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Samsung launches latest SSD with 3D memory

Samsung launches latest SSD with 3D memory

Samsung launches latest SSD with 3D memory

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In Seoul, Samsung announced their latest SSD 850 Pro. It might just be a standard SATA drive, but it includes an innovative expansion method that stacks memory vertically to fit more gigabytes in the same space.

If SSDs are to completely replace traditional spinning platters for our mass storage needs, they need to start reaching over terabytes in size. To do this, you either need to tie a lot of NAND memory to the SSD, or have each memory chip itself have a higher capacity.

The traditional way to increase density is to scale back the production process — just like with CPUs and GPUs — but as size decreases, durability and performance begin to drop. Even if you’ve done the hard work of a smaller production process, the results may not be as pleasant when the new, slower chips start falling down more.

Samsung’s solution is to look it up. Instead of the traditional horizontal layout NAND design, they created 3D NAND chips, called V-NAND in Samspeak, which also added transistors vertically. Because they can be moved vertically and horizontally to increase density, the new 850 Pro SSDs don’t need to run the same 19nm memory as the 840 EVO drives.

The Samsung 850 Pro uses a larger 40nm production process, which means the NAND will be more performant and more consistent over time. It’s kind of like the holy grail of current SSDs.

The new drive is still a plain old SATA SSD, so it’s not much faster than current top-of-the-line solid-state drives, but thanks to the extra memory performance, the 850 Pro can saturate the SSD interface at minimal capacity. In current SSDs, the lower capacity drives (128GB types) are often a far cry from the speed of 512GB and 1TB drives. That doesn’t appear to be the case with the 850 Pro.

Obviously, with this new technology, Pro drives don’t come cheap. But this is V-NAND’s debut, and as the technology matures, we’ll see it trickle down to more affordable drives.

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Wilbert Wood
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