FMS 2014: Samsung announces 3D TLC VNAND, Storage Intelligence initiative

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | August 5, 2014 - 01:19 PM |
Tagged: FMS, vnand, tlc, ssd, Samsung, FMS 2014, Flash Memory Summit

Just minutes ago at the Flash Memory Summit, Samsung announced the production of 32-layer TLC VNAND:

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This is the key to production of a soon-to-be-released 850 EVO, which should bring the excellent performance of the 850 Pro, with the reduced cost benefit we saw with the previous generation 840 EVO. Here's what the progression to 3D VNAND looks like:

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3D TLC VNAND will look identical to the right most image in the above slide, but the difference will be that the charge stored has more variability. Given that Samsung's VNAND tech has more volume to store electrons when compared to competing 2D planar flash technology, it's a safe bet that this new TLC will come with higher endurance ratings than those other technologies. There is much more information on Samsung's VNAND technology on page 1 of our 850 Pro review. Be sure to check that out if you haven't already!

Another announcement made was more of an initiative, but a very interesting one at that. SSDs are generally dumb when it comes to coordinating with the host - in that there is virtually no coordination. An SSD has no idea which pieces of files were meant to be grouped together, etc (top half of this slide):

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Stuff comes into the SSD and it puts it where it can based on its best guess as to how it should optimize those writes. What you'd want to have, ideally, is a more intelligent method of coordination between the host system and the SSD (more like the bottom half of the above slide). Samsung has been dabbling in the possibilities here and has seen some demonstrable gains to be made. In a system where they made the host software aware of the SSD flash space, and vice versa, they were able to significantly reduce write latency during high IOPS activity.

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The key is that if the host / host software has more control over where and how data is stored on the SSD, the end result is a much more optimized write pattern, which ultimately boosts overall throughput and IOPS. We are still in the experimentation stage on Storage Intelligence, with more to follow as standards are developed and the industry pushes forward.

It might be a while before we see Storage Intelligence go mainstream, but I'm definitely eager to see 3D TLC VNAND hit the market, and now we know it's coming! More to follow in the coming days as we continue our live coverage of the Flash Memory Summit!

August 5, 2014 | 08:30 PM - Posted by Fishbait

Very interesting, I wonder what process they will produce it on. I'm assuming 30nm considering that is where the Pro is at and shrinking them might mean changing things to get the yields up?

August 5, 2014 | 09:31 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

VNand essentially blows all other competitors out of the water. After studying the spec why would you want anything else? It's like all the other vendors might as well be lepers at this point trying to hawk their diseased fingers.

On topic, I am eagerly awaiting the following dream drive from Samsung:

4TB of SLC VNAND
Mounted on a 8x PCI 3.0 card
Communicating with the CPU over NVMe

Let's see some progress Sammy.

August 6, 2014 | 04:34 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

For $500. ;-)

August 6, 2014 | 10:17 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Samsung 3D TLC 850 Evo 2TB @ $599 and I will flip the fuck out like an audience member on Oprah.

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