July 18, 2024
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Computer Hardware

1000-layer SSDs to debut in 2027: Ultra-fast 20TB NVMe drives for just $250

Storage technology is on the verge of a monumental leap forward, as SSDs with 1000-layer 3D NAND flash memory chips are set to debut in 2027, promising ultra-fast 20TB NVMe drives at an attractive price point of just $250.

Short summary:

  • 1,000-layer 3D NAND flash memory chips are expected by 2027.
  • Potential for 20TB SSD priced around $250.
  • Dramatic improvements in storage density and cost effectiveness.

The SSD manufacturing landscape is heading for a significant transformation. If you’ve been following storage technology, you’ll know that, traditionally, higher storage capacities meant relying on hard drives, while speed was the domain of SSDs. However, the cost per gigabyte of SSDs has remained significantly higher, especially for capacities above 2TB. This scenario could see a radical change by 2027, thanks to advances in 3D NAND flash memory.

One of the most notable developments is led by Kioxia, a major player in the NAND flash memory market. In a recent keynote speech at the International Memory Workshop held in Seoul, Kioxia announced its ambitious plan to achieve 1000-layer 3D NAND flash memory by 2027. To put this into context, Samsung 990 Pro The 2022 launch uses 176-layer TLC NAND flash chips, and SK Hynix is ​​already working on 238-layer chips with 321-layer prototypes in the works.

“We are at a pivotal moment in storage technology. Achieving 1,000 layers in NAND flash chips will revolutionize the way we think about storage, making high-capacity, high-speed storage accessible to everyone,” said a Kioxia spokesperson.

To understand its importance, it’s essential to understand how 3D NAND flash memory works. By stacking memory cells vertically in a 3D structure, manufacturers can fit more storage into the same physical space. This vertical stacking isn’t simply a matter of adding layers; each layer is designed to keep wafer yields high and manufacturing costs low.

3D memory model

Currently, Kioxia’s most advanced chips feature 162 layers, but the company plans to launch 218-layer chips soon. The goal is not only to increase the number of layers, but also to improve storage density. According to Kioxia, current chips hold between 20 and 30 GB per square inch, but the goal is to increase this density to a staggering 100 GB per square inch.

“If Kioxia successfully achieves its 100GB/mm², 1,000-layer goal, it would mean SSDs ten times larger and twice as affordable in just a few years,” notes Japanese tech site PC Watch.

However, it is not only Kioxia that is interested in this technological breakthrough. Samsung, another giant in the industry, has also been open about its ambitions. Although Samsung is more conservative and projects a target of 1,000 layers by 2030, the competition between Kioxia, Samsung and other players such as Micron is intense.

Price is perhaps the most tempting part of this technological leap. According to estimates, 20TB SSDs could be priced between $250 and $350. Currently, the cost per gigabyte of SSDs is much higher. For example, an 8TB Samsung 870 SSD costs around $650, which translates to about $0.080 per gigabyte – four times the cost per gigabyte of today’s 20TB hard drives.

The move to 1,000-layer SSDs is not without technical challenges. Creating a vertical structure with so many layers is inherently complex. The industry is already seeing the challenges of reaching even 400 layers, let alone 1,000. But Kioxia remains optimistic about overcoming these hurdles.

“The evolution of storage technologies suggests that getting 20TB SSDs for $300 is feasible, but the technical challenges to achieve this are enormous,” said a Samsung executive at a recent event.

Another crucial factor is the density target. Increasing bit density from the current 20 to 30 Gb/mm² to 100 Gb/mm² is no easy feat. However, given the rapid advances over the past decade, many experts believe that this target is actually achievable within the stipulated time frame.

One area that will benefit greatly from this advancement is gaming. Gaming PCs demand high-speed and high-capacity storage solutions. With 1000-layer SSDs, gamers could enjoy faster loading times, a smoother gaming experience, and the ability to store larger game libraries without spending a fortune.

What's more, this advancement will likely have a ripple effect on other technology sectors, including data centers, AI and machine learning, where speed and storage capacity are critical.

“The NAND flash industry is a technology sector where huge improvements are taking place quickly and strongly. It is possible that in just three years we will see SSDs ten times larger and at twice the price of the ones we have now,” says another Hot Hardware analyst.

The outlook for storage technology in the coming years is certainly bright. With Kioxia and other manufacturers pushing the boundaries of what is possible, the dream of affordable, high-capacity SSDs seems closer than ever to reality.

Remember that we are talking about a sector where competition breeds innovation. Unlike the CPU and GPU markets, which are dominated by a few key players, the NAND flash memory market features vibrant competition from multiple manufacturers. This competition ensures that technological advancements occur at a rapid pace, benefiting consumers with better and more affordable products.

So while 2027 may seem a bit far away, the promise of 1000-layer SSDs offering 20TB of ultra-fast storage at a fraction of today's prices is something all tech enthusiasts, particularly those of us deeply invested in PC building and gaming, can look forward to.

In the ever-evolving world of PC hardware, it’s worth keeping an eye on these revolutionary developments. The future of storage isn’t just about more space, but faster, more reliable, and more affordable solutions that can meet the growing demands of modern computing and gaming needs.

As always, stay tuned to ThinkComputers.org for all the latest in PC hardware, and let's continue to marvel at the incredible innovations shaping our technological landscape.

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