Toshiba Wants 128TB SSDs with QLC and BiCS by 2018

/ 9 years ago



Remember those 6TB and 8TB SSDs some vendors have planned for next year? You can ignore those, because pretty soon, we’re going to get drives that are going 16x as large. At least that is what Toshiba is planning on releasing in 2018. With capacities like those, hard drives will lose both the capacity and speed wars, relying solely on their price to compete. With enterprise 128TB drives being the norm then, maybe consumer grade drives will also benefit from a price drop as well.

In order to get to those unprecedented sizes, Toshiba is banking on two “new” developments, quad-level cell (QLC) and  BiCS (bit cost scalable) 3D NAND, to drop the price of flash enough to make these drives both possible technically and financially. It looks like price parity will be coming pretty close to on time if Toshiba and other NAND producers manage to master both QLC and BiCS .

Toshiba 128TB QLC Bics

QLC as the name implies allows NAND cells to store 4 bits per cell, doubling capacity over current MLC and adding 33% more over TLC. BiCS (bit cost scalable) 3D NAND is Toshiba and SanDisk’s 3D NAND offering with the stacking of layers to improve density without raising the cost too much. With 3D NAND, older processes can be used and more bits stuffed into each die. Combined with QLC, this can create pretty high density per die. The decreased performance and durability of QLC compared to MLC and TLC can also be partially offset by the use of 3D NAND.

Besides having to develop all new controllers to address all that capacity, Toshiba will probably have to make improvements throughout their SSDs. Datacenters will also have to figure out new ways to utilize such large SSDs and it’s possible a new connection protocol will have to be developed as well, though PCIe 4 might suffice. Even if there are some delays and technical difficulties, HDDs are going to have a hard time competing with these SSDs. Seagate and WD will have to hope HAMR does pan out or their business may soon end.

Thank you Nordic Hardware for providing us with this information 

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