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Mushkin Triactor 3DX and 3DL SATA SSDs Detailed

Mushkin updated its Triactor line of mainstream SATA SSDs with the new Triactor 3DX and 3DL. The "3D" symbolizes 3D NAND flash, in this case, 3D TLC NAND flash, mated to a Silicon Motion SM2258 controller. The drive comes in sizes of 120 GB, 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB. It offers sequential transfer rates of up to 565 MB/s reads, with up to 530 MB/s writes, and 4K random access performance of up to 100,000/91,000 IOPS (read/write). The Triactor 3DX is built in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor, while the Triactor 3DL is built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, with SATA 6 Gbps interface.

ADATA Shows Off XPG SX8200 and IM2P33F8 M.2 NVMe 1.3 SSDs

ADATA showed off its latest M.2 NVMe SSDs that support the latest NVMe 1.3 specification, and are based on some of the newer generation controllers, beginning with the XPG SX8200. This drive combines Silicon Motion SM2262 controller with 3D TLC NAND flash memory, and comes in capacities of 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB. The drive offers sequential transfer rates of up to 3200 MB/s reads, with up to 1700 MB/s writes; and features SLC caching, an LPDC ECC engine, and an internal RAID engine.

The ADATA XPG SX8200 is designed to succeed the XPG SX8000, which is second-fiddle to the company's fastest XPG SX9000-series, and competes with the likes of Samsung 960 EVO series. The ADATA IM2P33F8 implements Silicon Motion SM2263XT controller, which is DRAM-less and has just four flash channels. The drive offers sequential speeds of up to 2400 MB/s reads, with up to 1700 MB/s writes; and comes in capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB.

HyperX Savage EXO External SSD Pictured

Kingston showed off its HyperX Savage EXO external SSD, targeted at notebook gamers, and game console users, so you could easily swap out game install folders of multiple games on the fly. Built in a compact, yet rugged polycarbonate chassis, the drive comes in capacities of 480 GB and 960 GB, implementing 3D TLC NAND flash memory. The drive takes advantage of USB 3.1 gen 2 (10 Gbps) interface, offering sequential transfer rates of up to 490 MB/s reads, and up to 480 MB/s writes (something not possible with USB 3.1 gen 1, due to interface overhead). Both type-A and type-C cables come included with the drive, a single cable handles both power and host-connectivity.

Toshiba Unveils RC100 Series M.2 NVMe SSDs

Toshiba Memory America, Inc. (TMA), the U.S.-based subsidiary of Toshiba Memory Corporation, will be highlighting the use of its industry-leading BiCS FLASH 3D memory in several applications - including its new lineup of NVMe SSDs, the RC100 Series.

At CES, TMA is collaborating with its customers and technology partners to take on the future - together. Toshiba was the first company in the world[1] to announce 3D flash memory technology, which effectively addresses the processing, storage and management of the growing volume of data generated worldwide. Recent announcements see the company continuing to lead the industry forward, including the introduction of a 96-layer 512Gb die; the debut of the industry's first[2] flash memory device with quadruple-level cell (QLC) technology; and the addition of Through Silicon Via (TSV) technology. Already enabling the enterprise, data center, PC and mobile applications of today, TMA's BiCS FLASH has paved the way for the applications of tomorrow. In everything from artificial intelligence and virtual reality to a growing number of automotive applications (such as infotainment), high performance computing and the ever-expanding "internet of things," storage density needs will climb higher and higher - and BiCS FLASH was designed with this in mind.

SilverStone Intros TP02-M2 Heatsink for M.2 SSDs

SilverStone rolled out the TP02-M2, a heatsink for 80 mm-long M.2 SSDs (M.2-2280). This chunky aluminium heatsink is 1 cm tall, and weighs a little over 16 g. In addition to a 3 g-ish adhesive thermal pad, it would have added close to 20 g of weight onto the various soldered components of your drive; but SilverStone is clever enough to include two silicone bands that strap the heatsink onto the drive, offloading some of that weight. The heatsink was tested by its designers to significantly lower temperatures of NAND flash chips and controllers, which pose performance penalties on faster NVMe SSDs. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Toshiba Unveils Embedded NAND Flash Memory Products for Automotive Applications

Toshiba Memory Corporation, the world leader in memory solutions, today announced that it has begun shipping samples of embedded NAND flash memory products for automotive applications that are compliant with JEDEC UFS version 2.1. The new products meet AEC-Q100 Grade2 requirements and support a wide temperature range of -40°C to +105°C, offering the enhanced reliability capabilities that are required by increasingly complex automotive applications. The line-up meets a broad range of applications requirements with five different capacities: 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB.

The new products are embedded NAND flash memory products that integrate NAND chips fabricated with 15 nm process technology and a controller in a single package. Storage requirements for automotive applications continue to increase as systems including automotive information & entertainment systems and ADAS become more sophisticated, and UFS supports their high performance and density needs. The addition of automotive UFS expands Toshiba Memory Corporation's line-up of embedded NAND flash memory products for automotive applications, which currently includes automotive e-MMC products. Utilizing the UFS interface allows the new products to achieve sequential read of 850 MB/s and random read of 50,000 IOPS, which are approximately 2.7 times and 7.1 times faster than their current e-MMC counterparts, respectively.

NAND Flash Supply to Improve in 1Q18

DigiTimes, quoting industry sources, reports that NAND flash supply should see improvements from its 4Q17 state in 2018. This likely doesn't come as much of a surprise - 2017 has been a sort of "squeeze" year for NAND and DDR memory manufacturing, with companies increasing production without committing to fully satisfy demand, which in turn translates to longer term higher pricing of memory. Still, those tentative increases to production capabilities should begin to release the memory pricing squeeze during 1Q18, with ASP (average selling price) coming down.

The increase in production and supply doesn't come solely from factory floor expansions, however; there's also been reports of increased yields of 3D NAND fabrication technologies, which should also increase availability in the best way possible for manufacturers.

LiteOn Intros MUX Series M.2 NVMe SSDs with Toshiba BiCS3 Flash

LiteOn today introduced the MUX line of "entry-level" M.2 PCI-Express SSDs in the M.2-2280 form-factor. Available in 128 GB and 256 GB capacities, the drives feature PCI-Express 3.0 x2 host interface, and take advantage of the NVMe protocol. They combine Phison PS5008-E8 controllers with Toshiba BiCS3 3D-TLC NAND flash memory.

The 128 GB variant offers sequential transfer rates of up to 1500 MB/s reads, with up to 450 MB/s writes; up to 91,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 110,000 IOPS 4K random writes; while the 256 GB variant is slightly faster, offering up to 1600 MB/s sequential reads, up to 850 MB/s sequential writes, up to 145,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 140,000 IOPS 4K random writes. Both variants are backed by 3-year warranties.

Samsung 860 Evo SSD Spotted In SATA-IO Listing

The Samsung 850 EVO SSD has been in the market for almost three years now. In what seems to be an eternity in tech years the 850 EVO SSD, sporting the 3D NAND flash memory, has held its own in the consumer space. Back when it was released, the 850 EVO SSD heralded a new generation of price and performance combination that established it in the high end enthusiast market. With sequential read speeds of up to 550 MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 520 MB/s, 4 KB Random Read of up to 100,000 IOPS and 4KB Random Write of up to 90,000 IOPS, the 850 EVO solidified and marked a new era of SSD computing.

But now it looks like the 860 EVO will take over where the 850 EVO left off. The 860 EVO SSD has been spotted in the database of the Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) in the integrators listing as having passed interoperability. The 860 comes in variants of 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB and 4 TB SATA III in a 2.5-inch 7 mm form factor with support for Native Command Queuing (NCQ), ASR, SSP, IPMh, 3 Gb/s and 6 Gb/s transfer speeds. The 250GB drive is labeled under MZ7LH250**** with the following, 500****, 1T0****, 2T0**** marked respectively. No announcement has been made by Samsung.

Intel Product Launch Schedule till Mid-2018 Leaked

Intel is on the verge of launching its 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" processor family with six SKUs, and its top-tier Z370 Express chipset, early next month. Those looking for cheaper motherboards and don't intend on overclocking their processor, will have to wait until the first quarter of 2018, with the company confirming Q1-2018 as the launch window of three of its client-desktop chipsets for 8th generation Core processors, in a leaked Desktop outlook slide, scored by GamersNexus.

Among the new desktop chipsets launched will be the H370 Express, B360 Express, and the H310 Express. The H370 Express offers essentially the same platform connectivity as the Z370 Express, minus CPU overclocking and NVIDIA SLI certification. The B360 Express has a slimmer connectivity loadout, and lacks SLI support, but its predecessors have been generally preferred by gamers wanting to build single-GPU rigs with CPUs running at stock speeds, which is why major motherboard brands have built gamer-centric motherboards on B-series chipsets. The H310 chipset has the lightest connectivity, and is designed to power entry-level motherboards.

Intel's First 10 nm Chips to the Market are 64-layer 3D NAND

Non-volatile memory often has the first pick of a new silicon fabrication process, as it is a low-risk development. A NAND flash chip is essentially a sea of transistors, with a fraction of R&D cost of something as specialized as a CPU die. It should come as no surprise, then, that the first chips to be built on Intel's swanky new 10 nanometer fabs will be a 64-layer 3D NAND flash memory, the first of its kind for data center applications.

With its 10 nm process, Intel is introducing FinFET Hyper Scaling, Intel will increase transistor densities by 2.7 times over the kind of densities one would traditionally expect from 10 nm. This lets the company scale up NAND flash storage densities by just that much more. The first 10 nm 64-layer 3D NAND flash chips will have high data densities, while at the same time, Intel will be able to push low volumes, characteristic of a new process. This explains why the first SSDs built with these chips are targeted at data-centers, so fairly expensive, high-capacity SSDs can be pushed to customers that can afford them.

Colorful Announces the iGame CN600 and CP600 SSDs

Colorful Technology Company Limited, a leading manufacturer of PC hardware, has announced the introduction of three new PCIE SSD models and are the world's first to feature the latest SiliconMotion controller 2262/2263/2263XTL: announcing the COLORFUL CN600 DRAM-less Series, CN600 DRAM series and CP600 iGame Series. All of the new SSDs will be available in volumes of 240GB up to 2TB.

"Although COLORFUL's SSD product lines were just released 3 years ago, thanks to the partnership between SiliconMotion and NAND flash vendors, COLORFUL's SSD products now hold the distinction of being in the top 3 in terms of market share in China. COLORFUL is going to build a storage brand in the future and this new PCIe Series SSD launching today will be the start." - Mr. Jerry Tsao, DGM of COLORFUL Storage talking about the release of the new storage products in a conference.

SanDisk Initiates New Arbitration Proceedings Against Toshiba In the ICC

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced that several of its SanDisk subsidiaries have filed an additional Request for Arbitration with the ICC International Court of Arbitration related to three NAND flash-memory joint ventures ("JVs") operated with Toshiba Corporation ("Toshiba").

On Aug. 3, 2017, Toshiba announced that it would unilaterally invest in manufacturing equipment for the Fab 6 clean room at the JV operations in Yokkaichi, Japan. The arbitration demand seeks, among other things, a permanent injunction preventing Toshiba from making unilateral investments in manufacturing equipment for Fab 6 without first giving SanDisk the opportunity to make a comparable investment in expansions and conversions of JV capacity for BiCS 3D NAND flash memory.

Western Digital commented: It is unfortunate that SanDisk is forced to initiate binding arbitration to remedy Toshiba's retaliatory breach of the JV agreement entered into by both SanDisk and Toshiba.

WD Comments on Toshiba's Statement Regarding NAND Flash-Memory JV

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today commented on Toshiba Corporation's ("Toshiba") statement regarding the transfer of its interests in its NAND flash-memory joint ventures operated with Western Digital's SanDisk subsidiaries ("JVs"):

"We are disappointed that Toshiba would take this action despite Western Digital's tireless efforts to reach a resolution that is in the best interests of all stakeholders. Throughout our ongoing dialogue with Toshiba, we have been flexible, constructive and have submitted numerous proposals to specifically address Toshiba's stated concerns. Our goal has been - and remains - to reach a mutually beneficial outcome that satisfies the needs of Toshiba and its stakeholders, and most importantly, ensures the longevity and continued success of the JVs.

Furthermore, it is surprising that Toshiba would continue to pursue a transaction with a consortium led by Korea-based SK Hynix Inc. and Bain Capital Japan without SanDisk's consent, as the language in the relevant JV agreements is unambiguous, and multiple courts have ruled in favor of protecting SanDisk's contractual rights. We remain confident in our ability to protect our JV interests and consent rights."

Team Group Launches L5 LITE-3D Series SSD

Targeting consumer's growing demand for computer storage capacity and higher performance, the world's leading memory brand, Team Group today announces the launch of the L5 LITE-3D SSD with all new 3D NAND technology. The latest generation of 3D NAND flash memory has overcome the technical barrier of 2D NAND. Featuring great durability and low energy consumption, it has become the mainstream memory of choice for the latest generation, enhancing overall capacity of solid state drives along with performance and reliability. It not only provides better performance and endurance, but also breaks through the technical and capacity limitations of planar chips.

The L5 LITE-3D solid state drive is 4 times faster than traditional hard drives. Its excellent performance and read/write speed not only allow fast boot/shutdown time, but also speeds up the response time of all application, so consumers can enjoy the high speed performance immediately after the upgrade. It is lightweight and has an industry-standard 2.5-inch form factor and is only 7 mm in thickness, making it best suited for Ultrabooks on the market. Whether it is for a laptop or desktop, the upgrade can be done quickly. It uses a SATA III 6Gbps interface and capacities are available in 120 GB, 240 GB, 480 GB, etc. The read speed performance is above 470 MB/s which offers the best performance-to-price ratio in the market right now.

Silicon Motion Expands its Portfolio of PCIe NVMe SSD Controller Solutions

Silicon Motion Technology Corporation, a global leader in designing and marketing NAND flash controllers for solid-state storage devices, announced the availability of the industry's broadest portfolio of merchant turnkey SSD (solid state disk) controller solutions, including the new ultra-high speed SM2262EN and SM2262 for client, the SM2263 for mainstream and the SM2263XT DRAM-less controller, which supports the BGA form factor.

With the new SM2262 and SM2263 series, Silicon Motion provides PCIe G3 x 4 Lanes NVMe 1.3 controllers while supporting the latest 3D NAND from the main flash manufacturers. The SM2262EN, an ultra-high performance SSD controller solution, delivers peak sequential read and write transfer speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s and 3,000 MB/s, respectively, and random read and write IOPS of up to 370,000 and 300,000. The SM2263 is targeted at mainstream client applications and features sequential read and write speeds of up to 2,400 MB/s and 1,700 MB/s respectively. The SM2263XT, a DRAM-less controller solution, reduces BOM cost and form factor without compromising performance while enabling 11.5mmx13mm BGA SSDs ideally suited for 2-in-1 systems, chromebooks and mobile devices.

Toshiba Announces the TR200 SATA SSDs with 64-layer 3D TLC NAND

Toshiba's first retail SSDs to use the company's 64-layer BiCS3 3D NAND technology have been announced by Toshiba. The successors to the company's Trion 100 and Trion 150 SSDs still carry some vestiges of OCZ branding in the product logo and TR (short for Trion) moniker. This is Toshiba's first generation of mainstream, mass-market-suitable 3D NAND flash.

These drives make use of a DRAM-less controller design, and will be available in capacities ranging from 240 GB up to 960 GB. Toshiba advertises 550 MB/s read and 525 MB/s write speeds. 4K Random Read IOPS stand at 87K, while 4K Random Write IOPS go up to 87K. The endurance on the models will range from 60 to 240 TB according to capacity, and these carry the same three-year warranty as previous Trion SSDs. Pricing has not yet been announced, although the TR200 series will start shipping to retailers this fall.

PNY Launches the CS1311b Budget SSD

PNY Technologies considered one of the worldwide leaders in consumer electronics market and flash memory products, is proud to announce the launch of the new CS1311b solid state drives. Targeting the sweet spot of price against performance, the CS1311b SSDs are 20 times faster than traditional hard drives, promising an affordable solution to boost your PC performance without breaking the bank.

The 2.5-inch form factor SSDs weighing only 35gms and having dimensions of 100 mm (L) x 70 mm (W) x 7 mm (H), can be installed in not only almost every notebook computer and Ultrabook, but even in regular desktop PCs, thus supporting an easy performance upgrade in a very wide range of computers. The absence of moving parts not only guarantees the safety of your data against mechanical shocks, but it also means cool and quiet operation. The very low power consumption easily translates into better battery life for notebook and Ultrabook computers.

Western Digital Announces Four-Bits-Per-Cell (X4) Technology on 3D NAND

Western Digital Corp. today announced its successful development of four bits per cell, X4, flash memory architecture offering on 64-layer 3D NAND, BiCS3, technology. Building on its pioneering innovation of X4 for 2D NAND technology and past success in commercializing it, the company has now developed X4 for 3D NAND by leveraging its deep vertical integration capabilities. These include silicon wafer processing, device engineering to provide sixteen distinct data levels in every storage node, and system expertise for overall flash management. BiCS3 X4 technology delivers an industry-leading storage capacity of 768 gigabits on a single chip, a 50 percent increase from the prior 512 gigabit chip that was enabled with the three bits per cell (X3) architecture. Western Digital will showcase removable products and solid-state drives built with BiCS3 X4 and systems capabilities in August at the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California.

"The implementation of X4 architecture on BiCS3 is a significant development for Western Digital as it demonstrates our continued leadership in NAND flash technology, and it also enables us to offer an expanded choice of storage solutions for our customers," said Dr. Siva Sivaram, executive vice president, Memory Technology, Western Digital. "The most striking aspect in today's announcement is the use of innovative techniques in the X4 architecture that allows our BiCS3 X4 to deliver performance attributes comparable to those in BiCS3 X3. The narrowing of the performance gap between the X4 and X3 architectures is an important and differentiating capability for us, and it should help drive broader market acceptance of X4 technology over the next several years."

Sk Hynix Begins Mass Production of 72-Layer 3D NAND

After announcing their intention to begin mass production of their latest 72-Layer 3D NAND Flash back in April, SK Hynix has now confirmed that it has entered mass production of the high density NAND modules. Apparently, SK Hynix has already achieved the much sought-after "golden yield" ratios, where the semiconductor yield is now at such a level that it is advantageous to finally enter mass production. Apparently, SK Hynix's leadership was fearful of not being able to achieve the golden yield in a timely manner after their announcement of the technology only three months ago; however, after its "management team and engineers repeatedly spent nights doing research, yield went up vertically and has become comparable to Samsung Electronics'" own yield - and as you know, Samsung is kind of the golden standard when it comes to NAND technology.

According to industry sources, SK Hynix is already mass-producing SSDs (Solid State Drives) with the company's own controllers and firmware which leverage this new 72-layer 256Gb NAND flash memory. This is a welcome change for the company which should allow it to increase revenue, since this is the first time controllers are developed in-house. The company is also said to be already producing eMMC (embedded Multimedia Card) for mobile devices based on this technology, with supply already arriving to its customers.

Toshiba's 768 Gb 3D QLC NAND Flash to Match TLC's Program/Erase Cycles

Not all news coming out of Toshiba is bad or somewhat bad. The Japanese giant still is one of the biggest players in the NAND semiconductor business, no matter the recent woes. Even more recently, though, Toshiba announced they had developed quadruple level cell NAND memory, which should improve density and, therefore, reduce the price/GB ratio on future consumer products, such as SSDs. However, each increase in the number of cell levels bring concerns regarding not only performance, but especially durability, since a higher number of states per cell increases the voltage steps that are applied to it (SLC NAND dealt with two voltage states, MLC with four, TLC with eight voltage states, and QLC will handle 16 of these.) This tends to make errors more common, and the cell's longevity to be compromised due to the amount of variation in its states, which means more powerful error correction techniques must be employed.
According to Toshiba, its 3D QLC NAND targets around ~1000 program/erase cycles, which is close to TLC NAND flash. This is considerably higher than the amount of P/E cycles (100 - 150) expected for QLC by the industry, which means the company has achieved what many thought difficult. Toshiba has begun sampling of its 3D QLC NAND memory devices earlier this month. everything points to mass production on late 2018, early 2019, though, which means we still have a long way to go until we see this technology implemented. This won't be the one to save us from escalating NAND prices; we'll have to look to other, more market and supply-and-demand based factors instead.

Intel Intros SSD 545s Mainstream SATA SSD

Intel today announced the SSD 545s line of mainstream SATA solid-state drives. Built in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor with SATA 6 Gbps interface, the drives combine new 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory by IMFlash Technology, with a Silicon Motion SMI SM2259 controller, and a custom firmware by Intel. For now, the drive is only available in one capacity, 512 GB. It offers sequential transfer speeds of up to 550 MB/s, with up to 500 MB/s sequential writes; 4K random read performance of up to 75,000 IOPS, 4K random write performance of up to 85,000 IOPS, and endurance of at least 144 TBW. Besides common SSD features such as NCQ and TRIM, the drive offers native 256-bit AES encryption. Available now, and backed by a 3-year warranty, the SSD 545s 512 GB is priced at USD $179.99.

Samsung Ramps up 64-Layer 3D V-NAND Memory Production

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun volume production of 64-layer, 256Gb V-NAND flash memory for use with an expanding line-up of storage solutions for server, PC and mobile applications. Since Samsung began producing the industry's first SSD based on 64-layer 256Gb V-NAND chips in January for key IT customers, it has been working on a wide range of new V-NAND-based mobile and consumer storage solutions. These include embedded UFS memory, branded SSDs and external memory cards, which the company plans to introduce later this year.

To solidify its competitive edge in the memory market, Samsung intends for its volume production of the 64-layer V-NAND chip, which is widely referred to as 4th generation V-NAND, to cover more than 50 percent of its monthly NAND flash production by year end. "Following a long commitment to innovative technology, we will continuously push the limits of generations of industry-first V-NAND production, in moving the industry closer to the advent of the terabit V-NAND era," said Kye Hyun Kyung, Executive Vice President of the Flash Product and Technology team, Memory Business at Samsung Electronics. "We will keep developing next-generation V-NAND products in sync with the global IT industry so that we can contribute to the timeliest launches of new systems and services, in bringing a higher level of satisfaction to consumers."

GeIL Shuttle Series M.2 NVMe SSD Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of GeIL Shuttle series SSDs. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface, the drives take advantage of the NVMe 1.2 protocol, and are characterized by a prominent aluminium heatsink over the controller, DRAM, and NAND flash chips, which keeps temperatures of these chips below 38°C in a common work environment. The GeIL Shuttle series drives combine a Silicon Machines SM2260 controller with 3D MLC NAND flash (G2 variant) and 3D TLC NAND flash (G1 variant). The drives offer sequential performance of up to 2,000 MB/s reads, with up to 1,000 MB/s writes.

NVMe 1.3 Specification Published

NVM Express, the special interest group behind the NVMe protocol, which enables significantly higher performance on flash-based storage devices, compared to the AHCI protocol, published the NVMe 1.3 specification. This is the most significant update to the protocol since the NVMe 1.2 specification released in 2014. NVMe 1.3, which could be implemented in SSDs, motherboards, and HBA cards starting late-2017 or 2018, introduces several major features that increase performance, endurance, and manageability of flash-based storage devices, such as SSDs.

To begin with, NVMe 1.3 introduces a drive self-test feature similar to SMART. The host machine can now command the drive to perform a self-test without having to mount volumes and expose their contents to OS-based utilities. The self-test parameters could be left up to the drive vendor, and could include hardware tests in addition to data integrity tests. The protocol also adds much needed support for boot-partitions, without needing the motherboard UEFI firmware to store it. The current implementation of motherboards with NVMe booting support involves storing a tiny boot partition with the bootloader on the SPI flash chip of the motherboard which stores the UEFI firmware.
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