Intel Working on 144-Layer QLC NAND, PCIe 4.0 for Optane: Rumor

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We have not read a lot from Intel’s storage division these days, but there are rumors that the business will make numerous announcements in the not-much too-distant potential.

All of these rumors are from Reportedly, Intel is doing work on a new style of QLC NAND that would see it stretch to 144 levels, up from 96 levels currently. These kinds of parts wouldn’t be possible to ship just before later 2021, but they’d be a sizeable capacity advancement more than modern components. 3D die stacking has been driving the capacity improvements in NAND for the past couple of many years, and various producers like Samsung, Intel, WD, and Micron are all shifting to 100+ layer patterns.

Intel is also however reportedly doing work on its PLC (penta-layer-mobile) technological know-how for NAND, which retailers 5 bits of knowledge for each mobile, in contrast with 1-bit for SLC, two bits for MLC, and a few for TLC NAND. Every bit of additional storage capacity has generally essential steep sacrifices in terms of drive performance and extensive-expression method-erase cycles. QLC NAND, for illustration, is typically advisable for “cool” storage drives and initiatives with minimal publish workloads, due to the smaller variety of method/erase cycles accessible.

PLC NAND would call for 32 cost concentrations to be saved in each mobile. Intel, having said that, appears to assume it has a path toward commercializing the technological know-how, and an additional 1.25x maximize in knowledge storage for each mobile would be welcome. Theoretically, the reduced publish cycles can be compensated for with much larger swimming pools of substitution NAND on-drive, and TLC and QLC drives normally enhance their performance by dedicating smaller amounts of the drive as SLC cache.

New Optane Coming on PCIe 4.

There’s no support for PCIe 4. baked into Intel’s upcoming Comet Lake CPUs, but motherboard producers are loudly signaling that their Comet Lake boards are all equipped for the aspect. That means we can anticipate an Intel chip that does support PCIe 4. to clearly show up at some place — and there’ll be Optane storage prepared for the common when it does.


Intel’s storage roadmap together with Xeon platforms. We’re in the next column.

Bringing Optane to PCIe 4. shouldn’t adjust the standing involving it and equal NAND in any certain. Here’s what I suggest: A PCIe 4. NAND SSD is more quickly than a PCIe 3. NAND SSD, but it doesn’t routinely offer substantially better latency than a PCIe 3. SSD. A PCIe 4. NAND SSD supports the same style of study/publish operations as a PCIe 3. drive, and it has the same strengths and weaknesses. Intel has not offered quite a few details on what to anticipate from future-generation Optane, but we’re assuming that the storage medium will keep on to offer its historical strengths (quite strong performance at small queue depths) and that Intel will keep on to posture it as a DRAM option in certain server installations.

I’m quite curious to see what Intel has in mind as far as PLC storage, and I’d like to see next-generation Optane produce a more meaningful hole involving alone and NAND. Optane, I assume, has to be graded on a bit of a curve. It is quite tough for any business to ramp a brand name-new storage product or service up to contend with now-founded answers, which is why it took NAND so extensive to emerge as a practical competitor to hard drives. To-date, Optane has demonstrated some superior capabilities to NAND in specific use-cases, but neither NAND nor Optane has upset DRAM’s posture in the memory hierarchy. Intel wants to drive Optane into RAM sockets going forward, so the more DRAM-like its all round performance, the better.

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