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Flash storage grows up with new EDSFF SSDs, denser 3D NAND

Carol Sliwa, Senior News Writer, SearchStorage|TechTarget 11 Nov 2020

Expansive new directions for flash memory technology shine brightly in the launch of 176-layer 3D NAND chips, EDSFF E1.S and Zoned Namespace SSDs, and computational storage drives.

Micron began its transition from floating gate to charge trap technology with 128-layer 3D NAND, and the new 176-layer fifth-generation 3D NAND is the second to use its replacement-gate architecture. The 176-layer 3D NAND is now in volume production and shipping to customers for consumer use, according to Micron.

Greg Wong, founder and principal analyst at Forward Insights, estimated that Micron is three to six months ahead of the competition. The maximum NAND layer count from other major NAND manufacturers ranges from 112 from Kioxia and Western Digital, to 128 from Samsung and SK Hynix, to 144 from Intel, he said. Intel recently disclosed plans to sell its NAND business to SK Hynix for $9 billion.

EDSFF vs. M.2 SSDs
Intel and Samsung have also been sampling E1.S SSDs, and startup Fadu Technology ships E1.S SSDs, according to Wong.

Zoned Storage from Western Digital
Wong said ZNS could be especially useful in enabling quad-level-cell (QLC) SSDs that suffer from poor random performance. Wong said.

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