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MyDigitalSSD Drops Pricing for Recently-Released BPX Pro M.2 NVMe SSDs by up to 25%

MyDigitalSSD must have began rethinking their BPX Pro SSD lineup's pricing as soon as they entered the market. A mere three weeks later, the company has announced an up to 25% price cut on its lineup, ranging from your choice of 240 GB ($99.99 originally, now $74.99), 480 GB ($149.99 originally, now $129.99), 960 GB ($279.99 originally, now $259.99) and 1920 GB ($599.99 originally, will be available later at $569.99) capacities.

As a reminder, the MyDigitalSSD BPX (Bullet Proof eXpress) Pro NVMe SSDs leverage the PCIe 3.1 x4 complex in the M.2 SSD form-factor to deliver staggering (up to) sequential read and write speeds of 3,400MB/s and 3,100MB/s, respectively - with not too shabby 4K random performance. These speeds are achieved using Phison's new E12 controller paired with Toshiba-made BiCS3 TLC NAND flash, one of the industry's strongest NAND options. With these price-cuts, they've become one of the cheapest options in the market, and are likely vying for the price/performance crown.

ADATA Announces IUSP33F PCIe BGA SSD

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules and NAND flash products, today launched the ADATA IUSP33F PCIe ball grid array (BGA) solid state drive (SSD). The SSD sports a form factor that is 80 percent more compact than M.2 2242 SSDs. Combined with a PCIe Gen3x2 interface and 3D Flash memory for excellent performance and durability, the IUSP33F is an ideal solution for slim-form-factor tablets, notebooks, hybrids, mini-PCs, thin clients, and wearables.

"We are thrilled to be introducing the new IUSP33F SSD, a compact solution that will enable next-generation tablets, ultrabooks, and other slim devices, but without compromising on performance and reliability," said Hedi Huang, Sales Directorof ADATA. "But the versatility of the IUSP33F goes beyond just these applications, and are also well-suited for new emerging applications in areas such as robotics, augmented and virtual reality, and automotive.

NAND Flash Prices Could Reach $0.08/GB in 2019

Prices of NAND flash could drop to historic lows of $0.08 per gigabyte in 2019, according to Jim Handy from Objective Analysis, addressing delegates at the 2018 Flash Memory Summit. If you add the cost of the controller, optional DRAM chip, and other low-cost parts that make up an SSD, 480~512 GB drives under $70 could finally be a reality; followed by 1 TB under $120, and 2 TB under $200. Handy attributes the low prices to a catastrophic oversupply of NAND flash in the industry, which could push manufacturers to the brink of economic collapse.

The price drop is also accelerated with the introduction of the QLC (4 bits per cell) technology, which increases densities (and conversely decreases price/GB). Luckily, most NAND flash manufacturers also happen to make DRAM, and are offsetting some of their NAND flash losses with DRAM profits, as DRAM remains in undersupply. The NAND flash price-crash threatens to wipe out conventional hard-disk drives from the consumer-space, at least in matured markets; relegating them to developing markets.

ADATA SU800 Series SATA SSDs Gets a 2TB Variant

ADATA Ultimate SU800 launched mid-2016 to compete with performance-segment SATA SSDs of the time, such as the 850 EVO. It was one of the first drives in its segment to implement 3D TLC NAND flash, and came in capacities ranging between 128 GB to 1 TB. Two years later, ADATA augmented this series with a new 2 TB variant to go after the crowd that wants to take advantage of low NAND flash prices to grab a high capacity SATA SSD to use as a game library drive.

The new 2 TB variant (ASU800SS-2TT-C), continues to be based on the Silicon Motion SM2258G controller, cushioned by a DRAM cache, and uses Micron-made 3D TLC NAND flash. It uses up to 8 percent of its TLC NAND flash as SLC cache. The drive offers sequential transfer rates of up to 560 MB/s, with up to 520 MB/s sequential writes, and endurance of up to 1,600 TBW. LDPC (low density parity check code) and in-built DVESLP mode support make up its feature-set. Backed by a 3-year warranty, the drive is expected to be priced around $379.

SK Hynix Unveils 4D NAND Flash Memory Concept

3D NAND flash revolutionized flash storage as it used the third dimension (height) to stack multiple NAND flash layers, resulting in infinitesimally smaller footprint and reduced costs. SK Hynix believes that a "4-dimensional" NAND flash package is possible. Don't worry, such a stack doesn't look like a tesseract. Conventional 3D NAND flash relies on stacks of charge-trap flash (CTF) cells spatially located alongside its periphery block (which is responsible for wiring out each of the layers of the CTF stack). On a 2-D plane you'd be spending substrate real-estate on both the CTF and periphery block.

SK Hynix believes that the periphery block can be stacked along with the CTF stack, with microscopic vias wiring up the stack along the periphery, reducing the footprint of each cell stack. 4D stacking will also allow for greater number of CTF stacks per cell. Just to be clear, we're talking about stacks of cell and not stacks of NAND flash dies. The V5 cell-stack in SK Hynix's design entails 4 cells and periphery blocks sandwiched. The first implementation of this technology is a 96-layer 4D NAND flash chip with 512 Gb of capacity and TLC (3 bits per cell) density, although the technology is ready for QLC cells. This 512 Gb chip will begin sampling by the end of 2018, and the company is already working on a 1 Tb chip for 2019.

QLC NAND Flash Based Intel SSD 660p Could Lower Prices of PCIe x4 NVMe SSDs

Intel debuted its 3D QLC NAND flash memory on new SSD DC series 2.5-inch U.2 PCIe drives. Its technology partner Micron, too gave its 3D QLC an enterprise debut with the 5120 ION. The first client-segment debut from the IMFlash combine could be the Intel SSD 660p series of M.2 NVMe SSDs. Slotted between the 700p and the 600p, the new 660p implements homebrew 64-layer QLC NAND flash memory, and a new controller. It comes in sizes of 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB.

The best part about the 660p is its performance numbers. The drive takes advantage of PCI-Express 3.0 x4, and offers (at least on paper), performance numbers identical to those of the pricier 700p. The drives read at speeds of up to 1800 MB/s, with up to 1100 MB/s writes. The 600p, in comparison, capped out at 560 MB/s sequential writes, while the 700p is only slightly higher, at 1200 MB/s. Random access speeds are up to 150,000 IOPS (both reads and writes). QLC pays off rich dividends to consumers by way of price/GB. The 660p 512 GB is expected to be priced at 113.90€ (0.22€/GB), the 1 TB variant at 197.75€ (0.20€/GB), and the 2 TB variant at 391.43€ (0.20€/GB). Not bad for launch prices, considering these are PCIe NVMe drives priced competitively with SATA SSDs.

Intel Starts Producing 3D QLC NAND Flash Based PCIe SSDs for Data-Centers

Intel announced that it started mass-production of PCI-Express SSDs for data-centers that implement the latest-generation 3D QLC NAND flash memory. The new QLC (4 bits per cell) NAND flash memory enables 33% increases in densities over TLC NAND flash, and with 3D (stacks), the density per chip is further multiplied. Built in the 15 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor with U.2 interface, the drive is built for the rigors of "warm storage" (data that isn't hot, but isn't cold/archival, either). Such drives can be slower than "hot data" drives based on faster MLC or even SLC NAND flash, but almost always up; and faster than HDDs. The first 3D QLC NAND-based SSD, which probably uses the same chips as this drive, is the Micron 5210 ION, which was launched in May.

Intel "Cascade Lake" Xeon Scalable Chips to Support 3.84 TB of RAM per Socket

Intel is giving finishing touches to a new wave of Xeon Scalable processors based on its new "Cascade Lake" silicon. One of its first parts is a 28-core chip with a 6-channel DDR4 memory interface, support for 3 DIMMs per channel, resulting in 18 DIMM slots per socket. Its integrated memory controllers support a theoretical maximum of 3.84 TB of memory. The best part? The memory needn't be DRAM-based.

With its next-generation of enterprise processors, Intel is introducing support for Optane Persistent Memory. This 3D X-point based memory module has a performance footprint between NAND flash SSDs and volatile DRAM; while being close enough to the latter to work as primary memory. Its USP is persistence - the ability to not lose data after power loss or reboot; allowing large data centers to quickly power down/up nodes in response to load, without wasting several dozen minutes in repopulating DRAM with data from a hibernation image. Optane Persistent DIMMs come in capacities of up to 512 GB. This is simply 512 GB of 3D X-point memory wired to a special on-DIMM controller that interfaces with standardized DDR4 interface.

Micron Technology Faces Ban in China After Losing IP Spat to UMC

Stocks of Micron Technology tanked on Tuesday as reports emerged of the company being banned in China, the world's largest semiconductor market. A Chinese court ruled in favor of Taiwanese semiconductor foundry UMC in its patent infringement lawsuit against Micron. The Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court issued a preliminary injunction stopping the sale of 26 Micron products, spanning across both its DRAM and NAND flash product lines, UMC said in a statement.

Micron, meanwhile, maintains that it hasn't read the injunction order yet, and that it won't comment until it does. Micron's position is doing precious little in stopping its hemorrhage at the markets, as its stock prices fell 8 percent at the time of this writing. The Micron-UMC spat is fascinating in a broader geopolitical context. Micron accuses UMC of serving as a conduit for funneling away its IP to midwife Chinese DRAM companies such as Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. It is the counter-suit to this by UMC, which was won today. China accounted to more than 50 percent of Micron's revenues in FY 2017, with most of the chips being mopped up by the consumer electronics and PC manufacturing industries.

ADATA Intros SR2000CP PCI-Express 3.0 x8 AIC SSD

ADATA introduced the SR2000CP a new enterprise SSD for when you absolutely, positively, need to push data at 6 gigabytes per second. Built in the half-height add-on card form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x8 interface, the drive ships in capacities of 2 TB, 3.5 TB, 4 TB, 8 TB, and 11 TB. The drives use 3D "eTLC" NAND flash. This type of memory has the 3 bits per cell characteristics of TLC, but endurance (P/E cycles) comparable to MLC NAND flash, which lends it endurance of 1~3 DWPD under a 5-year warranty.

The 4 TB variant tested by ADATA, churns out some impressive performance numbers - up to 1 million IOPS 4K random reads, up to 150,000 IOPS 4K random writes; and sequential transfer speeds of up to 6 GB/s reads, with up to 3.8 GB/s writes. You also get enterprise essentials such as user-configurable overprovisioning, power-loss protection, native 256-bit AES encryption, and up to protection against 95% relative humidity and 55°C ambient temperature (Google's datacenters). The company didn't reveal pricing as the drives could be served up to enterprise customers.

ADATA XPG SX7100 Price-performance Sweetspot SSD Detailed

ADATA exhibited two new M.2 NVMe SSD with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface, the XPG SX7100 and the SX8200. The SX7100 is positioned a notch above PCIe 3.0 x2 drives, such as the SX6000 series, and could be priced close to those drives. This drive succeeds the XPG SX7000 from last year. It combines 2nd generation (10 nm-class) 3D TLC NAND flash memory with Realtek RTS5760 controller, which supports NVMe 1.3 and HMB.

The drive comes in a variety of capacities ranging from 120 GB all the way up to 1920 GB, with 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB along the way. It offers sequential transfer rates of up to 2100 MB/s reads, with up to 1500 MB/s writes; both of which are a significant step up from the 1800/850 MB/s reads/writes of the SX7000. ADATA didn't reveal when it plans to launch SX7100, but that when it does, it will strike a price-performance sweet-spot that could drive buyers away from both PCIe x2 and pricey PCIe x4 options.

Silicon Power Intros AIC3C0P Industrial NVMe SSD

Silicon Power introduced the AIC3C0P, an industrial-grade PCI-Express NVMe SSD in the half-height add-in card form-factor, with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface. Available in capacities of 800 GB, 1.6 TB, and 3.2 TB, the drive features MLC NAND flash. It offers sequential transfer rates of up to 3200 MB/s reads, with up to 1850 MB/s writes, and 4K random access speeds of up to 750,000 IOPS reads, and up to 380,000 IOPS writes. Also on offer is power-loss protection, and native 256-bit AES data encryption. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ADATA Announces New Industrial-Grade, 3D TLC NAND SSDs

ADATA today launched the industrial-grade ADATA IM2P33F8 PCIe Gen3 x4 and IM2S3168 SATA 6 Gbps M.2 2280 solid state drives. Both drives employ durable and long-lasting 3D NAND flash, making them ideal upgrade options for a wide range of systems and installations.

The Adata IM2 series have 3D TLC NAND flash memory, end-to-end data protection, and variable capacities. The IM2P33F8 features a PCIe 3.0 controller with support for NVMe 1.3 and has three capacities (128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB), rated for up to 2,050 MB/s and 1,600 MB/s for sequential read and write speeds, respectively. The IM2S3168 SSD, on the other hand, has a SATA 6 GB/s controller which offers up to 540 MB/s and 510 MB/s in sequential read and write performance, respectively. The capacities of the SATA-based SSD are also more varied, offering 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB drives.

TDK Announces SNS1B M.2 and Embedded SSDs

TDK Corporation announces the sequential launch of the embedded SD ESRD4 series, the embedded SSD ESS1B series and the M.2 SSD Type 2280-D5-B-M SNS1B series. With the progress of IoT, the demand for micro storage for edge data is rapidly expanding. In particular, eMMC, which can be mounted on a surface, was expected to be potent, but the trend is shifting from eMMC to UFS, which is associated with the larger capacity of smartphones.

On the other hand, a reliable and appropriate storage capacity is required for I-IoT that usually uses a small capacity. TDK's embedded SD ESRD4 series is a SD card, equipped with a highly durable SLC/pSLC NAND flash that can be implemented on boards. It covers a wide range of capacities from 1GB to 32GB, suitable for storing a lightweight system such as Linux and RTOS.

Mushkin Announces New "Source" SSD Product Line

Mushkin Enhanced MFG, an industry-leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance computer products, is announcing the Mushkin Source Series, a new line of solid state drives (SSDs) for the retail, e-tail, system integrator, and channel markets. The Source Series features a powerful, yet cost-effective design suitable for a wide-range of applications.

"The market has never been more ready for SSDs," says Brian Flood, Director of Product Development for Mushkin Enhanced MFG. "With the ultimate balance of value, capacity, and performance, the Source Series leverages all of the great benefits expected from an SSD without breaking the bank."

Power Outage at Samsung NAND Flash Plant Cuts March Global Output by 3.5%

A power-outage on 9th March, at one of Samsung's NAND flash manufacturing plants located in Pyeongtaek, Korea, will have a notable impact on global NAND flash production. It reduced the global NAND flash output for the month of March 2018 by 3.5 percent, a number that isn't insignificant, and translates into non-volatile memory for millions of devices. It also trims Samsung's output by 11 percent for the month. SIlicon fabrication is a highly sensitive process, and the power-outage is said to have damaged up to 60,000 wafers of NAND flash chips.

The impact of this event on global prices of NAND flash memory, and devices based on it, remains to be seen. Any inflation could be nipped in the bud by Samsung and other NAND flash makers significantly increasing production through this quarter. Samsung will begin expansion of its NAND flash plant in Xi'an, China, which currently outputs 120,000 wafers per month, and is expected to put out 320,000 wafers a month after the expansion.

Micron To Release QLC NAND-Based Drives in 2018 to the Server Environment

Micron has announced that they will be introducing QLC (Quad Level Cell) NAND-based, own brand drives for the server environment this year. The new QLC drives are expected to boost maximum storage density (and price per GB) closer to that of mechanical HDDs, which is why Micron is positioning drives based on this memory technology as data center-class SSDs for the nearline storage market. The company is positioning these drives as replacement options for 7,200 RPM HDDs for workloads that require heavy reads of stored information - thus offsetting QLC NAND's lower endurance when it comes to available maximum writes on the drives' cells.

It's a known trade-off when it comes to the NAND world: higher amounts of bits per cell to represent information means that there must be much increased accuracy when it comes to reading a given cell's voltage state. While SLC NAND only tracks two voltage states, MLC (2-bits per cell) tracks four voltage states, TLC doubles that to eight voltage states, and QLC doubles the ante again for a maximum 16 voltage states, where each voltage state represents data on the cell. Of course, with repeat writes and voltage changes, accuracy and capacity for the cell to maintain its given voltage tend to drop, which leads to incorrect information and thus corrupted data or those cells to be rendered inoperative. This is one of the reasons for manufacturers to include overprovisioning in their NAND-based solutions.

Silicon Power Announces Its First PCIe Solid State Drives

Silicon Power (SP), a leader in performance memory solutions, today released the P32A80 and P32A85 PCIe Solid State Drives, a pair of leading high-performance and long-lasting devices in an already robust pool of SSDs.

For the New Creators Starting Out
The highly functional P32A80 and P32A85 are the ideal SSD solutions for high-end systems that are ready for a new level of performance and responsiveness. SP launches its first ever PCIe SSD, with designers in mind looking for large image rendering and intensive graphic editing capabilities, enterprises demanding high speed file transfer, fast boot-ups, and launches, and also musicians needing high volume recording and music library loading performance.

Lesson from the Crypto/DRAM Plagues: Build Future-Proof

As someone who does not mine crypto-currency, loves fast computers, and gaming on them, I find the current crypto-currency mining craze using graphics cards nothing short of a plague. It's like war broke out, and your government took away all the things you love from the market. All difficult times teach valuable lessons, and in this case, it is "Save up and build future-proof."

When NVIDIA launched its "Pascal" GPU architecture way back in Summer 2016, and AMD followed up, as a user of 2x GeForce GTX 970 SLI, I did not feel the need to upgrade anything, and planned to skip the Pascal/Polaris/Vega generation, and only upgrade when "Volta" or "Navi" offered something interesting. My pair of GTX 970 cards are backed by a Core i7-4770K processor, and 16 GB of dual-channel DDR3-1866 memory, both of which were considered high-end when I bought them, around 2014-15.

Throughout 2016, my GTX 970 pair ate AAA titles for breakfast. With NVIDIA investing on advancing SLI with the new SLI-HB, and DirectX 12 promising a mixed multi-GPU utopia, I had calculated a rather rosy future for my cards (at least to the point where NVIDIA would keep adding SLI profiles for newer games for my cards to chew through). What I didn't see coming was the inflection point between the decline of multi-GPU and crypto-plague eating away availability of high-end graphics cards at sane prices. That is where we are today.

Samsung 860 EVO SSD Makes an Appearance

Hot on the heels of Samsung updating its website with its next performance-segment SSD 860 Pro series, with its range-topping 4 TB variant, a similar pre-launch website update revealed the company's next mainstream SATA SSD, the 860 EVO. The drive will be available in three form-factors, 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch, M.2-2280, and mSATA; all with SATA 6 Gbps interface. The 2.5-inch version comes in 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB variants; while the M.2-2280 version comes in just 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB variants; and the mSATA version in 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB variants. The drives combine Samsung's latest generation 3D VNAND flash memory built in the 10 nm-class sliicon fabrication process, with an updated controller and refined firmware.

The 860 EVO offers sequential transfer rates of up to 550 MB/s, with up to 520 MB/s sequential writes, up to 97,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 88,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The new-generation flash is rated for "8 times higher" endurance than the 850 EVO series; with up to 2,400 TBW. Samsung is reinforcing its faith in the drive by backing it with 5-year warranties. The company is introducing the new TurboWrite feature, which is a user-configurable SLC cache. You can set anywhere between 12 GB to 72 GB of the NAND flash to function as SLC, so the controller can juggle hot data in and out of it, for improved performance, using the Samsung Magician software.

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.
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