Samsung Starts Mass Production of 256bit V-NAND

With super large SSDs arriving for both consumers and enterprise, the ability to produce dense NAND dies is critical. As with all silicon products, a denser die means lower costs on the same wafer size as it means you can get more usable dies out of the same wafer if the dies are denser. Samsung looks to have raced ahead of its competitors with the mass production of 256 Gbit (32GB) 3D V-NAND dies.

Samsung has always been at the forefront of extracting more efficiency from their wafers with dense dies. They were the first to arrive at market with TLC dies and the first to get 3D NAND out. With the first 32GB 3D V-NAND, Samsung has the ability to offer cheaper NAND or to reap a larger margin. One major caveat though is that the 256 Gbit dies are actually TLC, which normally is slower but denser than the usual SLC or MLC and suffers from slower speeds and lower lifespan. This shouldn’t be an issue though as V-NAND TLC is just as fast as 2D MLC and the lifespan should be improved compared to 2D TLC.

Samsung likely plans to use these new dies in their tablet and smartphone lines where space and cost savings are always welcome. We can also expect the V-NAND to show up in the refresh of the 850 EVO TLC SSD lineup later on. With ever cheaper NAND, the 16GB tier of smartphones may soon disappear from flagship devices as NAND gets cheaper and cheaper; you can find the Samsung release here.

Samsung Unveils New Class of Solid State Drives for SMBs

Samsung have been incredibly successful with their 840 and 850 series of drives in the consumer market and the drives have been well received for their performance vs price ratio. But Samsung also makes drives for the more business oriented sector and they’ve just introduced the latest high-performance SATA solid state drives for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), the Samsung PM864 and SM863 SSDs.

The PM863 and SM863 solid state drives are the ideal solution for SMBs as they offer a much higher density in the 2.5-inch form factor which in return saves IT managers precious real estate in the data center without sacrificing power or performance.

The PM863 and SM863 deliver outstanding performance and reliability thanks to the V-NAND technology. The 3-bit MLC V-NAND-based PM863 is developed for mixed pattern applications and ideal for use in content delivery networks and streaming or Web servers. Alternatively, the write-intensive SM863 based on 2-bit MLC V-NAND is an optimal choice for online transaction processing (OLTP) and serves as an ideal choice for email and database servers.

There are plenty and great capacity choices in these two drive series. The Samsung PM863 comes in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1.9TB and 3.8TB capacities and offers sequential read speeds up to 540 MB/s and random read speeds of up to 99,000 IOPS.

The Samsung SM863 provides more options for configurable over-provisioning and is available in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, and 1.9TB capacities. It features read speeds up to 520 MB/s and write speeds up to 485 MB/s. Both drives will be available to SMBs in early August 2015 and are already available for the enterprise customers now.

The price isn’t all that bad, but it is of course a premium price over ordinary desktop drives such as the Samsung 850 series. The PM863 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1.92TB, and 3.84TB capacities have an MSRP of $124.99, $159.99, $289.99, $1099.99, and $2199.99 respectively. The SM863 drives will cost you $139.99, $179.99, $329.99, $869.99, and $1259.99 respectively for the 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB and 1.92TB drives.

Samsung Launches 2TB 850 Pro and 850 EVO SSDs

Super sized SSDs are not new as both SanDisk, Intel, as others have launched 2TB SATA SSDs already. However, those drives have all been enterprise or server oriented. Samsung has just announced the first 2TB consumer SSDs, with the new drives coming from the current 850 Pro and 850 EVO families. Pricing is set at $1000 and $800 respectively which in the grand scheme of things is quite reasonable. Of course, those prices are the MSRP and retail pricing will likely be different.

While the 840 and 840 EVO has experienced ongoing problems for a while, the 850 Pro and 850 EVO have not yet suffered any documented slowdown issues. Both the 850 Pro and Evo are based on Samsung’s 3D V-NAND technology, using MLC and TLC respectively. Most users will do fine with the EVO though the Pro has a longer warranty, more stated durability and is faster.  The 2TB drives are limited to 2.5 inch SATA for now, but M.2 and mSATA may be coming shortly.

While priced 8-10x more than a similar sized HDD, the speed increase of an SSD can be well worth it. For those needing lots of fast storage, the larger drives will reduce drive count, eliminate RAID difficulties and reduced shuffling of files. As HDDs start hitting a capacity wall, it offers a chance for SSDs to finally catch up. Maybe 2016 will be the year that SSDs and HDDs finally reach price parity. I for one, can’t wait till my entire system is on NAND.