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Good news on the consumer solid state drive front as storage capacity is expected to ramp up dramatically in the coming months thanks to a partnership between Intel and Micron.
The two tech firms, which have been working together on flash storage for quite some time, have created a new type of 3D NAND flash memory that benefits not from building larger flash cells but stacking them on top of each other – much like building a skyscraper. Best yet, this method will result in greater efficiency and lower costs which will likely be passed along to the consumer.
Specifically, the two have stacked NAND flash 32 layers deep to create 32GB chips that are already sampling at both companies. A 48GB variant is also in the works, we’re told. Add several of these to a standard package and you suddenly have a massive SSD on your hands.
How big, you ask? Using the M.2 PCIe form factor, the duo can turn out drives with capacities of up to 3.5TB and in a standard 2.5-inch enclosure, we’ll soon be looking at 10TB drives which is on par with today’s large-capacity spinning hard drives at a fraction of the size.
Brian Shirley, VP of memory technology and solutions at Micron, said this 3D NAND technology has the potential to create fundamental market shifts and the depth of the impact that flash has had to date is really just scratching the surface of what’s possible.
Intel said it expects to ship products using the new technology by the second half of this year.