New flash spotted at LSI's AIS event in San Jose, California this past week promises to reduce the cost of flash and thus the price you pay for a new SSD. Both IMFT and Flash Forward worked to find an alternative to low endurance Triple-Level Cell (TLC) flash.
AIS buzzed about Micron's L85A flash and word is Micron has two version of L85. The first version is L85A, the economical driven model and L85C, the performance model.
At this time we believe L85A is an asynchronous version of Micron's second generation 20nm flash but are still waiting on the final details to arrive. The difference may also be in the page sizes, 8K vs. 16K. IMFT's first round of 20nm flash had a few yield issues causing a shortage of flash once 25nm supplies depleted. Looking at the flash on the Intel 530 Series SSD we have in house, we believe second generation 20nm flash from IMFT is a reality and already shipping. A full review will hit the web shortly after we get all of the details from Intel.
Micron's second gen 20nm was all over AIS and retail products should hit any day now. We're reaching out to manufactures to see if new product names will indicate a change from Gen 1 and Gen 2 20nm. We doubt manufactures will change product names but we'll see what tips up at CES soon.
Toshiba also displayed new 19nm flash at AIS. We saw just as many A19 displays at the show as we did L85.
We know a bit more about Toshiba A19 designated flash. The physical die size shrank from 19mm x 26mm to 19mm x 19.5mm. The new 19 x 19.5 allows Toshiba to yield more die per wafer.
A19 comes in two flavors. Here we see 64Gb but the latest version uses 128Gb sizes. This allows for more capacity per die and thus more capacity per package and per SSD. 1TB SSDs are already shipping from both Micron / Crucial with the M500 and Samsung has a 1TB 840 EVO. It's not a secret that consumers want large capacity SSDs and the way to get there is the 128Gb die size. The way to sell these products is to get the cost under $1 per GB with customers preferring to pay around 50 cents per GB when possible.
Mushkin made waves last week on the back end for direct customers. The Mushkin Chronos Deluxe went to $120 in the 240GB capacity size when purchased in quantity. We don't know the minimum order but Chronos Deluxe 240GB drives tipped up on EBay shortly after for $140 here in the US. With 256GB of flash in the Chronos DX 240GB, the final price comes to less than 50 cents per GB.
It's time to put SSDs on your Christmas list!