Western Digital Releases 3D QLC NAND

Western Digital is a traditional hard disk drive manufacturer. That changed with the SanDisk purchase last year. Along with the sizable flash memory business, WD also picked up a partnership with Toshiba. Earlier, Toshiba announced their new 3bit 3D Quad Level Cell NAND. Following along, Western Digital is also announcing their own 3D QLC NAND based on the same BICS3 architecture.

QLC NAND  or Quad Level Cell is currently the densest commercial NAND you can get using any given manufacturing process. At the top, we have SLC which stores 1 bit per cell while MLC doubles that to 2 bits and TLC to 3 bits. SLC only needs to manage one voltage level, MLC 4 levels and TLC 8 levels. Once you get to QLC, you’re managing 4 bits and 16 different voltage levels. Due to the greater level of voltage differentiation, performance and endurance are worse than MLC and TLC. This has meant QLC has largely been regulated to slower devices like flash drives or low-intensity operations.

Western Digital QLC Claims TLC Comparable Performance

Just like the Toshiba BICS3 768Gb QLC 3D NAND, Western Digital is producing 96GB dies. This means a 256GB SSD would only need 3 dies to function after over-provisioning. Interestingly, Western Digital is not claiming any specific P/E numbers. However, the Toshiba numbers of about 1000 cycles compared to regular 100-150 of 2D QLC is likely correct. What Western Digital is claiming is comparable performance to 3D TLC.

If these claims hold true, QLC may be the go to NAND for future budget SSDs. For one, it would go a long way to solving the NAND shortage with ever denser dies. Once BICS4 gets QLC, we can expect even better prices as well. The only downside is with fewer NAND dies, performance for low-end drives will drop. Hopefully, the industry will simply shift to higher capacity drives as standard.

Samuel Wan

Samuel joined eTeknix in 2015 after becoming engrossed in technology and PC hardware. With his passion for gaming and hardware, tech writing was the logical step to share the latest news with the world. When he’s not busy dreaming about the latest hardware, he enjoys gaming, music, camping and reading.

Disqus Comments Loading...

Recent Posts

AOC Gaming 24G2SP – 24 Inch FHD Monitor

The AOC 24G2SP's 165 Hz refresh rate, 1 ms MPRT and FreeSync Premium support eliminate…

1 hour ago

AOC 24B3HM – 23.8 Inch FHD Monitor

Enjoy excellent picture quality with the FHD resolution and wide viewing angles of the powerful…

1 hour ago


System: Intel Core i7-12700KF Processor (12 Cores, [8P @ 3.60GHz-5.00GHz / 4E @ 2.70GHz-3.80GHz], 20…

2 hours ago

Lian Li UNI FAN SL-INF 120 ARGB 3 Pack 

A combination of the original UNI FAN SL and AL with a touch of infinity…

2 hours ago

Razer Viper V3 HyperSpeed – Wireless Esports Mouse

Made With & Trusted by Pros Tailored for top-tier competition. Developed with esports pros, reshaped…

2 hours ago

SaharaGaming SG520 W/O Fan Monochrome Magic ATX Tempered Gaming Case

Enhanced Airflow: Side and bottom air intake mesh panels with dust filters optimize volume airflow…

2 hours ago