Samsung Begins Mass Production TLC NAND-Based SSD for Data Centers

Samsung Develops Enterprise-Class SSD with TLC NAND Flash Memory

by Anton Shilov
04/28/2014 | 05:32 AM

Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest maker of NAND flash memory, said Monday that it has begun mass producing the industry’s first high-performance solid-state drive for data centers based on triple-level-cell (TLC) NAND flash memory. Installations of the 3-bit MLC (multi-level-cell) NAND SSDs, initially in large-scale data centers, are expected to begin later this quarter.


The new PM853T SSD, available in densities of 240GB, 480GB and 960GB, offers high levels of random IOPS (inputs/output per second) performance and quality of service (QoS), both essential for data center and cloud server applications. The PM853T SSDs utilize Samsung’s 3bit-per-cell (3bpc) NAND flash memory made using the company’s 10nm-class fabrication process as well as Samsung’s own controller and firmware.  The new drive features a sequential read speed of 530MB/s, while writing sequentially at 420MB/s. It also will read data randomly at 90000 IOPS and handle sustained random writes at 14000 IOPS. The drive uses Serial ATA-6Gb/s interface.

TLC NAND flash is significantly less expensive than MLC [multi-level-cell, 2bpc] NAND flash memory. However, it is also much less reliable modern MLC can sustain from 3000 to 10000 write/erase cycles, whereas the TLC can only endure up to 1000 cycles. Therefore, to make reliable TLC NAND flash-bases SSD, developers have to create special controllers, firmware and install loads of redundant memory for over-provisioning.

At present Samsung is among a few companies who offer consumer-class SSDs based on TLC NAND flash memory.

The new PM853T SSD will enable IT managers to optimize their SSD upgrades at investment levels similar to those of consumer SSDs. The PM853T delivers a 30 percent increase in manufacturing efficiency compared to SSDs that use 2-bit NAND flash components. Samsung expects the adoption of 3-bit SSDs in data centers to advance rapidly in replacing the 2-bit SSD market.

“Following the last year’s introduction of 3-bit NAND-based SSDs for PC markets, our new 3-bit SSD for data centers will help considerably in expanding the market base for SSDs,” said Young-Hyun Jun, executive vice president, memory sales and marketing, Samsung Electronics. “We expect SSD market growth will gain momentum as this new SSD delivers significant improvements in data center investment efficiency, leading to full-fledged commercialization of SSDs in IT systems later this year.”

Through this introduction of a SATA 6Gb/s 3-bit SSD, Samsung is reinforcing its collaboration with global data center and server customers, while continuing to offer the broadest line up of competitive SSDs (spanning SATA, SAS, and PCIe/NVMe interfaces) to increase its leadership position in the premium SSD market.

According to a market research report from IHS iSuppli, the global SSD market is expected to grow approximately 30 percent from U.S. $9.4 billion in 2013 to U.S. $12.4 billion in 2014. The report says it will also maintain a high growth rate over the next several years, reaching up to U.S. $20 billion in 2017.