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Toshiba Now Shipping Samples of 64-Layer, 512-gigabit 3D Flash Memory

Toshiba Corporation has today unveiled the latest addition in its industry-leading line-up of BiCS FLASH three-dimensional flash memory with a stacked cell structure, a 64-layer device that achieves a 512-gigabit (64-gigabytes) capacity with 3-bit-per-cell (triple-level cell, TLC) technology. The new device will be used in applications that include enterprise and consumer SSD. Sample shipments of the chip started this month, and mass production is scheduled for the second half of this calendar year.

Toshiba continues to refine BiCS FLASH, and the next milestone on its development roadmap is the industry's largest capacity, a 1-terabyte product with a 16-die stacked architecture in a single package. Plans call for the start of sample shipments in April 2017. For the new 512-gigabit device, Toshiba deployed leading-edge 64-layer stacking process to realize a 65% larger capacity per unit chip size than the 48-layer 256-gigabit (32-gigabytes) device, and has increased memory capacity per silicon wafer, reducing the cost per bit.

Death By a Thousand Cuts: Toshiba to Sell Majority of its Semiconductor Business

Toshiba may not be dead in the water just yet, but news are dire for the company. After the company confirmed it was looking to spin-off its NAND production business so as to sell a minority, 20% stake for much-needed liquidity in the face of amounting debt and multiple management mistakes, reports now announce a much more aggressive stance from the company. It is now apparently looking to sell a majority stake (60%) on the spin-off, in the face of escalating costs and dwindling prospective chances.

Toshiba Starts Construction of Fab 6 and Memory R&D Center at Yokkaichi, Japan

Toshiba Corporation today announced that it has started construction of a new state-of-the-art semiconductor fabrication facility, Fab 6, and a new R&D center, the Memory R&D Center, at Yokkaichi Operations in Mie prefecture, Japan, the company's main memory production base.

Fab 6 will be dedicated to production of BiCS FLASH, Toshiba's innovative 3D Flash memory. Like Fab 5, construction will take place in two phases, allowing the pace of investment to be optimized against market trends, with completion of Phase 1 scheduled for summer 2018. Toshiba will determine installed capacity and output targets and schedules by closely monitoring the market.

Toshiba Announces First MN Series HDDs

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC), a committed technology leader, today announces its first MN Series HDDs, bridging the value gap between top-end enterprise capacity HDDs and entry-level desktop HDDs, while still delivering 7,200RPM rotational latency performance. The MN series delivers up to 8TB capacity in a 3.5-inch form factor for a broad range of file and object storage applications. With a 6 Gbit/s SATA interface, 7,200 rotational speed, 1,000,000 hour MTTF rating, and a rated annual workload of 180TB transferred, the new HDD series delivers the performance and reliability needed for file and object storage workloads that typically utilize sequential data transfer operations. The drives are designed for 24/7 power-on operation and feature rotational vibration compensation technology to help provide consistent performance in tower and low-density style multi-drive enclosures, such as small NAS platforms.

"Many customers with predominantly file-oriented and fixed-content sequential write and read workloads are looking for cost-effective capacity for moderate workload storage applications," said Scott Wright, director of HDD marketing at Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. With our new MN Series HDD models we are providing a workload range within the high workload data center work-horse Enterprise Capacity HDDs and relatively low workloads associated with client HDD models."

WD Announces Pilot Production of World's First 64-Layer 512 Gb TLC NAND

Toshiba may be in the ropes for now, but WD, one of its foremost partners (mainly due to its SanDisk acquisition) and most interested party in Toshiba's NAND spin-off efforts, has just announced that it is world first in actually producing a 64-Layer 512 Gb TLC NAND die. WD is developing and producing this 64-layer NAND at its Yokkaichi, Japan fab which it operates alongside - you guessed it - Toshiba, under their joint Flash Forward venture, though there is no indication as to when the new dies will hit full production. The addition of the latest BiCS3 iteration indicates that, despite its recent challenges and snags, Toshiba continues to execute on its semiconductor roadmap, which is certain to be a boon in keeping the value of its NAND production capabilities in the face of the confirmed spin-off and sell-off of a 20% stake on its NAND production business.

There has been some difficulty in achieving any significant ramp-up in 3D NAND production over at the WD-Toshiba venture, with WD having announced a 256 Gb version of the same BiCS 3 technology it employs on the new 512 Gb die last year, to no considerable volume of production. That's one of the reasons for the current NAND shortage and price rises, among other factors, so let's hope all goes well in this ramp up. If all goes well, 1 TB SSD's with 512 Gb TLC NAND dies for $150?

NVM Express Elects Facebook and Toshiba to Board

NVM Express, Inc., the organization that developed the NVM Express specification for accessing solid-state drives (SSDs) on a PCI Express (PCIe) bus, today announced the results of its recent board elections. Elected to Promoter positions were Facebook, Micron, Microsoft, Samsung, Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital. Facebook and Toshiba are new to the Promoter level, and the others are incumbents. The election winners join existing Promoters Cisco, Dell EMC, Intel, Microsemi, NetApp and Oracle, whose current terms expire at the end of 2017.

Representatives from the 13 Promoter companies form the NVM Express, Inc. Board of Directors, which governs the organization, including setting strategic direction. All Contributor and Promoter member companies are eligible to run for Promoter positions, where there are elections each year for roughly half the positions.

"We're very pleased to welcome Toshiba and Facebook to the NVM Express, Inc. Board, to help shape the future direction of NVM Express technology and the organization," said Amber Huffman, NVM Express President. "In 2016, we marked major milestones, such as publishing the NVM Express over Fabrics specification. We look forward to publishing revision 1.3 in the first half of this year - with much more to come later in 2017."

Backblaze's 2016 HDD Failure Stats Revealed: HGST the Most Reliable

Backblaze has just revealed their HDD failure rates statistics, with updates regarding 2016's Q4 and full-year analysis. These 2016 results join the company's statistics, which started being collected and collated in April 2013, to shed some light on the most - and least reliable - manufacturers. A total of 1,225 drives failed in 2016, which means the drive failure rate for 2016 was just 1.95 percent, a improving over the 2.47 percent that died in 2015 and miles below the 6.39 percent that hit the garbage bin in 2014.

Organizing 2016's failure rates by drive size, independent of manufacturer, we see that 3 TB hard drives are the most reliable (with 1,40% failure rates), with 5 TB hard drives being the least reliable (at a 2,22% failure rate). When we organize the drives by manufacturer, HGST, which powers 34% (24,545) of the total drives (71,939), claims the reliability crown, with a measly 0,60% failure rate, and WDC bringing up the rear on reliability terms, with an average 3,88% failure rate, while simultaneously being one of the least represented manufacturers, with only 1,626 HDDs being used from the manufacturer.

Source: Backblaze

Toshiba Confirms Spin Off of Its NAND Flash Production Business

After some reports pegged this event has likely and upcoming, Toshiba has now confirmed that they will be spinning off their NAND production business, whilst simultaneously parting with a 20% minority stake on the resulting business. This would inject Toshiba's coffers with enough liquidity to keep the company afloat, whilst letting them keep a hold of their most profitable business.

While details are still scarce (namely regarding the structuring of this spin off and who will be the investor to buy the reported 20% stake that Toshiba is willing to part with (with it most likely being Western Digital, as we've mentioned in our previous piece), the company has announced that they want to complete the transaction by the end of this quarter, March 31st.

Toshiba to Spin-off NAND Production; WD to be Main Beneficiary

In an AMD-like move to generate more short-term liquidity so as to strengthen its somewhat precarious position, Toshiba may be moving towards one of the most interesting shakeups in the NAND production field: a possible spin-off of its NAND production business into a separate company.

This move to restructure comes in the wake of recent snags and strategic mistakes for the company - such as the $1.2 billion dollar accounting "misstated" earnings, which created difficulties for the company to refinance itself in the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Also not negligible was a gross miscalculation on the amount of debt of the CB&I Stone and Webster company that Toshiba acquired so as to facilitate its U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric nuclear plant subsidiary investment. This "miscalculation", where Toshiba considered the "goodwill" booking charges at $87 million, where recently restated as a roughly-defined "several billion U.S. dollars."

Plextor Details Release Availability of their M8Se NVMe TLC SSDs

At CES 2017, Plextor announced their next SSD product line. Dubbed the M8Se, these will be restricted to NVMe SSDs with 15nm 3-bit-per-cell TLC of Toshiba manufacture, ranging from 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and 1TB capacities leveraged by Marvell's Eldora controller.

The new mid-range NVMe SSD uses a new heatsink design (slight cost-reduction when compared with the one the M8Pe carries), that Plextor says will improve cooling by up to 20% - convenient, since throttling does happen with NVMe based SSDs - and particularly with Marvell's Eldora controller - as it did with Plextor's M8Pe line of SSDs. The card also features blue accent lighting. Plextor will also sell a heatsink-less M8PeGN model in the M.2 form factor.

Toshiba BG Series M.2 NVMe SSDs are Really Small

Toshiba showed off its new BG Series M.2 SSDs, which will grab your attention for being quite small. Measuring 16 mm x 20 mm, these drives are shorter than the shortest (30 mm) M.2 length standard. They still take advantage of the PCI-Express 3.0 x2 interface, and the NVMe protocol. At the heart of this drive is Toshiba's BiCS Flash, a multi-chip module that combines stacked TLC NAND flash memory with an SSD controller into one package. The drives come in capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB. Toshiba is also separately selling these drives as chip-only, to notebook manufacturers, so they can solder them directly onto the mainboards of their low-cost ultra-portable notebooks.

SSD Pricing to Surge on the Back of NAND Shortages - Stock Your SSD Needs

Business. Business never changes. Whether you're for Keynes or Hayek, some truths just can't be escaped: and the one based on the market tending to equilibrium between the forces of supply and demand is oft times almost akin to a law of physics - other times, not so much. This time, it appears as if the market forces are steering NAND prices through the roof. The causes? Varied, though you probably carry one of them in your pocket most of the time. We earlier reported surging prices in the DRAM market, spurred by the Note 7 fiasco and increased production of that smartphone's competitors (and Samsung's own products) to fill the gaping hole left by its forcible market removal. But not only by DRAM are smartphones powered - they also make use of NAND flash.

Toshiba Announces New-Generation Supreme+ eMMC Flash Storage

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC) has enhanced its lineup of managed NAND devices with the addition of new Embedded Multimedia Card (e-MMC) and Universal Flash Storage (UFS) embedded memory solutions. Featuring enhanced integrated controller technologies, the new 'Supreme+' e-MMC (JEDEC ver. 5.1) and UFS (JEDEC ver. 2.1) offerings deliver significant read and write speed improvements to demanding applications.

In contrast to raw NAND flash memory solutions, e-MMC and UFS devices integrate NAND flash memory and a controller chip in a single package. This saves space and relieves host processors of the burden of key memory management functions including bad block management, error correction, wear leveling, and garbage collection. As a result, e-MMC and UFS devices simplify design when compared to standalone memory ICs with a standard NAND flash interface.

Global PCle SSD Market to Grow 33.24% by 2020

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global PCle SSD Market 2016-2020" report to their offering. The report forecast the global peripheral component interconnect express (PCIe) SSD market to grow at a CAGR of 33.24% during the period 2016-2020. The report has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market.

According to the report, need for managed service data centers will be a key driver for market growth. It is advantageous for an enterprise to operate a colocation facility rather than to build a data center. Data center colocation allows enterprises to rent computing storage, servers, and network. It enables minimal utilization of power and bandwidth and enhances the security of enterprise IT equipment.

Toshiba Expands 24nm SLC NAND Flash Lineup to Address Industrial Applications

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC) has expanded its family of 24nm single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash memory solutions. The new 16 gigabit (Gb) BENAND is housed in an industry-standard 48-pin TSOP package, and offers a combination of high read/write performance, effective write endurance (using 8-bit BCH error correction code), and extended temperature operation. This makes it suitable for a wide variety of commercial and industrial applications.

The new addition rounds out Toshiba's broad SLC product lineup, allowing designers to take advantage of the price/performance of advanced 24nm NAND flash SLC technology at densities from 1Gb to 128Gb. Based on a 4x4Gb die, 16Gb BENAND operates from a power supply of 2.7V to 3.3V with a temperature range of -40°C to 85°C. Many industrial applications have a long life expectancy. Toshiba designed BENAND with this in mind. With the ability to replace older generations of discrete SLC NAND, BENAND extends the product life of everything from telecom applications and LCD TVs to robots and printers - while also potentially reducing BOM costs.

Toshiba OCZ Announces the VX500 Series Performance SSDs

Toshiba company OCZ today announced the new VX500 line of performance SSDs in the 2.5-inch form-factor, featuring SATA 6 Gb/s interface. The drives are based on a new-generation platform by OCZ's parent company Toshiba. The drives combine Toshiba TC358790 controller with 15 nm MLC NAND flash memory chips by Toshiba. The drives come in capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB, and offer price/GB comparable to TLC NAND flash-based drives; yet with performance comparable to high-end MLC NAND flash drives.

All four variants offer up to 550 MB/s sequential reads. The 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB variants offer up to 485 MB/s, 510 MB/s, 515 MB/s, and 515 MB/s of sequential writes, respectively. Random access performance is rated around 90,000 IOPS reads, with up to 65,000 IOPS writes. The 128 GB variant is priced at US $63.99, the 256 GB variant at $92.79, the 512 GB variant at $152.52, and the 1 TB variant at $337.06. The drives are backed by 5-year warranty. Acronis TrueImage disk cloning software comes included.
Read our review of the VX500 512GB here.

Toshiba Announces New BG SSDs with 3-Bit-Per-Cell (TLC) BiCS Flash

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC), a committed technology leader, will showcase its new BG series solid state drive (SSD) family featuring cutting-edge BiCS FLASH with 3-bit-per-cell TLC (triple-level cell) technology and Toshiba's new single-package ball grid array (BGA) NVMe PCI Express (PCIe) Gen3 x2 SSD at the 2016 Flash Memory Summit held in Santa Clara, California between August 8 - 11. Delivering a smaller footprint, lower power consumption and better performance than traditional storage options, the BG SSD series is purpose-built for the future wave of ultra-thin mobile PCs, including 2-in-1 convertible notebooks and tablets.

With a surface area 95 percent smaller than conventional 2.5-inch SATA storage devices and 82 percent smaller than M.2 Type 22806, the Toshiba BG series condenses both the controller and NAND flash memory in a single 16 mm x 20 mm BGA package enabling device manufacturers to prioritize features like battery capacity for longer operating times. The BG series is also available mounted on a M.2 Type 22307 module for applications requiring socketed storage. BG SSDs utilize BiCS FLASH, a three-dimensional (3D) stacked cell structure, making it possible to accommodate up to 512 GB of storage capacity in this high-performance and compact form factor. Additionally, the BG series SSDs utilize an in-house Toshiba-developed controller and firmware for a full, vertically developed solution, ensuring technology is tightly integrated for optimal performance, power consumption and reliability.

Western Digital Announces World's First 64-Layer 3D NAND Technology

Western Digital Corp. today announced that it has successfully developed its next generation 3D NAND technology, BiCS3, with 64 layers of vertical storage capability. Pilot production of the new technology has commenced in the Yokkaichi, Japan joint venture facilities and initial output is expected later this year. Western Digital expects meaningful commercial volumes of BiCS3 in the first half of calendar 2017.

"The launch of the next generation 3D NAND technology based on our industry-leading 64 layer architecture reinforces our leadership in NAND flash technology," said Dr. Siva Sivaram, executive vice president, memory technology, Western Digital. "BiCS3 will feature the use of 3-bits-per-cell technology along with advances in high aspect ratio semiconductor processing to deliver higher capacity, superior performance and reliability at an attractive cost. Together with BiCS2, our 3D NAND portfolio has broadened significantly, enhancing our ability to address a full spectrum of customer applications in retail, mobile and data center."

Toshiba and Western Digital Celebrate the Opening of New Fab 2 in Japan

Toshiba Corporation and Western Digital Corporation today celebrated the opening of the New Fab 2 semiconductor fabrication facility located in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan. Expanded use of flash memory in smartphones, SSDs, and other applications is driving continued growth of the global flash memory market. The New Fab 2 facility will support the conversion of the companies' 2D NAND capacity to 3D flash memory, allowing realization of solutions offering higher densities and better device performance.

Construction of New Fab 2 began in September 2014. Following partial completion of the facility in October 2015, Toshiba and SanDisk (acquired in May 2016 by Western Digital Technologies Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Digital Corporation) worked together to implement leading-edge manufacturing capabilities for mass production of 3D flash memory, and first-phase production started in March of this year. The parties intend to further invest to expand production capacity over time, depending on market conditions.

Plextor Also Unveils M8Pe Series PCIe SSDs

Plextor also unveiled the M8Pe lines of SSDs that take advantage of the 32 Gb/s PCIe interface. These include the M.2-2280 form-factor M8PeG series, and the PCI-Express add-on card form-factor M8PeY series. Both drives come in sizes of 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB; and are driven by Marvell 88SS1093 series processors, wired to Toshiba-made MLC NAND flash memory.

The 128 GB variants of both drives offer up to 1,600 MB/s reads, with up to 500 MB/s writes, with up to 120,000/130,000 IOPS R/W 4K random access; the 256 GB variants offer up to 2,000 MB/s reads with up to 900 MB/s writes, and 210,000/230,000 IOPS random access; the 512 GB variants offer up to 2,300 MB/s reads with up to 1,300 MB/s writes, and 260,000/250,000 IOPS random access; while the 1 TB variants lead the pack with up to 2,500 MB/s reads, up to 1,400 MB/s writes, and 280,000/240,000 IOPS random access.

Plextor EP2 Series M.2 and U.2 SSDs Pictured

Plextor unveiled the EP2 line of SSDs that take advantage of 32 Gb/s PCIe, and come in two form-factors, M.2-22110 and U.2 2.5-inch. Both drives combine a Marvell-made processor with up to 1 GB of DDR3 DRAM caches, and Toshiba-made 15 nm MLC NAND flash. Both drives support the ATA protocol. The M.2-22110 drive comes in 960 GB capacity, and offers sequential transfer rates of up to 2,200 MB/s reads, with up to 800 MB/s writes, up to 270,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 150,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The company didn't put out performance numbers for the U.2 variant. We did manage to get some up-close pics of its PCB, though, revealing a rich array of capacitors that could amount to power-outage protection.

Klevv Urbane U610 SSD Pictured

Here's the first picture of an Urbane 610 SSD by Klevv, in the flesh. The performance-segment SSD is built in the 2.5-inch form-factor, with SATA 6 Gb/s interface, and serves up 560 MB/s of sequential reads, with up to 530 MB/s sequential writes (480 GB and 960 GB variants) or up to 360 MB/s writes (240 GB variant). It combines Toshiba 15 nm MLC NAND flash memory, with Phison PS3110-S10 controllers.

OCZ Shows Off VT180 and TR150 2.5-inch SATA SSDs

OCZ is refining its popular consumer SSD brands to reach out to more buyers. As part of the integration with Toshiba, they rebranded their consumer SSD lines, to VT180, and the TR150, which more closely aligns with Toshiba's SSD model naming. Besides the naming, both drives are identical to the Vector 180 and Trion 150. The VT180 comes in capacities ranging from 120 GB to 960 GB, and is powered by Toshiba-made MLC NAND flash. These drives offer sequential transfer rates of up to 550 MB/s reads, with up to 530 MB/s writes, and 96,000 IOPS 4K random reads, with 90,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The TR150, on the other hand, runs TLC NAND flash memory, and although its maximum sequential speeds are rated the same as the VT180 series, their 4K random access numbers are different - 87,000 IOPS reads, and 83,000 IOPS writes.

Toshiba-Samsung Stops Manufacturing Optical Drives

The Toshiba-Samsung consortium TSST (Toshiba-Samsung Storage Technology) has reportedly stopped production of optical drives. TSST manufactured CDRW+DVDR, DVDRW+BDR, and BDRW drives under the Samsung brand. Samsung and Toshiba co-founded TSST in 2004 to manufacture optical drives under the Samsung brand name, and to make unbranded OEM optical drives for use in Toshiba and Samsung branded notebooks.

Samsung had to partner with Toshiba as it held the requisite optical disc technology licenses and patents. LG Electronics similarly partnered with Hitachi, another founding-member of several optical disc standard SIGs, to make up HL-DT (Hitachi-LG Data-Storage Technology), and sell drives under the LG brand. Speaking to KitGuru, a TSST sales manager stated "it's true that TSST(Samsung ODD) stopped production from Mid-April." All is not over for TSST, though. "We will continue the ODD business aggressively to obtain about 50% of market share," and will "release a new ODD to the market," he added.

Source: KitGuru

Lite-On Unveils Mu-II Series Solid-state Drives

Lite-On unveiled the Mu-II line of consumer SSDs. Built in the 2.5-inch form-factor with SATA 6 Gb/s interface, the drives come in capacities of 120 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB. The drives feature Toshiba-made 15 nm TLC NAND flash memory. The 480 GB variant offers sequential speeds of up to 555 MB/s reads with 520 MB/s writes; the 240 GB and 480 GB variants, and up to 500 MB/s reads with up to 360 MB/s writes for the 120 GB variant. Standard features include TRIM and NCQ. The drives will be backed by 3-year warranties.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara
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