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Samsung Starts Mass Production of 'First 4-Bit Consumer SSD'

08 August 2018

You can get a ton of storage for your new laptop - but you'll probably have to pay an arm and a leg for it. Putting a 4TB SSD in the new MacBook Pro immediately adds $3,200 to the cost, for example. Samsung says its 4-bit quad-level cells (QLC) drives will have the same or better performance as 3-bit SSDs thanks to a 3-bit controller and "TurboWrite" technology. If so, here's some good news from Samsung. This makes it hard to maintain desired performance and speed.

In addition, Samsung discloses that it will make use of the same technology "to efficiently produce a 128GB memory card for smartphones that will lead the charge toward higher capacities for high-performance memory storage".

'Samsung's new 4-bit SATA SSD will herald a massive move to terabyte-SSDs for consumers, ' said Jaesoo Han, executive vice president of memory sales & marketing at Samsung Electronics.

With the amount of data being stored in each cell increasing from three bits to four, performance and speed of the new SSDs were expected to decrease.

The use of the widespread SATA standard over newer but still less-common Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) connectivity, though, means that said performance is distinctly mid-tier in the wider market: Samsung's internal testing claims a sequential read speed of 540MB/s and a sequential write speed of 520MB/s, fast enough as SATA drives go but considerably below the gigabyte-per-second-plus of NVMe equivalents. To truly spark the spread of 4TB SSDs among consumers, Samsung will need to drive the price down in a significant way, and that's what the company is aiming to do with its mass production.

Samsung hasn't released official pricing for the in-production drives, but its 4TB 860 Evo is now selling for over $1,000. Pricing and release information wasn't mentioned in today's announcement, but we'll keep our ears to the ground for more.

Samsung Starts Mass Production of 'First 4-Bit Consumer SSD'