Intel Teases Upcoming QLC SSD For Datacenters
Intel has started production of their first datacenter PCIe SSD using QLC 3D NAND flash memory, which stores four bits per memory cell. This isn't a full product announcement and we don't even have a proper name for the new SSD, just a mention that it is part of a new D5 product family for datacenters—which may signal a reorganization of Intel's naming scheme for SSDs. Intel will be sharing more information in a few weeks at Flash Memory Summit August 7-9, where Intel VP Rob Crooke is scheduled to give a keynote speech on August 8. Earlier this year, Intel confirmed that they would be producing QLC SSDs in the second half of 2018, and that they were putting up to 20TB in a 2.5" U.2 drive, but it is not yet clear whether that configuration is one that's going into mass production at this time.
Intel is expecting this to be the first QLC SSD available for this market segment. Micron has already launched an enterprise SATA SSD using QLC NAND. No consumer SSDs with QLC NAND have been announced yet. Samsung, Toshiba and Western Digital have been talking about their QLC NAND for at least a year, but of them only Toshiba has confirmed plans to mass produce QLC on the current 64L 3D NAND process. Samsung has put off QLC until their 96L generation, which has just entered mass production but only of small TLC dies so far, so they are unlikely to be in mass production of QLC SSDs until late this year or early next year.