Intel has announced intentions to launch solid state drives based on its 3D NAND technology sometime during the second half of next year.
Developed in cooperation with flash memory specialist Micron, the tech stacks 32 planar layers which delivers 256Gb (32GB) of storage in a single MLC die. Pushing it even further, the 3D NAND can be packed with three bits per cell to end up with 385Gb (48GB) per die as noted by The Tech Report.
Senior vice president and general manager of the non-volatile memory group at Intel, Rob Crooke, said the technology will enable 10TB solid state drives within the next couple of years. On the mobile side, it’s possible to squeeze 1TB of storage into a form-factor that’s just two millimeters thick.
3D NAND technology in general has been around for a few years at this point and is lauded for its ability to increase storage capacity while simultaneously reducing cost. The same is true with Intel’s solution as Crooke said it has a “breakthrough cost” but didn't delve into any specifics.
Interestingly enough, the executive hinted at the fact that Intel may not actually manufacture the 3D NAND itself. Crooke said they certainly have the ability to build it in-house but would only do so if it makes sense. I suspect that means it’s probably cheaper or in some other way more beneficial to have someone else do it.
While drives will be ready next year, we don’t yet know which market Intel plans to go after first (nor do they). Corporate clients, datacenters and PC enthusiasts are all at the top of the list, however.