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Enterprise SSD Prices Projected to Increase by More Than 10% QoQ in 3Q21 Due to Growing Procurement Capacity, Says TrendForce

Enterprise SSD procurement has been rising on the back of growing server shipments since 2Q21, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In particular, the share of 8 TB products in shipments of SSDs to data centers has shown the most noticeable growth, which is expected to persist through 3Q21. However, certain SSD components and parts may be in shortage due to insufficient foundry capacity. TrendForce is therefore revising the QoQ hikes in contract prices of enterprise SSDs for 3Q21 to 10-15% from the previous projection of 5-10%.

TrendForce further indicates that the high demand for enterprise SSDs in 3Q21 is attributed to several factors. First, North American cloud service providers (hyperscalers) have pretty much completed their inventory adjustments and now continue to expand their storage capacity. Second, the flow of incoming orders to traditional server brands is getting stronger over the quarters as government agencies and SMBs increase their budgets for IT infrastructure. Third, Intel and AMD are ramping up production for server CPUs based on their respective new processor platforms. Following the adoption of new CPUs, the overall demand for enterprise SSDs has also shifted to higher-density products because clients want to upgrade their computing power and storage capacity. Specifically, demand is mainly trending toward 4/8 TB SSDs since raising NAND Flash density can lower the cost of SSD deployment.

Global NAND Flash Revenue for 1Q21 Rises by 5.1% QoQ Thanks to Better-Than-Expected Demand for Notebooks and Smartphones, Says TrendForce

Total NAND Flash revenue for 1Q21 increased by 5.1% QoQ to US$14.82 billion, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In particular, bit shipments rose by 11% QoQ, while the overall ASP dropped by 5% QoQ; hence, bit shipment growth offset the decline in the overall ASP. Although NAND Flash demand from notebook computer and smartphone manufacturers remained high, clients from the data center segment exhibited relatively weak demand, since this segment had yet to leave the state of NAND Flash oversupply. Contract prices for this quarter therefore still mostly showed a considerable QoQ drop. On the other hand, OEMs/ODMs of end products began to increase procurement of NAND Flash products from the second half of January onward because they noticed that the shortage of NAND Flash controller ICs was affecting the production of medium- and low-density storage products. Besides avoiding a possible supply crunch in the future, OEMs/ODMs were placing additional orders because they were preparing for a push to expand market share. On account of these developments, the overall NAND Flash demand surpassed expectations in 1Q21.

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.

DRAM Revenue for 1Q21 Undergoes 8.7% Increase QoQ Thanks to Increased Shipment as Well as Higher Prices, Says TrendForce

Demand for DRAM exceeded expectations in 1Q21 as the proliferation of WFH and distance education resulted in high demand for notebook computers against market headwinds, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Also contributing to the increased DRAM demand was Chinese smartphone brands' ramp-up of component procurement while these companies, including OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi, attempted to seize additional market shares after Huawei's inclusion on the Entity List. Finally, DRAM demand from server manufacturers also saw a gradual recovery. Taken together, these factors led to higher-than-expected shipments from various DRAM suppliers in 1Q21 despite the frequent shortage of such key components as IC and passive components. On the other hand, DRAM prices also entered an upward trajectory in 1Q21 in accordance with TrendForce's previous forecasts. In light of the increases in both shipments and quotes, all DRAM suppliers posted revenue growths in 1Q21, and overall DRAM revenue for the quarter reached US$19.2 billion, an 8.7% growth QoQ.

Demand for PC, mobile, graphics, and special DRAM remains healthy in 2Q21. Furthermore, after two to three quarters of inventory reduction during which their DRAM demand was relatively sluggish, some server manufacturers have now kicked off a new round of procurement as they expect a persistent increase in DRAM prices. TrendForce therefore forecasts a significant QoQ increase in DRAM ASP in 2Q21. In conjunction with increased bit shipment, this price hike will likely drive total DRAM revenue for 2Q21 to increase by more than 20% QoQ.

NAND Flash Contract Prices Projected to Increase by 3-8% QoQ in 2Q21 Due to Easing of Oversupply, Says TrendForce

With Samsung, YMTC, SK Hynix, and Intel leading the charge, NAND Flash suppliers will maintain an aggressive effort to expand their production capacities throughout 2Q21, during which NAND Flash bit output will likely increase by nearly 10% QoQ, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. On the other hand, orders from PC OEMs and Chinese smartphone brands since 1Q21, as well as recovering procurement activities from clients in the data center segment during 2Q21, will generate upward momentum propelling NAND Flash bit demand. Furthermore, buyers are actively stocking up on finished products, such as SSDs and eMMC, due to persistently limited NAND Flash controller supply. TrendForce therefore expects NAND Flash contract prices to increase by an average of 3-8% QoQ in 2Q21 after experiencing a 5-10% decline QoQ in 1Q21. In particular, as Samsung's Line S2 fab in Austin has yet to resume full operation after the Texas winter storm, the supply of NAND Flash controllers going forward may be at risk, and Samsung's ability to manufacture client SSDs will be further constrained as a result. In light of these factors, TrendForce is not ruling out the possibility that NAND Flash contract prices may increase by even more than current forecasts.

Prices of Client SSDs for Notebook Computers to Enter Early Uptrend in 2Q21 with 3-8% Increase QoQ, Says TrendForce

Demand for notebook computers is expected to remain strong throughout 2Q21 due to the persisting stay-at-home economy that arose in the wake of the pandemic, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In response to the high demand for notebooks, PC OEMs are actively raising a consistent inventory of components, including client SSDs. Nonetheless, client SSDs are now in increasingly tight supply because the preexisting shortage of NAND Flash controllers is now exacerbated by the power outage at Samsung's Austin-based semiconductor plant. SSD manufacturers are therefore preparing to raise the prices of SSDs. Accordingly, TrendForce has also revised up its forecast of client SSD prices for 2Q21 from "mostly flat" to a 3-8% increase QoQ instead.

ADATA Explains Changes with XPG SX8200 Pro SSD

ADATA has recently been in a spot of controversy when it comes to their XPG SX8200 Pro solid-state drive (SSD). The company has reportedly shipped many different configurations of the SSD with different drive controller clock speeds and different NAND flash. According to the original report, ADATA has first shipped the SX8200 Pro SSD with Silicon Motion SM2262ENG SSD controller, running at 650 MHz with IMFT 64-layer TLC NAND Flash. However, it was later reported that the SSD was updated to use the Silicon Motion SM2262G SSD controller, clocked at 575 MHz. With this report, many users have gotten concerned and started to question the company's practices. However, ADATA later ensured everyone that performance is within the specifications and there is no need to worry.

Today, we have another report about the ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro SSD. According to a Redditor, ADATA has once again updated its SSD with a different kind of NAND Flash, however, this time the report indicated that performance was impacted. Tom's Hardware has made a table of changes showing as many as five revisions of the SSD, all with different configurations of SSD controllers and NAND Flash memory. We have contacted ADATA to clarify the issues that have emerged, and this is the official response that the company gave us.

NAND Flash Wafer Prices Stabilize Due to High SSD Demand from PC OEMs, Says TrendForce

NAND Flash demand continues to rise as strong sales of notebook (laptop) computers spur PC OEMs to place additional orders for client SSDs, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Also, the supply-side inventory for NAND Flash memory has already fallen considerably due to the aggressive stock-up activities of some smartphone brands. With customers in the data center segment expected to ramp up procurement in 2Q21, NAND Flash suppliers have decided to scale back the supply of NAND Flash wafers. Compared with other product categories, wafers have a lower gross margin. As a result of these factors, the decline in contract prices of wafers has been easing over the past two months (i.e., from December of last year to January of this year).

ADATA Unveils Industrial-grade IEM5141A eMMC

ADATA Technology, a manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, mobile accessories, gaming products, electric power trains, and industrial solutions, today announces the ADATA IEM5141A embedded multi media cards. Ideally suited for industrial and IoT applications, the ADATA IEM5141A meets JEDEC eMMC 5.1 HS400 standard that delivers high read/write speeds of up to 300/170 MB/s,and low-power consumption of optimized performance.

The IEM5141A is a fully integrated device with built-in controllerand NAND Flash for higher capacities, durability, and perfectly suited for space-constrained IPCs and server boot-up applications. Furthermore, the IEM5141A offers Auto sleep on/off mode for low power consumption, Partitioning Management, and Thermal Throttling. It also features wide-temperature operability (-40°C - +85°C) and a 3,000 P/E cycle for excellent stability and reliability.

Prices of NAND Flash Controller ICs Poised to Rise by 15-20% due to Tightening Production Capacity for Foundry Services, Says TrendForce

In the upstream semiconductor industry, the major foundries such as TSMC and UMC are reporting fully loaded capacities, while in the downstream, the available production capacity for OSAT is also lacking, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Given this situation, suppliers of NAND Flash controller ICs such as Phison and Silicon Motion are now unable to meet upside demand from their clients. Not only have many controller IC suppliers temporarily stopped offering quotes for new orders, but they are also even considering raising prices soon because the negotiations between NAND Flash suppliers and module houses over 1Q21 contracts are now at the critical juncture. The potential increases in prices of controller ICs from outsourced suppliers (IC design houses) are currently estimated to be the range of 15-20%.

With regards to the demand side, demand has risen significantly for eMMC solutions with medium- and low-density specifications (i.e., 64 GB and lower), for which NAND Flash suppliers have mostly stopped updating the NAND Flash process technology, while maintaining support with the legacy 2D NAND or the 64L 3D NAND process. This is on account of strong sales for Chromebook devices and TVs. As older processes gradually account for a lowering portion of bit output proportions from NAND Flash suppliers, these companies are exhibiting a lowered willingness to directly supply such eMMC products to clients. As a result, clients now need to turn to memory module houses, which are able to source NAND Flash components and controllers, to procure eMMC products in substantial quantities.

XPG Launches SPECTRIX S20G PCIe Gen3x4 M.2 2280 Solid State Drive

XPG, a fast-growing provider of systems, components, and peripherals for Gamers, Esports Pros, and Tech Enthusiasts, today announces the XPG SPECTRIX S20G PCIe Gen3x4 M.2 2280 solid state drive (SSD). The SPECTRIX S20G is an SSD built with form and performance in mind with its distinct x-shaped RBG lighting and excellent read/write speeds.

The XPG SPECTRIX S20G is a gaming SSD through and through and its styling reflects this. It sports a distinctive and prominent x-shaped RGB design that outshines the competition. The RGB light effects can be customized via software. What's more, a hairline-brushed finish gives the SSD a formidable yet elegant look that will intimidate and impress.

Oversupply to Continue Affecting NAND Flash Prices, with 10-15% QoQ Decline Expected in 1Q21, Says TrendForce

The percentage distribution of 2021 NAND Flash bit demand by application currently shows that client SSD accounts for 31%, enterprise SSD 20%, eMMC/UFS 41%, and NAND wafer 8%, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. TrendForce expects NAND Flash ASP to undergo QoQ declines throughout 2021, since the number of NAND suppliers far exceeds DRAM suppliers, and the bit supply remains high. As Samsung, YMTC, SK Hynix, and Intel actively expand their NAND Flash bit output in 1Q21, the oversupply situation in the industry will become more severe, with a forecasted 6% QoQ increase in NAND Flash bit output and a 10-15% QoQ decline in NAND Flash ASP in 1Q21.

DRAM ASP to Recover from Decline in 1Q21, with Potential for Slight Growth, Says TrendForce

The DRAM market exhibits a healthier and more balanced supply/demand relationship compared with the NAND Flash market because of its oligopolistic structure, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The percentage distribution of DRAM supply bits by application currently shows that PC DRAM accounts for 13%, server DRAM 34%, mobile DRAM 40%, graphics DRAM 5%, and consumer DRAM (or specialty DRAM) 8%. Looking ahead to 1Q21, the DRAM market by then will have gone through an inventory adjustment period of slightly more than two quarters. Memory buyers will also be more willing to stock up because they want to reduce the risk of future price hikes. Therefore, DRAM prices on the whole will be constrained from falling further. The overall ASP of DRAM products is now forecasted to stay generally flat or slightly up for 1Q21.

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.

NAND Flash Revenue for 3Q20 up by Only 0.3% QoQ Owing to Weak Server Sales, Says TrendForce

Total NAND Flash revenue reached US$14.5 billion in 3Q20, a 0.3% increase QoQ, while total NAND Flash bit shipment rose by 9% QoQ, but the ASP fell by 9% QoQ, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. The market situation in 3Q20 can be attributed to the rising demand from the consumer electronics end as well as the recovering smartphone demand before the year-end peak sales season. Notably, in the PC market, the rise of distance education contributed to the growing number and scale of Chromebook tenders, but the increase in the demand for Chromebook devices has not led to a significant increase in NAND Flash consumption because storage capacity is rather limited for this kind of notebook computer. Moreover, clients in the server and data center segments had aggressively stocked up on components and server barebones during 2Q20 due to worries about the impact of the pandemic on the supply chain. Hence, their inventories reached a fairly high level by 3Q20. Clients are now under pressure to control and reduce their inventories during this second half of the year. With them scaling back procurement, the overall NAND Flash demand has also weakened, leading to a downward turn in the contract prices of most NAND Flash products.

KIOXIA Unleashes Next Generation PCIe 4.0 SSDs for High-end Client Applications

KIOXIA America, Inc. (formerly Toshiba Memory America, Inc.) today unveiled the PC OEM focused KIOXIA XG7/XG7-P Series, the company's first PCIe 4.0 client solid-state drive (SSD) series for notebooks, desktops, and workstations with qualification samples currently shipping to customers. Now spanning enterprise, data center, and client segments, KIOXIA's comprehensive PCIe 4.0 SSD portfolio addresses a wide array of applications, optimizing tomorrow's data, service and content-driven world.

Built for demanding PC environments, the XG7/XG7-P Series offers 2x the sequential read speed and approximately 1.6x the sequential write speed of the PCIe Gen3 based XG6 Series1, delivering a high performance, feature-rich storage experience for content creators, gamers and professionals. With leading capacity support up to 4096 gigabytes (GBs), the XG7-P Series SSDs enable power users to take advantage of PCIe Gen4 x4 lane bandwidth and ample storage space. Furthermore, this series deploys an all-new in-house controller vertically integrated with KIOXIA's BiCS FLASH 3D flash memory, ensuring next generation feature support such as the NVMe 1.4 specification and System Management Bus (SMBus) for improved system thermal management through a sideband channel.

Intel Introduces new Security Technologies for 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Platform, Code-named "Ice Lake"

Intel today unveiled the suite of new security features for the upcoming 3rd generation Intel Xeon Scalable platform, code-named "Ice Lake." Intel is doubling down on its Security First Pledge, bringing its pioneering and proven Intel Software Guard Extension (Intel SGX) to the full spectrum of Ice Lake platforms, along with new features that include Intel Total Memory Encryption (Intel TME), Intel Platform Firmware Resilience (Intel PFR) and new cryptographic accelerators to strengthen the platform and improve the overall confidentiality and integrity of data.

Data is a critical asset both in terms of the business value it may yield and the personal information that must be protected, so cybersecurity is a top concern. The security features in Ice Lake enable Intel's customers to develop solutions that help improve their security posture and reduce risks related to privacy and compliance, such as regulated data in financial services and healthcare.

Kingston Releases 128GB Capacity Addition to DataTraveler 2000 Encrypted USB

Kingston Digital Europe Co LLP, the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, today announces the availability of the 128 GB DataTraveler 2000 encrypted USB flash drive. DataTraveler 2000 features an alphanumeric keypad that allows users to lock the drive with a word or number combination for an easy-to-use PIN providing an extra layer of protection. For additional security, an auto-lock feature is activated when the drive is removed from the host device if not properly shut down before ejection.

While lower capacity drives offer their own benefits, larger capacity encrypted drives have become a necessity with the need to transfer higher amounts of sensitive data files as more people work from home," said Oscar Escayola, Flash Business Manager, Kingston EMEA. "The 128 GB DT2000 joins Kingston's full line of high-capacity encrypted drives providing security options for consumers all the way up to military-grade."

Samsung and SK Hynix to Impose Sanctions Against Huawei

Ever since the Trump administration imposed sanctions against Huawei to stop it from purchasing parts from third-party vendors to bypass the ban announced back in May, some vendors continued to supply the company. So it seems like some Korean manufacturers will be joining the doings of the US government, and apply restrictions to Huawei. According to the reports of South Korean media outlets, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix will be joining the efforts of the US government and the Trump administration to impose sanctions against Chinese technology giant - Huawei.

It is reported that on September 15th, both Samsung and SK Hynix will stop any shipments to Huawei, where Samsung already stopped efforts for creating any new shipments. SK Hynix is said to continue shipping DRAM and NAND Flash products until September 14th, a day before the new sanctions are applied. Until the 14th, Huawei will receive some additional chips from SK Hynix. And it is exactly SK Hynix who is said to be a big loser here. It is estimated that 41.2% of SK Hynix's H1 2020 revenue came from China, most of which was memory purchased for Huawei phones and tablets. If the company loses Huawei as a customer, it would mean that the revenue numbers will be notably lower.

NAND Flash Revenue Rises 6.5% QoQ in 2Q20 Due to Pandemic-Induced Demand Growth for Cloud Services, Says TrendForce

The NAND Flash industry benefitted from strong demand for PCs and servers in 2Q20 as the COVID-19 pandemic caused a demand surge for cloud services and technologies that are related to working from home, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. This, in turn, kept demand high for SSDs. However, the smartphone and consumer electronics markets had not recovered from the impact of the pandemic. The demand for these products therefore declined compared to the previous quarter. In 2Q20, total NAND Flash bit shipment and ASP both experienced a minor increase of about 3% QoQ, while NAND Flash revenue reached US$14.5 billion, a 6.5% increase QoQ.

Winbond Introduces new Sequential Read Function in High-Speed QspiNAND Flash

Winbond Electronics Corporation, a leading global supplier of semiconductor memory solutions, today extended its record of leading the industry's innovation in specialty Flash memory with the introduction of a more flexible, high-speed read capability in its latest QspiNAND Flash products. Automotive and IoT device manufacturers are increasingly adopting high-performance Single-Level Cell (SLC) NAND Flash as a low-cost alternative at densities of 512 Mbits and higher to the NOR Flash traditionally used for code storage. Previous Winbond innovations in high-performance NAND Flash include the Quad SPI-NAND interface, which shares the same 6-pin signals and QSPI command set as Quad SPI-NOR, and the Continuous Read function, which achieves up to a 52 MB/s continuous data transfer rate at a 104 MHz clock frequency.

Sabrent Launches World's First 8 Terabyte M.2 NVMe SSD

Sabrent, a company focused on making storage devices and PC accessories, today announced the release of the world's first 8 terabyte NVMe SSD delivered in the M.2 form factor. The new SSD dubbed Rocket Q 8 TB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD is a real treat for all SSD enthusiasts. Besides its staggering capacity, it has plenty of features as well. Built on top of 3D QLC NAND Flash memory chips, the Rocket Q SSD is supposed to deliver very high speeds on PCIe 3.0 x4 bus. With up to 3.4 GB/sec reads, and up to 3 GB/sec writes, the SSD is pushing the limits of the PCIe 3.0 x4 bus that it is designed to work for.

Rocking a Phison's E12S controller, it is supposed to maintain high speeds even on random 4K reads and writes. The company didn't reveal too many details about the performance, however, we can wait for some reviews. The SSD is PCIe 3.1 Compliant, NVMe 1.3 Compliant, and supports SMART and TRIM commands. With a purchase of this SSD, you get a free copy of Sabrent Acronis True Image for Sabrent Software for easy cloning. Pricing and availability are unknown.
Sabrent Rocket Q 8 TB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD Sabrent Rocket Q 8 TB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD

Intel Ready with 144-layer 3D NAND On its Own, Talks 4-layer 3DXP, "Alder Stream" and "Keystone Harbor"

Intel's memory and storage products division now has a completely independent NAND flash technology development team post its split with Micron Technology, with which it was part of the IMFlash Technologies joint-venture. Intel is close to gaining a technological lead over Micron with a new 144-layer 3D NAND flash chip which will ship roughly around the time Micron begins pushing out its 128-layer 3D NAND chips. SK Hynix will begin shipping its 128-layer 3D NAND flash chips later this year. KIOXIA will put out 112-layer chips before the turn of the year. YMTC is developing its portfolio at a breakneck pace.

The 144-layer 3D NAND flash chip by Intel can handle up to four bits per cell (QLC), and can be configured to function as TLC or SLC, at lower densities. Intel will launch its first SSD based on this 144-layer QLC NAND flash chip, codenamed "Keystone Harbor," later this year. Development is underway at Intel for PLC (5 bits per cell) technology, which should drive up densities by 25 percent. Intel is also close to launching its second generation 3D X-point memory technology.

YMTC to Supply NAND Flash Chips to Lexar

Mainland Chinese semiconductor firm Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC), has reportedly struck a NAND flash memory chip supply deal with popular solid-state storage products brand Lexar, which specializes in SSDs, memory cards, and USB flash drives; and more importantly, enjoys a prominent market presence in the West. Micron Technology had, in 2017, sold the Lexar brand to Longsys, a Chinese electronics conglomerate. YMTC's first products sold to Lexar will be a 512 Gbit 128-layer 3D QLC NAND flash memory chip for Lexar's nCard line of microSDXC cards, which ships in 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB densities, offering transfer speeds of up to 90 MB/s reads, with up to 70 MB/s writes.

Samsung Begins Mass-production of 512GB eUFS 3.1 Storage for Flagship Smartphones

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun mass producing the industry's first 512-gigabyte (GB) eUFS (embedded Universal Flash Storage) 3.1 for use in flagship smartphones. Delivering three times the write speed of the previous 512 GB eUFS 3.0 mobile memory, Samsung's new eUFS 3.1 breaks the 1 GB/s performance threshold in smartphone storage.

"With our introduction of the fastest mobile storage, smartphone users will no longer have to worry about the bottleneck they face with conventional storage cards," said Cheol Choi, executive vice president of Memory Sales & Marketing at Samsung Electronics. "The new eUFS 3.1 reflects our continuing commitment to supporting the rapidly increasing demands from global smartphone makers this year."
Samsung eUFS 3.1 512GB
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