Intel Datacenter SSD. Large volumes and new names

    Information has appeared on the new Intel SSD line for data centers, including on the basis of QLC 3D NAND memory, which allows to create storage media of unprecedented capacity - the top model claims a volume of 32 TB. It all starts with smaller models, although 8 TB SSD - it sounds solid.

    Along with new models, changes are introduced in the structure and names of Datacenter SSD - now the line is built in the image of Intel Core processors: D1, D3, D5, D7.

    The current direction of technological progress in the field of NAND-memory - an increase in the density of recorded information. On the one hand, the capacity of one cell increases: first, it stores one bit (SLC, Single Level Cell), then two bits (MLC), three bits (TLC), and finally 4 (QLC). On the other hand, 3D NAND technology allows placing three-dimensional vertical cells in layers - thus eliminating the need to reduce the process technology, which, in turn, helps to avoid unwanted electrical interaction between cells.

    The number of layers is also constantly increasing. The first generation 3D NAND chips had 24 layers, the ones we are talking about in this post - already 64. The production technology of 96-layer NAND has already been developed - this will be the next step. Researchers say that 100 layers is not the limit.

    Let's return, however, to drives. Intel SSD for data centers are now clearly divided into classes depending on their purpose. It looks like this.
    Series Interface Positioning
    Intel Optane DC SSD Series PCIe Performance
    Intel SSD D7 Series PCIe Mixed load, standard operating time
    Intel SSD D5 Series PCIe High Capacity Drives
    Intel SSD D3 Series SATA Analogues of the models presented
    Intel SSD D1 Series SATA / PCIe First level
    As can be seen from the positioning, the QLC 3D NAND will be used in the D5 SSD series. The D7 series will include analogues of the most productive TLC models of the P4510 or P4610 type. Known specifications of the first D5 - Model D5-P4320.

    The debut volume of Intel SSD D5-P4320 is 7.68 TB, 8 terabyte chips are used, made, as already mentioned, using 64-layer QLC NAND technology. Intel and Micron were the first to bring QLC to market; the other players decided to wait for the next generation. As a representative of QLC, the D5-P4320 is designed mainly for reading and has a rather low write performance (also due to the lack of SLC cache).

    Disks with a volume of more than 8 TB will be available at the end of this year, the model will be called D5-P4326, have a capacity of 16, 32 TB and U.2 format or “linear” EDSFF (Enterprise & Datacenter SSD Form Factor). It is assumed that the P4320 model will replace the existing SSDs, while the P4326 will be used to create high-density storage systems — you can place a storage of up to 1 PB of QLC NAND in the EDSFF format in one unit.

    So, previously presented by Intel in the form of the standard “line-type” drive form factor has now become the industry standard EDSFF. In this regard, work is now underway to unify the design. The standard describes both short and long “rulers” with a width of 9.5 mm for an ultra-dense layout up to 18 mm for comfortable air cooling.

    In the line of SATA SSD QLC models, we have not yet observed. The D3-S4510 and D3-S4610 families include SSDs ranging in size from 240 GB to 3.84 TB, and next year they will include 7.68 TB of storage capacity. This will be the replacement of the first generation SSD DC S4500 and DC S4600.

    Specifications and information about the cost of new products will be published as they enter the market.

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