Video: Seagate unveils new Barracuda SSD.
Samsung says it's made a storage breakthrough, announcing the start of its mass-production of the world's first four-bit or quad-level cell (QLC) SATA solid-state drives for consumers.
QLC tech, which allows one cell to hold four bits of data, has been available in enterprise storage from Toshiba for a little while.
But Samsung is bringing QLC tech to consumers for the first time and will be offering up to four-terabyte (TB) SATA solid-state drives (SSD) in 2.5-inch form factor devices.
The downside of moving up to four bits per memory cell, according to Samsung, is that makes it harder to maintain a device's performance and speed because the extra density would cause the electrical charge to fall by as much as half.
However, Samsung says its new SSDs are on par with the performance of its three-bit SSDs, achieved by using a three-bit SSD control, its TurboWrite technology, and boosting capacity by using 32 chips based on its 64-layer fourth-gen 1TB V-NAND chip.
Samsung boasts that its QLC SSDs will improve efficiency for consumer computing, including in smartphone storage where the 1TB four-bit V-NAND chip will allow it to efficiently churn out 128GB memory cards for smartphones.
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The new SSDs will offer 540MB per second sequential read speeds, and 520MB per second sequential write speeds and come with a three-year warranty.
Samsung is planning on releasing four-bit consumer SSDs later this year with 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities in the widely used 2.5-inch form factor.
As Samsung notes, this is a massive step up from the 32GB one-bit SSD it launched in 2006, followed by its two-bit 512GB SSDs in 2010, and three-bit or triple-level cell SSD in 2012.
Still, they're not quite as huge as its 30.72TB 2.5-inch SSDs it unveiled for the enterprise market earlier this year.
Samsung hasn't announced pricing yet or precise availability beyond saying "later this year".
The new consumer QLC SSDs follow Samsung's launch of its 970 PRO and EVO M.2 form factor SSD sticks available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB earlier in May.
For the enterprise, it's planning to begin mass production of the four-bit fifth-gen V-NAND M.2 NVMe SSDs later this year.
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