from the another-day-another-drive dept.
Samsung will use QLC NAND to create a 128 TB SSD:
For now, let's talk about the goods we'll see over the next year. The biggest news to come out of the new Samsung campus is QLC flash. Samsung's customers set performance and endurance specifications and don't care about the underlying technology as long as those needs are met. Samsung says it can achieve its targets with its first generation QLC (4-bits per cell) V-NAND technology.
The first product pre-announcement (it doesn't have a product number yet) is a 128TB SAS SSD using QLC technology with a 1TB die size. The company plans to go beyond 16 die per package using chip stacking technology that will yield 32 die per package, a flash industry record.
Previously: Seagate Demonstrates a 60 TB 3.5" SSD
Toshiba Envisions a 100 TB QLC SSD in the "Near Future"
Western Digital Announces 96-Layer 3D NAND, Including Both TLC and QLC
Toshiba's 3D QLC NAND Could Reach 1000 P/E Cycles
Seagate has put a new lower limit on the maximum amount of NAND flash that can be crammed into a 3.5" enclosure, by demonstrating a 60 TB solid state drive:
With the Nytro XP7200 moving toward production, Seagate has brought out another SSD tech demo with eye-catching specifications. The unnamed SAS SSD packs 60TB of 3D TLC into a 3.5" drive. In order to connect over a thousand dies of Micron's 3D TLC NAND to a single SSD controller, Seagate has introduced ONFi bridge chips to multiplex the controller's NAND channels across far more dies than would otherwise be possible. The rest of the specs for the 60TB SSD look fairly mundane and make for a drive that's better suited to read-intensive workloads, but the capacity puts even the latest hard drives to shame.
The 60TB SSD is currently just a technology demonstration, and won't be appearing as a product until next year. When it does, it will probably have a very tiny market, but for now it will give Seagate some bragging rights.
Previously: Seagate Unveils Fastest Ever Solid State Drive
Forget the 60 TB SSD. Toshiba is teasing a possible 100 TB SSD:
The Flash Memory Summit saw Toshiba deliver a presentation about quad level cell (QLC) technology – adding substantially to the prospect of a product being delivered in the "near future". We have heard about this QLC (4bits/cell NAND technology) quite recently.
After Seagate tantalised us with a 60TB SSD, along comes Toshiba with a 100TB QLC SSD concept.
Flash Memory Summit attendees saw Toshiba presenters put flesh on the bones and envisage a QLC 3D SSD with a PCIe gen 3 interface and more than 100TB of capacity. It would have 3GB/sec sequential read bandwidth and 1GB/sec sequential write bandwidth. It would do random reading and writing at 50,000 and 14,000 IOPS respectively. The active state power consumption would be 9 watts, the same as a 3.5-inch, 8TB SATA 6Gbit/s disk drive, while the idle power consumption be less than 100 mWatts, compared to the disk drive's 8 watts.
Even if the "near future" isn't so near, or the final capacity does not end up at around 100 TB, it is still interesting to see 3D NAND technology enabling a serious push for 4-bits-per-cell NAND, which would normally face endurance issues.
Western Digital has announced that it will begin production of 96-layer 3D NAND in 2018. It will make triple-level cell and quad-level cell NAND with die capacities ranging from 256 Gb to 1 Tb. QLC NAND is predicted to have 100-150 program/erase cycles (endurance) compared to about 1000 for TLC:
Given such endurance, it is logical to expect 3D QLC NAND to be used for primarily removable storage as well as for ultra-high capacity datacenter drives for the so-called near-WORM (write once read many) storage applications. For example, Toshiba last year discussed a QLC-based datacenter SSD with 100 TB capacity for WORM apps.
Western Digital plans to begin sampling of select 96-layer BiCS4 3D NAND configurations in the second half of this year, but the manufacturer does not specify which dies will sample when. As for mass production, Western Digital intends to start volume manufacturing of their 96-layer 256 Gb 3D NAND in 2018, with other dies to follow later. Based on Western Digital's announcements made earlier, the company will gradually introduce more sophisticated BiCS4 96-layer configurations in 2018 and 2019, before moving to BiCS5 sometimes in 2020. That said, it makes sense to expect the highest capacity BiCS4 ICs to ship later rather than sooner.
[BiCS = "Bit-Cost Scaling". Yes, it does not make sense to me, either. --Ed.]
Toshiba last week announced its first 3D NAND flash memory chips featuring [the] QLC (quadruple level cell) BiCS architecture. The new components feature 64 layers and developers of SSDs and SSD [controllers] have already received samples of the devices, which Toshiba plans to use for various types of storage solutions.
[...] Besides [its] intention to produce 768 Gb 3D QLC NAND flash for the aforementioned devices, the most interesting part of Toshiba's announcement is [the] endurance specification for the upcoming components. According to the company, its 3D QLC NAND is targeted for ~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 over the years. At first thought, it comes across [as] a typo - didn't they mean 100?. But the email we received was quite clear:
- What's the number of P/E cycles supported by Toshiba's QLC NAND?
- QLC P/E is targeted for 1K cycles.
Endurance miracle putting QLC on par with TLC, or idle talk about a product that won't be out for 1-2 years?
[Ed. note: If you're wondering what QLC NAND is, here's a quick primer.]
Additional Coverage: The guru of 3D
At Samsung's Tech Day event today in San Jose, the company shared their SSD roadmap for transitioning to 96-layer 3D NAND and introducing four bit per cell (QLC) NAND flash memory. Successors have been named for most of their current SSDs that use three bit per cell (TLC) NAND flash and are being updated with 96-layer 3D TLC, and new product lines using QLC NAND have been introduced.
[...] The enterprise SAS product line is not seeing any major changes to performance or available capacities, but the update from the PM1643 to the PM1643a does improve random write performance by about 20%. The largest model remains 30.72TB. The high-end enterprise NVMe drives are getting a major controller update that brings PCIe 4.0 support in addition to the NAND upgrade. This allows for much higher performance across the board, most notably with sequential read speeds reaching 8GB/s on the new PM1733 compared to 3.5GB/s on the PM1723b. The maximum available capacity has caught up to the SAS product line with the introduction of a 30.72TB model.
[...] Samsung also mentioned that in Q2 2019 they are planning to introduce a higher-performing 512Gb QLC die to complement their current 1Tb die. Samsung compared the performance of this new 512Gb die against an unspecified competitor's 1Tb QLC, claiming that Samsung's high-performance QLC will have 37% lower read latency and 45% lower program latency.
[...] The first products featuring the second generation of Samsung's low-latency Z-NAND flash memory will be the SZ1733 and SZ1735, high-end enterprise NVMe SSDs that differ primarily in the amount of overprovisioning. Samsung has announced that their second generation of Z-NAND will include a MLC version, but these drives are using the SLC version. Like the TLC-based PM1733, the new Z-NAND SSDs will also feature dual-port capability and PCIe 4.0 support. Sequential reads of up to 12GB/s are claimed, but this product line is all about random I/O, which Samsung hasn't detailed yet. Samsung demoed a 4TB model, significantly larger than the 800GB maximum for the first-generation SZ985.
Z-NAND (PDF) has lower latency than normal NAND, and could be compared to Intel and Micron's 3D XPoint.
Western Digital has started sampling its 96-layer 3D NAND chips featuring QLC architecture that stores four bits per cell. The chip happens to be the world's highest-capacity 3D NAND device. The company expects to commence volume shipments of this memory chip already this calendar year.
Western Digital's 96-layer BICS4 3D QLC NAND chip can store up to 1.33 Tb of raw data, or around 166 GB. The IC will be initially used for consumer products Western Digital sells under the SanDisk brand, so think of memory cards (e.g., high-capacity SD and microSD products), USB drives, and some other devices. The manufacturer expects its 3D QLD[sic] NAND memory to be used in a variety of applications, including retail, mobile, embedded, client, and enterprise, but does not elaborate on timing at this point.
The 1.33-Tb BICS4 IC is Western Digital's second-gen 3D QLC NAND device. Last year the company announced its BICS3 64-layer 3D QLC chips featuring a 768 Gb capacity, but it is unclear whether they have ever been used for commercial products. Meanwhile, it is clear that the device was used to learn about 3D QLC behavior in general (i.e., endurance, read errors, retention, etc.)
[...] What is noteworthy is that officially the BiCS4 range was to include both TLC and QLC ICs with capacities ranging from 256 Gb to 1 Tb, so the 1.33 Tb IC is a surprising addition to the lineup which signals Western Digital's confidence of its technology.
Recent products have been using 512 Gb per die NAND, with 768 Gb and 1 Tb on the horizon. Samsung's announced 128 TB SSD was supposed to use 1 Tb 3D QLC dies, so ~1.33 Tb dies could bring that capacity to about 170 TB. Given a couple more generations of NAND or some fancy die/package stacking, and we will probably see a 1 petabyte SSD.
64-layer 3D NAND is shipping, but the 256Gbit die will come and go rapidly. That's what makes this NAND cycle different. Many of the companies we've spoken to do not want to invest in products with such a limited shelf life. The 512Gbit die are right around the corner from the fabs. Some estimates put a major ramp up coming before mid year. The technology offers a 2x capacity increase while taking only a little more space on the wafer. The bits per wafer doesn't double, but it gets very close. The retail products coming in the second half of 2018 with have a heavy impact on SSD pricing. Some estimates from engineers we've spoken with put retail pricing on track for a 20% to 30% reduction over similar-capacity products shipping today.
Emerging technologies and form factors that reduce the material costs will also play a role. Toshiba Memory America showcased the new RC100 NVMe SSD that uses multi-chip packaging to cram the controller and flash in a single package.
Toshiba has described stacking 8-16 512 Gb dies with through silicon vias (TSVs) to create 512 GB and 1 TB packages. Samsung plans to stack 32 256 Gb dies to make 1 TB packages for an upcoming 128 TB SSD.
Previously: SK Hynix Plans 72-Layer 512 Gb NAND for Late 2017
SK Hynix Developing 96 and 128-Layer TLC 3D NAND
Intel First to Market With 64-Layer 3D NAND SSDs
Western Digital Announces 96-Layer 3D NAND, Including Both TLC and QLC
Toshiba's 3D QLC NAND Could Reach 1000 P/E Cycles
WD Announces 64-Layer 3D QLC NAND With 768 Gb Per Die, to be Shown at Flash Memory Summit
A couple of years ago, Samsung launched its first 4TB solid state drives, which might as well not have existed given their $1,499 asking price. Today, the company announces the commencement of mass production of a more — though it's too early to know exactly how much more — affordable variant with its 4TB QLC SSDs. The knock on QLC NAND storage has traditionally been that it sacrifices speed for an increased density, however Samsung promises the same 540MBps read and 520MBps write speeds for its new SSDs as it offers on its existing SATA SSD drives.
Describing this new family of storage drives, which will also include 1TB and 2TB variants, as consumer class, Samsung will obviously aim to price them at a level where quibbles about performance will be overwhelmed by the sheer advantage of having terabytes of space. Any concerns about the reliability of these drives should also be allayed by the three-year warranty promised by Samsung. The launch of the first drives built around these new storage chips is slated for later this year.
What's the endurance of QLC NAND again?
Also at Engadget.
Related: Toshiba's 3D QLC NAND Could Reach 1000 P/E Cycles
Samsung Announces a 128 TB SSD With QLC NAND
Micron Launches First QLC NAND SSD
Western Digital Samples 96-Layer 3D QLC NAND with 1.33 Tb Per Die