Lots of recent memory news to cover here. New announcements by Western Digital & Kioxia, Micron, Formulus Black, Samsung and Nexsan. These developments enable the next generation of IoT, AI and advanced networking applications.
Western Digital (and Kioxia) announced that that it has successfully developed its fifth-generation 3D NAND technology, BiCS5, built on triple-level-cell (TLC) and quad-level-cell (QLC) technologies. BiCS5 is Western Digital’s highest density and most advanced 3D NAND technology to date. Second-generation multi-tier memory hole technology, improved engineering processes and other 3D NAND cell enhancements significantly increase cell array density horizontally across the wafer.
WDC BiCS5 3D NAND
Image from WDC Announcement
WDC says that these “lateral scaling” advancements in combination with 112 layers of vertical memory capability enables BiCS5 to offer up to 40 percent more bits of storage capacity per wafer compared to Western Digital’s 96-layer BiCS4 technology, while optimizing cost. New design enhancements also accelerate performance, enabling BiCS5 to offer up to 50 percent faster I/O performance compared to BiCS4.
Western Digital has commenced initial production of BiCS5 TLC in a 512-gigabit (Gb) chip and is currently shipping consumer products built on the new technology. Production of BiCS5 in meaningful commercial volumes is expected in the second half of calendar 2020. BiCS5 TLC and BiCS5 QLC will be available in a range of capacities, including 1.33 terabit (Tb).
Micron Technology, Inc. announced it has delivered the world’s first low-power DDR5 in mass production to be used in the soon-to-be-released Xiaomi Mi 10 smartphone. Micron designed LPDDR5 DRAM to address the growing demand for higher memory performance and lower energy consumption across a wide array of markets, including automotive, client PCs and networking systems built for 5G and AI applications. According to Micron, LPDDR5 can provide more than a 20% reduction in power use compared to LPDDR4x memory.
Formulus Black announced its FORSA 3.1 software defined product for high performance storage. FORSA provisions industry-standard DRAM or forms of persistent memory (such as Intel’s Optane DC persistent memory) as POSIX compliant block storage, enabling applications running applications in-memory. The product leverages Intel Optane DC persistent memory’s App Direct mode to provide lower latency, higher throughput and persistent block storage to support data intensive and latency sensitive workloads.
According to the company, Formulus Black’s LEM storage devices (Logical Extensions of Memory), are POSIX compliant, enabling any application to run on persistent memory or DRAM without modification and benefit from the enhanced feature set and expanded enterprise storage functionality of the FORSA LEM.
According to the press release, in recent tests performed by StorageReview.com, FORSA running on a Lenovo SR950 with Intel Optane DC persistent memory enabled 10,591 TPS at 23.5ms 99th percentile latency for mixed read/write MySQL workloads. Compared to using “fast” local NVMe SSD storage, FORSA provisioned Intel Optane PMem storage enabled over 2x more TPS at less than 1/5th the latency.
Samsung launched its 3rd generation, ‘Flashbolt’, 16 GB High Bandwidth Memory 2E (HBM2E). According to Samsung the 16-gigabyte (GB) HBM2E is uniquely suited to maximize high performance computing (HPC) systems and help system manufacturers to advance their supercomputers, AI-driven data analytics and state-of-the-art graphics systems in a timely manner.
The company says its HBM2E is ready to deliver twice the capacity of the previous-generation 8GB HBM2 ‘Aquabolt’, the new Flashbolt also sharply increases performance and power efficiency to significantly improve next-generation computing systems. The 16GB capacity is achieved by vertically stacking eight layers of 10nm-class (1y) 16-gigabit (Gb) DRAM dies on top of a buffer chip. This HBM2E package is then interconnected in a precise arrangement of more than 40,000 ‘through silicon via’ (TSV) microbumps, with each 16Gb die containing over 5,600 of these microscopic holes.
Samsung High Bandwidth Memory Flashbolt Product
Samsung Product Image
Samsung’s Flashbolt provides a highly reliable data transfer speed of 3.2 gigabits per second (Gbps) by leveraging a proprietary optimized circuit design for signal transmission, while offering a memory bandwidth of 410GB/s per stack. Samsung’s HBM2E can also attain a transfer speed of 4.2Gbps, the maximum tested data rate to date, enabling up to a 538GB/s bandwidth per stack in certain future applications. This would represent a 1.75x enhancement over Aquabolt’s 307GB/s.
Nexsan released its new E-Series 18F (E18F) storage platform. The E18F is designed and optimized for quad-level cell (QLC) NAND technology, allowing users to accelerate access to extremely large datasets at industry leading economics.
According to Nexsan the E-Flex Architecture is the next logical iteration of the high performing Nexsan E-Series architecture. The E-Flex Architecture provides customers the flexibility to start with an extremely small footprint and grow the same footprint to several petabytes of storage. This architectural extension simplifies how customers can deploy and grow their E-Series systems over time.
Recent solid state storage and memory announcements including 3D NAND, DDR5 DRAM, HBM and Optane memory enable advanced applications for enterprise, industrial and IoT applications.