semicircular split-gate flash memory cell structure "Twin BiCS FLASH" using specially designed semicircular Floating Gate (FG) cells. Twin BiCS FLASH achieves superior program slope and a larger program/erase window at a much smaller cell size compared to conventional circular Charge Trap (CT) cells. These attributes make this new cell design a promising candidate to surpass four bits per cell (QLC) for significantly higher memory density and fewer stacking layers. This technology was announced at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) held in San Francisco, CA on December 11th.

3D flash memory technology has achieved high bit density with low cost per bit by increasing the number of cell stacked layers as well as by implementing multilayer stack deposition and high aspect ratio etching. In recent years, as the number of cell layers exceeds 100, managing the trade-offs among etch profile control, size uniformity and productivity is becoming increasingly challenging. To overcome this problem, Kioxia developed a new semicircular cell design by splitting the gate electrode in the conventional circular cell to reduce cell size compared to the conventional circular cell, enabling higher-density memory at a lower number of cell layers.

Kingston Technology Ships 13.3 Million SSDs in 1H 2019

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, today announced it shipped over 13.3 million SSDs in the first half of 2019, according to data compiled by market research firm TrendFocus. The astounding amount places Kingston as the third-largest supplier of SSDs in the world behind semiconductor manufacturers Samsung and Western Digital, showing its strength and position in the market place as the world's leading third-party SSD maker. Kingston's total accounted for a whopping 11.3 percent of the total number of SSDs shipped globally during the first half of the year among all manufacturers.

"TrendFocus' research shows continued growth in total SSD shipments for all categories this year," said Don Jeanette, Vice President, TrendFocus. "Our research finds that client SSDs make up the majority portion of units shipped while NVMe PCIe also saw gains due to demand in hyperscale environments. The storyline for the first half of 2019 is NAND shipments are increasing and pricing has bottomed out, thus driving SSD demand."

Western Digital Announces Sale of IntelliFlash Business and Intention to Exit Storage Systems

Western Digital Corp. today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its IntelliFlash business to DDN, a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and multi-cloud data management. In addition, Western Digital and DDN have agreed to expand their existing partnership through a multi-year strategic sourcing agreement, under which DDN will increase its purchase of Western Digital's HDD and SSD storage devices.

This announcement is part of Western Digital's strategic intention to exit Storage Systems, which consists of the IntelliFlash and ActiveScale businesses. The company is exploring strategic options for ActiveScale. These actions will allow Western Digital to optimize its Data Center Systems portfolio around its core Storage Platforms business, which includes the OpenFlex platform and fabric-attached storage technologies.

"As we look to the future, scaling and accelerating growth opportunities for IntelliFlash and ActiveScale will require additional management focus and investment to ensure long-term success," said Mike Cordano, president and chief operating officer. "By refocusing our Data Center Systems resources on our Storage Platforms business, we are confident that the Western Digital portfolio will be better positioned to capture significant opportunities ahead and drive long-term value creation."

Toshiba Talks About 5-Bit-per-Cell (PLC) Flash Memory

Toshiba at the Flash Memory Summit announced they've managed to develop a 5-Bit-per-Cell memory solution Based on its BiCS 4 flash memory technologies, the feat was achieved using a modified module of Quad-Level Cell (QLC) memory. This shows the technology is not only feasible, but has room for improvement, since an adapted QLC technology will always be inferior to a natively-developed, Penta-Level Cell (PLC) solution.

To achieve this ability to store one extra bit of information per cell (compared to QLC), a new level of voltage refinement is required: the cell has to be able to change its state according to one of 32 voltage states, which, in turn, have to be read out correctly by the flash memory controller. This reduces the cell's performance and endurance (as does any increase in the number of bits per cell), and will require a number of solutions to mitigate and compensate for this reduced performance. However, density has become an increasing concern from manufacturers, hence the continued development of deeper, more variable voltage states that allow for even more information to be stored in the same silicon area. Higher density means cheaper solutions, but density increased in such a way has known trade-offs that have been much talked about ever since the transition from Single-Level Cell (SLC) up to the (nowadays ubiquitous) QLC.

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.

Marvell Announces 88SS1320-series PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD Controllers

Marvell today released the industry's lowest power PCIe Gen4 NVMe solid-state drive (SSD) controller portfolio. Marvell's newest SSD controllers are designed to meet the need for lower power and higher performance in next-generation data centers and edge devices as artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G gain momentum. This breakthrough technology delivers unparalleled performance in an ultra-compact footprint, leveraging the company's complex system-on-chip (SoC) design expertise and groundbreaking storage IP to help data center, notebook, tablet, gaming and edge computing platform architects advance their solutions for the highly distributed data era.

"Marvell's latest family of storage controllers has been architected to optimally address edge computing and data center pain points of power-performance and capacity-performance," said Nigel Alvares, vice president of marketing for the Flash Business Unit at Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. "With today's launch, we're once again demonstrating Marvell's leadership in storage, delivering the industry's first 4-Channel PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD controllers with the industry's lowest power consumption that will help revolutionize SSD solutions for the data economy."

SK Hynix Starts Mass-Producing World's First 128-Layer 4D NAND

SK Hynix Inc. announced today that it has developed and starts mass-producing the world's first 128-Layer 1 Tb (Terabit) TLC (Triple-Level Cell) 4D NAND Flash, only eight months after the Company announced the 96-Layer 4D NAND Flash last year.

The 128-Layer 1 Tb NAND chip offers the industry's highest vertical stacking with more than 360 billion NAND cells, each of which stores 3 bits, per one chip. To achieve this, SK Hynix applied innovative technologies, such as "ultra-homogeneous vertical etching technology," "high-reliability multi-layer thin-film cell formation technology," and ultra-fast low-power circuit design, to its own 4D NAND technology.

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%.

SK Hynix Starts Mass-Producing World's First 128-Layer 4D NAND, Working on 176-Layer NAND

SK hynix Inc. announced today that it has developed and started mass-producing the world's first 128-Layer 1 Tb (Terabit) TLC (Triple-Level Cell) 4D NAND Flash, only eight months after the Company announced the 96-Layer 4D NAND Flash last year.

The 128-Layer 1 Tb NAND chip offers the industry's highest vertical stacking with more than 360 billion NAND cells, each of which stores 3 bits, per one chip. To achieve this, SK hynix applied innovative technologies, such as "ultra-homogeneous vertical etching technology," "high-reliability multi-layer thin-film cell formation technology," and ultra-fast low-power circuit design, to its own 4D NAND technology.

The new product provides the industry's highest density of 1 Tb for TLC NAND Flash. A number of companies including SK hynix have developed 1 Tb QLC (Quad-Level Cell) NAND products, but SK hynix is the first to commercialize the 1 Tb TLC NAND Flash. TLC accounts for more than 85% of the NAND Flash market with excellent performance and reliability.

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.

Intel Receiving $1.3B From Micron for IM Flash Stake

The Intel-Micron divorce in the wake of the former's exit from the joint Im Flash venture has taken some strange turns. However, it seems that Micron is looking to take the entire business out of Intel's hands and keep the manufacturing capacity that was jointly developed and invested in all for themselves, offering Intel anywhere from $1.3B to $1.5B for their stake on the venture - including associated debt of the IMF venture to Intel, which amounts to a cool $1B of that amount. This means that Intel's stake in the venture is being valued at $300 to $500 million.

The only remaining factory that is being operated by both parties is located in Lehi, Utah, and exclusively fabricates 3D XPoint memory, which has only been turned to a consumer and professional product by Intel. The acquisition from Micron means they'll have to fulfill Intel's 3D XPoint orders until 2020, and that they'll be investing on the factory's capacity to produce 2nd generation 3D XPoint for their own product portfolio, as well as post-3D XPoint technologies.

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.

Intel Packs 3D X-Point and QLC NAND Flash Into a Single SSD: Optane H10

Intel today revealed details about Intel Optane memory H10 with solid-state storage - an innovative device that combines the superior responsiveness of Intel Optane technology with the storage capacity of Intel Quad Level Cell (QLC) 3D NAND technology in a single space-saver M.2 form factor. "Intel Optane memory H10 with solid-state storage features the unique combination of Intel Optane technology and Intel QLC 3D NAND - exemplifying our disruptive approach to memory and storage that unleashes the full power of Intel-connected platforms in a way no else can provide," said Rob Crooke, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group.

Combining Intel Optane technology with Intel QLC 3D NAND technology on a single M.2 module enables Intel Optane memory expansion into thin and light notebooks and certain space-constrained desktop form factors - such as all-in-one PCs and mini PCs. The new product also offers a higher level of performance not met by traditional Triple Level Cell (TLC) 3D NAND SSDs today and eliminates the need for a secondary storage device.

Team Group Releases Three New Flash Products

Targeting to expand the capacity of our consumers' storage devices, Team Group today releases three new FLASH products. They are the MP34 M.2 solid state drive with PCIe Gen 3.0 x4 high speed interface and the latest NVMe 1.3 protocol, the ELITE A1 high-speed memory card which is specially made for ANDROID devices and 4K video recording, the C188 high-speed flash drive with elegant design and up to 130 MB/s of read/write speed. These products allow consumers to upgrade their PC or mobile devices at ease.

Today, Team Group releases the M.2 solid state drive MP34 that uses PCIe Gen 3.0 x4 high-speed interface and the latest NVMe 1.3 protocol. Connecting to the built-in controller of the chipset and processor through PCI-e bus provides transfer signal without any lag. The transfer performance is remarkable. The transfer speed of MP34 is up to 3000 MB/s, which is 5 times* higher than the SATA III interface. It supports S.M.A.R.T and has built-in smart algorithm, Wear-Leveling technology and Error Correction Code. In addition to bring the SSD to its maximum performance and prolong the service life, it also supports both Intel and AMD platforms. Whether it is installed on a desktop or a laptop, it will offer consumer the finest and smoothest gaming experience.

Kingston Digital Introduces New High Endurance microSD Cards

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, today introduced its new High Endurance microSD card. The card is especially designed for write-intensive application use such as home security and surveillance cameras, dash cams and body cams.

As write-intensive applications critically depend on a high level of reliability and performance, Kingston's High Endurance microSD card provides durability, high-storage capacity and prolonged endurance to meet the unique recording demands of security cameras and dash cams. The High Endurance microSD card stores up to 20,000 hours of seamless video recording in full 1080p HD to capture a reliable record of what happens whether at home or on the road.

DigiTimes: Micron, Samsung, SK Hynix to See DRAM, Flash Revenue Fall in 1Q19

DigiTimes is reporting that three of the major DRAM and Flash players in the industry - Micron, Samsung and SK Hynix - are expected to drop an astonishing 26% sequentially on 1Q19 and 29% YoY for 1Q19. The combined revenue drop for the three DRAM and Flash semiconductor giants comes in the face of seasonality and decreasing prices, and the decline continues an already negative 4Q18, which saw a decrease of 18% sequentially and 26% from a year earlier.

With memory pricing facing a continuous decline in recent times, clients are taking a pondered approach towards ordering from manufacturers - an expectation of future savings being the main factor for this. Demand, however, is expected to pick up in 2H19, due to increased demand from end customers, following price-cuts from manufacturers and improved specifications on end-products.

Samsung Launches Industry's First 1TB Embedded Universal Flash Storage

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun mass producing the industry's first one-terabyte (TB) embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) 2.1, for use in next-generation mobile applications. Just four years after introducing the first UFS solution, the 128-gigabyte (GB) eUFS, Samsung has passed the much-anticipated terabyte threshold in smartphone storage. Smartphone enthusiasts will soon be able to enjoy storage capacity comparable to a premium notebook PC, without having to pair their phones with additional memory cards.

"The 1 TB eUFS is expected to play a critical role in bringing a more notebook-like user experience to the next generation of mobile devices," said Cheol Choi, executive vice president of Memory Sales & Marketing at Samsung Electronics. "What's more, Samsung is committed to assuring the most reliable supply chain and adequate production quantities to support the timely launches of upcoming flagship smartphones in accelerating growth of the global mobile market."

CES 2019: A Closer Look at Patriot's SSDs, Memory, and Flash Drives

A quick trip to see Patriot at CES 2019 netted us a chance to look over a massive number of products from SSDs and DDR4 memory, to flash drives and Micro SD cards. In general, when it comes to anything memory or storage related they had everything but the kitchen sink on hand. That said, let's start with system memory. To begin with, they had their Signature Line on hand which uses a simple black aluminum heatshield and comes in capacities up to 16 GB per module with speeds up to 2666 MHz. For a single 16 GB stick at 2666 MHz the listed the timings at 19-19-19-43. Next was the new Viper Steel DDR4 SODIMMs with capacity that ranged from 8 GB to 32 GB and feature XMP 2.0 support for automatic overclocking. As for speeds they top out at 3000 MHz for these kits. Next up was the Viper RGB memory which comes in speeds of up to 4133 MHz and with timings listed at 19-21-21-41. They are also compatible with motherboard RGB sync applications and have been tested on the latest Intel and AMD platforms. Last but not least were the Viper Steel kits which top out at 4400 MHz with 19-19-19-39 timings.

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.

Kingston Enhances Award-Winning IronKey D300 Encrypted USB

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, has added new features to its recent Cyber Defense 2018 Global Awards winning IronKey D300 encrypted USB Flash drive to improve device management and security. IronKey D300 is FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified and uses 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption in XTS mode. Shipping next week, a new Serialized version (D300S) with two new features will further enhance the drive's already advanced level of security to safeguard sensitive data.

IronKey D300S will have a unique serial number and bar code on the drive itself, allowing network administrators to simply read or scan the code instead of plugging in the drive. When a drive is deployed, returned or during any physical auditing or asset management of hardware, this feature will make the process more efficient and streamlined. The second feature, a virtual keyboard, enables users to enter a password with clicks of the mouse instead of using a physical keyboard, thereby providing a greater level of protection against any possible keylogging when using D300S on other computers.

Patched NVFlash Allows RTX 20-series FE Cards to be Flashed with Custom BIOS

BIOS modder Vipeax has released a special patched version of NVFlash (version 5.527.0), the utility that allows you to extract and flash the video BIOS of your NVIDIA GeForce graphics card. This special version lets you to bypass NVIDIA restrictions and flash GeForce RTX 20-series Founders Edition (FE) graphics cards with BIOS ROMs of custom-design graphics cards. The official versions of NVFlash that support "Turing" GPUs report a "board ID mismatch" error when trying to do this, and an additional CLI parameter that made it ignore this warning, was removed by NVIDIA, effectively walling off Founders Edition cards from BIOS cross-flashing. You still can't flash the card with a BIOS you modified, because of NVIDIA's digital-signature restriction that has been in place since "Pascal," however, this new change could come handy if you want to flash your FE card with the BIOS of a custom-design card that is largely based on NVIDIA's reference-design PCB.

PC enthusiasts look to flash their Founders Edition cards with BIOS ROMs of custom-design graphics cards by other NVIDIA add-in card partners, mainly to increase power limits that allow the GPU to sustain boost frequencies better, and increase overclocking headroom. As an obligatory word of caution, use of NVFlash isn't covered by product warranties, and you use it at your own risk, especially when cross-flashing between cards that might have subtle differences. We manually checked the modified executable (not just Virustotal) and it doesn't contain any malware.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA NVFlash with Board ID Mismatch Disabled

New NVFlash Released With Turing Support

With the latest release of NVIDIA's NVFlash, version 5.513.0, users can now read and write the BIOS on Turing based graphics cards. This includes the RTX 2080 Ti, 2080, and 2070. While this may seem mundane at first, due to the different power limits between graphics cards, there is some hope that cross flashing of the BIOS could result in tangible performance gains.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA NVFlash v5.513.0
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