Western Digital's new embedded flash drive is "5G market-ready"

As 5G networks roll out, Western Digital is introducing a new flash drive to help ensure storage isn't a bottleneck to performance on mobile devices.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Western Digital on Tuesday announced the iNAND EU521 embedded flash drive, a storage device that should allow smartphone and tablet users take full advantage of 5G connectivity. The new Universal Flash Storage (UFS) device meets a new hardware interface standard that should help mobile device makers ensure that storage isn't the bottleneck to performance on new devices. 

Specifically, the new drvie meets the JEDEC standard for UFS 3.1, which is tailored for mobile applications and computing systems requiring high performance and low power consumption. 

"Clearly, 5G will bring on new types of very high-performance applications – from gaming to AR/VR, machine learning and AI," Western Digital's Itzik Gilboa wrote in a blog post. "Yet these applications can only exist if they have the hardware to support the performance levels they require... Our goal is to make sure that our part in the data path is never the limiting factor for the user experience."

To meet the new UFS 3.1 storage standard, Western Digital's new drive implements Write Booster -- an approach to boosting write speeds that leverages SLC (single-level cell) NAND caching. Western Digital's SmartSLC caching technology supports the Write Booster implementation, enabling high performance even when the user fills their device to capacity. The new drive also uses multi-level NAND to achieve better cost efficiencies.

All told, the iNAND EU521 offers sequential write speeds up to 800MB/s, which should help users with gaming, downloading 4K and 8K media and transferring large files from the cloud. 

The drive will be available in March in 128 GB and 256 GB capacities.

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