Samsung unveils 15TB SSD based on densest flash memory

The new SSD is the world's highest capacity 2.5-in flash drive

Samsung has developed a 15.36TB solid-state drive (SSD) based on a 2.5-in. form factor, the same size drives used in today's laptops.

The new 15.36TB (model PM1633a) SSD was among a group of new SSDs Samsung unveiled at the Flash Memory Summit this week. While the other drives were touted in a statement from the company, the PM1633a was only mentioned during a keynote presentation by Samsung officials.

There are no details yet as to when with world's highest capacity 2.5-in SSD will be available, though some published reports have speculated it will be shipping next year. Three other new SSDs are available immediately, Samsung said.

While Samsung released few details about the PM1633a drive, it did say the drive is based on the company's latest 32GB (256Gbit), 3D Vertical NAND (V-NAND). That chip doubles the capacity of previous flash dies used by Samsung.

In 2014, Samsung became the first company to announce a 3D NAND flash chip with a 3-bit multi-level cell (MLC) architecture. In October, 2014, the company announced it was mass producing a 32-layer V-NAND chip.

Last week, Samsung announced it had begun mass producing a new 48-layer 3D chip for use in SSDs.

48 main Samsung

Samsung's new 48-layer V-NAND chips are now in mass production and are able to store more data than any other flash chip on the market today.

"By making full use of Samsung V-NAND’s excellent features, we will expand our premium-level business in the enterprise and data center market segments, as well as in the consumer market, while continuing to strengthen our strategic SSD focus," Young-Hyun Jun, president of Samsung Electronics memory business, said in a statement.

Three-dimensional NAND flash stacks layers of data-storing silicon like a microscopic skyscraper, creating a new pathway for the non-volatile memory market, which had been up against a wall in terms of scaling.

While Samsung may be the first to mass produce the 48-layer 3D NAND chips, it's not alone in developing them. Earlier this month, SanDisk and Toshiba announced that they preparing to manufacture 256Gbit, 3-bit-per-cell (X3) 48-layer 3D NAND flash chips that offer twice the capacity of their previously densest memory.

Three-dimensional NAND is the future of non-volatile memory, as several leading NAND flash makers have said they no longer plan on further reducing the process size of NAND flash beyond the current 15-nanometer lithography.

Samsung's new SSD lineup also includes the PM1633 (a lower capacity model than the PM1633a), the PM1725 and the PM953, all of which are designed for use by computer system manufacturers. Each of the three SSD models, however, is targeted for different uses within an enterprise. Those new SSDs are based on Samsung's 36-layer V-NAND technology.

The PM1633 is a 2.5-in, 12Gbps serial-attached SCSI (SAS) SSDs designed for enterprise-class storage systems in data centers. An SSD's designated use, however, doesn't preclude it from finding its way onto the open market for consumer use -- though prices for the SSD are likely to be in the thousands of dollars.

In contrast to the PM1633a, Samsung's PM1633 SSD will be offered in 480GB, 960GB, 1.92TB and 3.84TB versions.

The PM1633 delivers random read and write speeds of up to 160,000 and 18,000 input/output per second (IOPS) respectively, and boasts sequential read and write speeds of up to 1100MBps and 1000MBps.

Samsung's second flash drive model announced this week is the PM1725, which comes in an expansion card form factor with a blazingly fast random read rate of 1 million IOPS and 120,000 write IOPS. The PM1725 comes in 3.2TB or 6.4TB capacity models with a half-height, half-length NVMe PCIe SSD form factor.

The PM1725 is targeted at the highest enterprise storage applications, such as online transactional processing (OLTP) and online analytical processing (OLAP).

The PM1725 also boasts sequential read/write rates of up to to 5.5GBps and 1.8GBps -- speeds that would enable a user to save a 5GB video in less than three seconds.

The 6.4TB version of the PM1725 SSD boasts Samsung's best reliability rate as it's able to withstand up to five full drive writes per day for five years, which translates to writing a total of 32TBs per day during that time.

Samsung also announced its new PM953: an advanced NVMe SSD in both an M.2 (mini expansion card) and 2.5-in form factors; it offers up to 1.92TB of storage capacity.

The PM953 is an update to the company's first NVMe SSD, the SM951, which was introduced in only an M.2 form factor earlier this year.

The new PM953 is aimed at large-scale data centers and mobile workstations as well as ultra-slim notebook PCs and high-end desktops. The M.2 version will be offered with either 480GB or 960GB model and the 2.5-in version will be offered in 480GB, 960GB and 1.92TB capacities.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon