Intel 710 SSD Prices Leaked

Subject: Storage | August 8, 2011 - 11:34 AM |
Tagged: ssd, nand, mlc, Intel, 710

According to VR-Zone, Intel's newest enterprise series 710 Lyndonville solid state drives (SSD) will be launching soon in a mid-august time frame, and will be carrying a price-per-gigabyte metric that only a corporate expense account could love.

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The Intel 311.  The 710 series will have the same 2.5" form factor.

The new drives will come in 100GB, 200GB, and 300GB capacities and will be priced at approximately $650, $1250, and $1900 USD respectively.  Featuring 25mm eMLC HET, the drives feature 64MB of cache, user-controllable over-provisioning up to 20% (which helps drive longevity by reserving more of the drive for replacement of worn out cells), and a SATA II 3.0Gbps connection.  The SATA 3Gbps connection is not likely to bottleneck the drive as it will only feature 270MB/s read and 210MB/s write speeds.

The eMLC HET flash chips are higher quality MLC chips that Intel hopes will provide enterprise level SLC enduring without the higher cost of the SLC chips.  Interestingly, the drives only carry a 3 year warranty that is then further impacted by the state of the E9 wear level indicator so that the warranty expires once the three years are up or the E9 indicator reaches 1, whichever comes first.  The consumer grade Intel 320 drives on the other hand carry a longer 5 year warranty.

My aging X-25 drive remembers the days when Intel pushed for driving down the cost of SSDs; however, does Intel still remember that goal?

Source: VR-Zone

Samsung Develops 64Gb MLC NAND Flash at 20nm, Promises Lots of Storage With High Bandwidth

Subject: Storage | May 21, 2011 - 02:00 AM |
Tagged: ssd, nand, mlc

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Samsung recently began production on new 20nm MLC NAND flash memory chips with densities of 64Gb (Gigabit) and a toggle DDR 2.0 interface. The chips are not only twice as dense as their previous NAND chips, but Samsung also claims that they are capable of 400Mbps of bandwidth.

This 400Mbps bandwidth is thanks to a new toggle DDR 2.0 interface, which purports to bring a three times performance increase over the 133Mbps of bandwidth provided by the older toggle DDR1 interface with 32Gb NAND chips. Samsung further states that the new 64Gb MLC NAND chip offers close to a 50% increase in productivity versus 20nm 32Gb MLC NAND with a toggle DDR 1.o interface that Samsung began producing in April 2010.

The press release also states that:

"According to IHS iSuppli, the worldwide NAND flash memory market will continue to steadily grow from approximately 11 billion 1 Gigabyte (GB) equivalent unitsin 2010 to 94 billion 1GB equivalent units in 2015 with a CAGR of 54 percent. In addition, shipments of NAND flash memory with 64Gb or higher density are expected to account for approximately 70 percent of total NAND flash memory shipments in 2012, a huge increase from the three percent level in 2010."

The NAND flash market is certainly seeing rapid growth and technological progression, with the proliferation of SSDs from Intel, OCZ, Crucial, and others. As densities of flash memory get higher and manufacturing nodes get smaller, cheaper and more spacious storage will make it's way to both future mobile devices and solid state drives, which is good news for both consumers and Samsung.

Source: Samsung

Next gen SSD controllers pushing for TLC flash

Subject: Storage | April 27, 2011 - 07:06 PM |
Tagged: tlc, ssd, slc, ocz, mlc, flash

A while back, Intel and Micron jointly announced the beginnings of 20nm flash memory production, promising a 50% increase in die count per wafer (or a 50% reduction in per die production cost, depending on how you slice it). This shrink only did just that - shrink the die. Capacity remained at 64Gbit (8GB).

A few days ago IMFT also announced another way to shrink that die, but this time keeping with the now 'old' 25nm process. It turns out they have refined 25nm to the point where consumer-grade TLC flash can be produced. TLC is Triple-Level-Cell. While SLC (Single) holds 1 bit per cell, and MLC (Multi) holds two, TLC holds 3 bits per cell. Compared to the MLC 25nm dies, this gives a capacity increase without changing much else. IMFT, however, is happy with the 8GB 'sweet spot', so instead of jumping to a 12GB die of the same physical size, they are opting to instead shrink the current 25nm die to 131mm^2.

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25nm TLC die, same 8GB capacity, but less area than the 25nm MLC die.

This gives Intel and Micron two options for ultimately reducing the price of flash - either by shrinking the process and getting more 8GB MLC dies out of a 20nm wafer, or by squeezing more bits into each cell of existing 25nm flash.

This is good stuff. Let's hope it gets even more SSD's into even more machines this holiday season.