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Samsung 980 PRO Clears Korean Regulators, Comes in Three Sizes

Samsung's upcoming flagship client-segment M.2 NVMe SSD, the 980 PRO, has cleared Korean regulators. The drive comes in three capacity variants, led by a 1 TB model (model: MZ-V8P1T0), a 500 GB model (MZ-V8P500), and a 250 GB model (MZ-V8P250). The maximum capacity being rather low at 1 TB suggests that Samsung could stick with MLC (2 bits per cell) NAND flash for the 980 PRO, coupled with an in-house controller that takes advantage of PCI-Express 4.0 x4 host interface to offer sequential transfer rates of up to 6,500 MB/s reads, with up to 5,000 MB/s writes and high random access throughput on account of the MLC NAND flash setup. For higher capacities from Samsung, one should look out for successors of the 970 EVO Plus, which could use 3D TLC NAND flash combined with a similar controller to the 980 PRO, although there's no word on when that drive would launch. The 980 PRO is expected to launch before October.

Samsung Announces New V-NAND Flash Facility

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced plans to expand its NAND flash production capacity in Pyeongtaek, Korea, reinforcing the company's ability to meet demands from emerging technologies. Construction, which began this May, will pave the way for mass production of Samsung's cutting-edge V-NAND memory in the second half of 2021.

"The new investment reaffirms our commitment to sustain undisputed leadership in memory technologies, even in uncertain times," said Cheol Choi, executive vice president of Memory Global Sales & Marketing at Samsung Electronics. "We will continue to serve the market with the most optimized solutions available, while contributing to growth of the overall IT industry and the economy in general."

Crucial Unveils the P5 High-Performance M.2 NVMe SSDs

Crucial is expanding its P-series M.2 NVMe SSD lineup with the introduction of the P5. Available in capacities of 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB, and built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, the drives are still based on PCI-Express gen 3.0 x4 host interface with NVMe 1.3. The P5 implements a DRAM-cache cushioned controller, and 3D TLC NAND flash memory.

Performance on offer includes sequential read speeds of up to 3,400 MB/s, and sequential write speeds of up to 3,000 MB/s (up to 1,400 MB/s writes for the 250 GB model), while Crucial rates endurance (TBW) at 150 TBW for the 250 GB model, 300 TBW for the 500 GB model, 600 TBW for 1 TB, and 1.2 PBW for the 2 TB model. The performance numbers are a class above the P2 or P1 mid-range drives. The drives are backed by 5-year warranties. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Crucial P5 Crucial P5 Crucial P5 Crucial P5
Many Thanks to TheLostSwede for the tip.

YMTC Launches 128-layer 3D NAND Flash Memory Chip

Mainland Chinese semiconductor firm Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC) formally launched a product that could serve as a technological milestone for the company, a 128-layer 3D QLC NAND flash memory chip. Carrying the product naming series "X2-6070," the chip implements YMTC's XTracking 2.0 memory stacking architecture. This is a particularly big development for the company considering the chip's immediate predecessor is a 64-layer chip based on XTracking 1.0, which entered mass-production as recently as in September 2019, a time when most foreign firms such as Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron, had moved on to 96-layer mass-production, having announced their 128-layer designs around June 2019. YMTC hence appears to have pole-vaulted 96-layer.

"With the launch of Xtacking 2.0, YMTC is now capable of building a new business ecosystem where our partners can play to their strengths and we can achieve mutually beneficial results," said Grace Gong SVP of sales and marketing at YMTC. "This product will first be applied to consumer-grade solid-state drives and will eventually be extended into enterprise-class servers and data centers in order to meet the diverse data storage needs of the 5G and AI era," Gong added. YMTC, part of the state-owned conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup, is one of the dozens of beneficiaries of the Chinese government's initiative of localizing cutting-edge electronics technology, and reducing reliance on foreign hardware.

Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Semiconductor Revenue to Decline 0.9% in 2020 Due to Coronavirus Impact

Due to the impact of the coronavirus on semiconductor supply and demand, worldwide semiconductor revenue is forecast to decline 0.9% in 2020, according to Gartner, Inc. This is down from the previous quarter's forecast of 12.5% growth.

"The wide spread of COVID-19 across the world and the resulting strong actions by governments to contain the spread will have a far more severe impact on demand than initially predicted," said Richard Gordon, research practice vice president at Gartner. "This year's forecast could have been worse, but growth in memory could prevent a steep decline."
Gartner WorldWide Semiconductor Revenue Forcast

Micron Unveils New 5210 ION Data-center SSD Based on QLC NAND Flash

Micron Technology, Inc., today announced new Micron 5210 ION enterprise SATA SSD capacity and features, solidifying Micron's leadership in QLC technology volume production. The world's first QLC solid-state drive (SSD), the Micron 5210 is based on the company's advanced QLC NAND technology and quickly replacing legacy hard disk drives (HDDs).

From SQL and NoSQL databases to big data and analytics, object stores and vSAN capacity tiers, customers are now reaping the benefits of NAND flash on performance-sensitive workloads that used to live on HDDs. Rapidly supplanting 10K HDDs, the Micron 5210 delivers 175 times faster random reads, 30 times faster random writes, two times more sequential throughput, and three times more energy efficiency than the largest 10K RPM HDDs - all at a compelling price point.

Crucial P2 Announced: Company's Second QLC M.2 NVMe Client SSD

Here's the first picture of the Crucial P2, the company's second M.2 NVMe client SSD series based on QLC NAND flash memory, and successor to the Crucial P1. The drive sticks to PCI-Express gen 3.0 x4 as its host interface, but increases sequential read speeds over the P1. Available in 250 GB and 500 GB models to begin with, the P2 offers sequential transfer rates of up to 2100 MB/s reads with up to 1150 MB/s writes for the 250 GB variant; and up to 2300 MB/s reads with up to 940 MB/s writes on the 500 GB variant. There's no word on whether the P2 uses the same QLC NAND chips as the P1, but we do spy a DRAM cache chip. Endurance of the P2 is rated at 150 TBW, and Crucial is backing them with 5-year warranties when they come out in the near future. Pricing in Europe is expected to be about 59€ for the 250 GB model, and 70€ for the 500 GB one.

Update 15:54 UTC: Crucial launched the drive Stateside at $54.99 for the 250 GB model, and $64.99 for the 500 GB model. We've added more images.

Transcend Intros MicroSDXC Card with SLC Caching for Increased Burst Write Speeds

Transcend introduced the first microSDXC memory card to feature SLC caching technology. The new USD230I memory card from Transcend features a host-transparent internal logic that treats a small portion of the 3D TLC NAND flash as SLC, to improve write performance in short bursts. This should particularly help in usecases such as high-quality burst photography or high-resolution video recording. The card is also endowed with a broad operational temperature range of -40 to 85 °C. The USD230I offers sequential transfer-rates of up to 100 MB/s, with up to 3,400 IOPS random access. It comes in capacities of 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB, offering endurance (TBW) of 36 TB for the 8 GB variant, 70 TB for the 16 GB and 32 GB variants, and 140 TB for the 64 GB variant. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Driven by Strong Demand from Data Center Clients, 4Q19 NAND Flash Revenue Grows 8.5%, Says TrendForce

According to the DRAMeXchange research division of TrendForce, 4Q19 NAND flash bit shipment increased by nearly 10% QoQ thanks to demand growth from data center clients. On the supply side, contract prices made a successful rebound due to shortages caused by the power outage at Kioxia's Yokkaichi production base in June. In sum, 4Q19 NAND flash revenue reached $12.5 billion, an 8.5% increase QoQ.

The stronger-than-expected 4Q19 performance from the demand side helped improve supplier inventory back to normal levels. In response, NAND suppliers were able to reduce their allocations to the wafer market and instead focus on shipping products with comparatively higher margins.

PATRIOT Launches the P300 M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe SSD Series

PATRIOT, a global leader in performance memory, SSDs, gaming peripherals, and flash storage solutions, is pleased to announce the official launch of P300 Gen3 x4 NVMe m.2 SSD with capacities available from 256 GB up to 1 TB. The P300 is designed to deliver the most significant all-around performance for desktop and laptop users. Built with next-generation PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe controller and best-in-class components, the P300 is posed to bring out rapid data transfer speeds and best in class reliability for the user. P300 represents a milestone for the next generation of PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe SSD, which can offer 25% higher transfer speeds better IOPs over standard PCIe 3 x2 solutions and attribute to its low power consumption is the best solution for laptop battery endurance.

A Walk Through SK Hynix at CES 2020: 4D NAND SSDs and DDR5 RDIMMs

Korean DRAM and NAND flash giant SK Hynix brought its latest memory innovations to the 2020 International CES. The star attraction at their booth was the "4D NAND" technology, and some of the first client-segment SSDs based on it. As a concept, 4D NAND surfaced way back in August 2018, and no, it doesn't involve the 4th dimension. Traditional 3D NAND chips use charge-trap flash (CTF) stacks spatially located next to a peripheral block that's responsible for wiring out all of those CTF stacks. In 4D NAND, the peripheral block is stacked along with the CTF stack itself, conserving real-estate on the 2-D plane (which can then be spent on increasing density). We caught two 128-layer 4D NAND-based client-segment drives inbound for 2020, the Platinum P31 M.2 NVMe, and Gold P31 M.2 NVMe. The already launched Gold S31 SATA drive was also there.

NAND Flash Prices to Rise up to 40% in 2020

According to the sources over at DigiTimes, NAND flash prices are set to rise by up to 40% in 2020. This report is coming from sources over at memory chipmakers, presumably some of the biggest players like SK Hynix, Micron, and Samsung. If the prediction realizes, consumers will see a significant price jump for products based on NAND flash memory like most of today's solid-state drives. For reference, earlier today we also reported that a minute long power outage at Samsung created damage worth millions of Dollars in DRAM and NAND flash memory.

This incident alone could help contribute to the price rise of NAND memory in 2020. Other possible reasons may include an inefficient supply of materials used by NAND flash production lines or a simple supply-demand ratio, which would hurt prices of NAND flash long-therm. However, we hope that the underlying problems for this predicted price rise can be worked out and that companies like Samsung, which got power outage accident, can supplement the capacity loss during the unplanned turn of events.

Minute-long Power Outage at Samsung Plant Damages Millions Worth DRAM and NAND

A tiny minute-long power-outage halted production at a Samsung Electronics plant in Hwaseong, South Korea, according to a Reuters report citing Korean news agency Yonhap. This stopped some production lines of DRAM and NAND flash memory. A source with "direct knowledge of the matter" told Reuters that the outage likely caused millions of Dollars in losses to Samsung. Semiconductor manufacturing in general is a very power-sensitive process, and a stoppage at any of its manufacturing stages can result in wasted batches; not to mention the time lost to recovery. For instance, a 30-minute power outage in 2018 inflicted a $43.32 million loss to Samsung.

The cause of the power outage on Tuesday afternoon (31st December), is said to be a fault with a regional transmission cable. It will take Samsung up to two days (mid-Thursday) to get the production line rolling again. On the flipside, the resulting drop in output could help Samsung push out its swelling NAND flash and DRAM inventory, reports Yonhap, citing an analyst.

Transcend Announces JetFlash 910 High-Endurance USB Flash Drive

Transcend Information Inc. (Transcend ), a leading manufacturer of storage and multimedia products, is proud to present the market-redefining JetFlash 910, a USB flash drive that packs incredible performance and endurance into a compact USB form factor. The flash drive utilizes the latest 3D NAND technology for up to 420 MB/s and 400 MB/s read and write speeds and an excellent endurance level of 3,000 P/E cycles - the equivalent of MLC NAND flash. With capacities up to 256 GB, the JetFlash 910 is ideal for storing a trove of 4K videos and high-resolution images, transferring them in a flash. Housed in lightweight aluminium with a sandblasted finish for extra durability and a sleek look, the JetFlash 910 takes the USB storage experience to a brand new level.

At 10 times the lifespan of a regular TLC flash drive, the JetFlash 910 offers superior and persistent protection of key data, making it great everyday carry for work and life. Having a high endurance rating also makes the JetFlash 910 well-suited for write-intensive applications, such as dashcams or surveillance systems. The aluminium metallic housing makes the USB flash drive less prone to wear, while gracing it with an extra touch of sleekness.

SK hynix to Introduce Consumer PCIe NVMe SSDs at CES 2020

SK hynix Inc., a global semiconductor maker based in Korea, is set to introduce its newest offering of "Gold P31" and "Platinum P31" PCIe NVMe Solid State Drives (SSDs) at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020, which will be held on January 7-10 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The drives are built with SK hynix's 128-layer 4D NAND flash, only six months after the Company announced the mass production of the world's first and highest vertical stack for NAND flash, demonstrating the chipmaker's technological edge.

As a leading manufacturer of memory chips, SK hynix builds and supplies its own DRAM and NAND flash devices, as well as SSD controllers designed and developed in-house. The company has a proven track record as a major supplier to global OEMs including top-tier PC makers, who have trusted and purchased SK hynix's SSDs for nearly a decade now. As a next step, SK hynix is now expanding into the consumer market with its newest drives.

Western Digital Unveils Ultrastar DC SS540 SAS SSD: up to 3DWPD, 2.5M Hours MTBF

Western Digital Monday unveiled the Ultrastar DC SS540, an enterprise SSD with the SAS 12 Gbps interface and the endurance of a tank. Built in the 2.5-inch form-factor with 15 mm thickness, the drive comes in capacities ranging from 800 GB all the way up to 15.36 TB. The 800 GB, 1.6 TB, 3.2 TB, and 6.4 TB variants offer endurance of 3 drive-writes per day (DWPD), while the 960 GB, 1.92 TB, 3.84 TB, 7.68 TB, and 15.36 TB models offer 1 DWPD endurance.

Under the hood, the drive uses 3D TLC NAND flash, and depending on the model, sequential read speeds range between 1,985 MB/s to 2,130 MB/s, sequential writes between 1,024 MB/s to 2,109 MB/s. Random access performance, which is more relevant to enterprise environments, ranges between 237,000 to 470,000 IOPS reads, and 88,133 to 240,000 IOPS writes, depending on the model. MTBF on all models is rated at 2.5 million hours.

Crucial Intros 2 TB Version of its BX500 Series SATA SSD

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

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

Micron Tapes Out 128-layer 3D NAND Flash Memory

Micron Technology has taped out its 4th generation 3D NAND flash memory with 128 layers. This paves the way for mass production and product implementations in 2020. The 4th gen 3D NAND by Micron continues to use a CMOS-under-array design, but with Replacement Gate (RG) Technology instead of Floating Gate, which Micron and the erstwhile IMFlash Technology had been using for years. Micron is currently mass-producing 96-layer 3D NAND flash, and TLC remains the prominent data-storage physical layer despite the advent of QLC (4 bits per cell).

Micron comments that this 4th gen 128-layer 3D NAND will be a stopgap restricted to a select few applications, and may not see the kind of adoption as its current 96-layer chips. The company appears to be more focused on its evolution, possibly the 5th generation 3D NAND, which are expected to bring tangible cost-per-bit gains for the company, as it transitions to a newer silicon fabrication node, and implements even newer technologies besides RG. "We achieved our first yielding dies using replacement gate or "RG" for short. This milestone further reduces the risk for our RG transition. As a reminder, our first RG node will be 128 layers and will be used for a select set of products. We don't expect RG to deliver meaningful cost reductions until FY2021 when our second-generation RG node is broadly deployed. Consequently, we are expecting minimal cost reductions in NAND in FY2020. Our RG production deployment approach will optimize the ROI of our NAND capital investments," said Sanjay Mehrotra, CEO and president of Micron.

ADATA Releases New MLC IESU317 External SSD and IUFU33B Flash Drive

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories is pleased to announce the ADATA IESU317 external solid state drive (SSD) and the IUFU33B flash drive. Both products are equipped with MLC NAND flash and support the high-speed USB 3.2 interface, which combines excellent durability with next-gen performance. The products are compatible with a wide range of operating systems for plug-and-play usability and provide users a practical, convenient, and reliable mobile storage solution.

The IESU317 external SSD sports a slim form factor of just 9.6 mm (0.38in) and a sandblasted metal casing with a matte finish that is not only highly durable but also resistant to scratching and fingerprints. With the next-generation USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface, the SSD delivers read and write speeds of up to 435/400 MB per second, for speedy data transfers and back up. Equipped with MLC NAND flash, the IESU317 provides a higher P/E Cycle (Program/Erase Cycle) than its TLC counterparts of up to 3K. This significantly extends data retention and reduces the risk of data corruption or loss. What's more, the SSD features AES 256-bit encryption for robust data protection and comes with up to 1 TB capacity, making it especially suitable for users working in animation, photography, graphic design, or any users that need to encrypt, back up, and store data only a daily basis.

Greenliant Offers Superior Data Retention and Endurance with EnduroSLC SATA NANDrive SSDs

Greenliant is now sampling its SATA 6Gb/s NANDrive EX Series ball grid array (BGA) solid state drives (SSDs) to customers that require superior data retention and high program-erase (P/E) cycles. Designed with Greenliant's EnduroSLC Technology, SATA 6 Gb/s NANDrive EX Series SSDs are capable of performing 50K, 100K and industry-leading 250K+ P/E cycles. EnduroSLC Technology substantially enhances data retention and extends write endurance of 1-bit-per-cell (SLC) SSDs with advanced hardware ECC capabilities and NAND flash management algorithms.

Developed with Greenliant's DRAM-less controller, SATA 6 Gb/s NANDrive has enhanced power loss data protection and offers four times the performance over the previous generation of SATA NANDrive products. SATA 6 Gb/s SSDs support Native Command Queuing (NCQ) up to 32 commands and use advanced NAND management techniques to optimize the device's performance during its lifetime. With faster read/write speeds and available in a wide range of capacities (2 GB - 128 GB), SATA 6 Gb/s NANDrive EX Series is ideal for high-performance computing, industrial, transportation, video and networking applications.

Samsung Launches Sixth Generation 3D V-NAND SSDs

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun mass producing 250-gigabyte (GB) SATA solid state drive (SSD) that integrates the company's sixth-generation (1xx-layer) 256-gigabit (Gb) three-bit V-NAND for global PC OEMs. By launching a new generation of V-NAND in just 13 months, Samsung has reduced the mass production cycle by four months while securing the industry's highest performance, power efficiency and manufacturing productivity.

"By bringing cutting-edge 3D memory technology to volume production, we are able to introduce timely memory lineups that significantly raise the bar for speed and power efficiency," said Kye Hyun Kyung, executive vice president of Solution Product & Development at Samsung Electronics. "With faster development cycles for next-generation V-NAND products, we plan to rapidly expand the markets for our high-speed, high-capacity 512 Gb V-NAND-based solutions."

Toshiba Memory Introduces XL-FLASH Storage Class Memory Solution

Toshiba Memory America, Inc. (TMA), the U.S.-based subsidiary of Toshiba Memory Corporation, today announced the launch of a new Storage Class Memory (SCM) solution: XL-FLASH. Based on the company's innovative BiCS FLASH 3D flash memory technology with 1-bit-per-cell SLC, XL-FLASH brings low latency and high performance to data center and enterprise storage. Sample shipments will start in September, with mass production expected to begin in 2020.

Classified as SCM (or persistent memory), with the ability to retain its contents like NAND flash memory, XL-FLASH bridges the performance gap that exists between DRAM and NAND. While volatile memory solutions such as DRAM provide the access speed needed by demanding applications, that performance comes at a high cost. As the cost-per-bit and scalability of DRAM levels off, this new SCM (or persistent memory) layer in the memory hierarchy addresses that issue with a high density, cost effective, non-volatile NAND flash memory solution. Poised for growth, industry analyst firm IDC estimates the SCM market is expected to reach in excess of $3B in 2022.

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.

SMART Modular Announces Rugged S5E SLC SSD

SMART Modular Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of SMART Global Holdings, Inc., (NASDAQ: SGH), and a leader in specialty memory, storage and hybrid solutions including memory modules, Flash memory cards and other solid state storage products, today announced a new addition to its SMART RUGGED product offering, the S5E 2.5" SATA SSD

The S5E SSD provides comprehensive encryption and security features such as quick erase, SMART's Security Data Elimination Technology (SDET) which meets current declassification standards, and erase triggers, making it an ideal data recording and storage tool for surveillance, defense and telemetry applications where data must remain secure or erased in mission-critical scenarios.
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