Intel® SSDs – A Reliable SSD Solution Provider to Meet and Exceed Tomorrows Challenges
If the latest market research and trend analysis from Cisco in the field visual networking turns into reality, then we are bound to experience a substantial increase in data creation by 2020. According to Cisco's latest research a city of one million will generate 200 million gigabytes of data per day by 2020. Furthermore, approximately 600ZB of data will be generated by 2020 with 10 percent (60ZB) representing useful data that will be stored on a permanent basis. Consequently, the need for storage and memory solution providers, such as Intel®, that can deliver drive reliability, uncompromised data integrity and consistent performance where it matters will be even more important in the future than ever before.
The Evolution of NAND Flash Memory
Flash memory has been a disruptive technology from its industrial inception in the early '90s and innovation is still ongoing after more than 25 years. At the beginning it was NOR flash and Intel® was the key player. Today the most advanced storage products use NAND flash. Thanks to its storage density, NAND has changed our lives. Through continuous development, investments and improvements by flash vendors such as Intel®, the technology has become a consumer product, which allows the production of ultra-slim notebooks and save up to 2TB of data on a USB-Stick.
Storage density has been further improved by introducing a third NAND dimension: multilevel storage. In practice, each single physical cell can contain more than one bit of information. Single Level Cells (SLC) can store 1 bit per cell, Multi-Level Cells (MLC) can store 2 bits per cell, while TLC refers to cells that can store 3 digital bits. Quadruple Level Cells (QLC) will become a reality relatively soon with Intel® planning to release a NAND that can store up to 4 bit per cell in Q3 2018.
However, this was not enough for a market that demands products with high storage density. For example the release of thin smartphones brought along severe space constraints. Their impressive selling volumes forced the market to find another storage dimension (the fourth one): multi-die stacking. In other words, several pieces of silicon are stacked inside a single physical package, one on top of each other.
In 2013, the fifth storage dimension in the history of flash was introduced: 3D NAND. 3D NAND are multiple layers (currently up to 48) of memory cells that are grown within the same piece of silicon. 3D is a new technology, not only because of its multi-layer architecture, but also because it is based on a new type of NAND memory cell.
Intel®: Pioneering and Leading the Way in the Flash Technology Market
From a manufacturing point of view the existing flash cells have reached their maximum shrinking potential. A flash cell size that initially started out with a size of 350nm in 1997 has in recent years evolved to a cell size of 12nm. On the one hand the shrinking process enabled manufacturers to produce more flash cells on a single wafer, which arguably led to lower prices for flash and enabled manufacturers to produce chips with higher capacities. However, the shrinking process also brought along several technical limitations to manufacturers. With the shrinking of the flash cells the number of electrons becomes substantially less. This in turn leads to a radically lower count of electrons, which has to be compensated by creating more sophisticated firmware and technology to sustain the reliability, endurance and data retention of the final Solid State Drive (SSD) product. Intel®'s solution to the limitations of shrinking: Layering the cells on top of each other!
Transitioning from 2D to 3D NAND TLC 64-Layers
3D NAND 64-Layer Technology
Intel® is the first company to market the new 3D NAND 64-Layer technology. The technology behind this is just as it sounds - 64 layers of storage stacked on top of each other. Intel®'s 3D NAND uses a 'floating gate' architecture, which is manufactured on a high-volume process. This architecture is capable of the best areal density and provides room for scalability in the future. It works by using a smaller cell size and placing control logic under the memory array. The structure consists of multiple layers of flash cells while being able to store three bits per cell. Just like a skyscraper can shelter more people in comparison to a single story house, so too can a 3D-NAND flash cell store more data than a 2D flash cell. By having better areal density, Intel® can scale to larger capacities by delivering more gigabytes per wafer. As a result of this innovative technology Intel® can produce SSD drives that can go all the way up to 64TB! The price to performance ratio is the key advantage of the technology while at the same time delivering consistently more performance, using less power, and offering great reliability over time. Overall, Intel®'s 3D NAND solutions are a cost effective and technological upgrade that delivers noticeable value.
Intel® Optane™ with 3D-XPoint Technology – Breakthrough in Flash Technology
Solid State Drives (SSDs) have emerged as the new benchmark application for flash. SSDs set the new standard for storage performance, stability, efficiency, and low power consumption.
SSD have multiple advantages in comparison to Hard Disk Drives (HDDs):
- Electrical non-volatile memory storage technology
- No moving and rotating parts
- Noiseless operation
- Robust against shocks and vibrations
- Fast access times
- Reduced delay and latency
- Smaller form factor dimensions
- Power efficient
- Fast random and sequential read and write performance
With multiple advantages over HDDs, Intel®'s rugged SSDs are ideal for multiple industry and use-case scenarios. Whether the SSDs are to be used in a consumer, enterprise, professional or embedded application - Intel® offers a vast product portfolio with a range of solutions, state of the art technology and top of the class quality and reliability.
Best of all - Intel® SSDs are backed by 5 years warranty.