Micron And Intel Announce Shipment Of Industry First Quad-Level Cell (QLC) NAND Solid State Drives

Intel and Micron have just jointly announced shipment of the first quad-level cell (QLC) NAND-based SSD in the industry: the Micron 5210 ION, which is aimed directly at read-intensive cloud workloads. Intel-Micron say that the new QLC NAND has 33 percent greater bit density than TLC NAND, which gives it the ability to address opportunities in the market that used to be serviced only by lower cost, higher density Hard Disk Drives (HDD).

QLC technology allows the SSD to reach 1-terabit densities using a 64-layer 3D NAND structure. However, the Intel-Micron team also notes 96-layer QLC NAND is also en-route. Regardless, the first products are optimized to meet demands of high performance data center markets like real-time data processing and analytics. SSDs using this new tech will be able to service data centers where speed, capacity, and reliability are key requirements for customers.

micron SATA 5210

"This breakthrough QLC SSD will usher in a new generation of storage products that allows enterprise and cloud customers to experience the benefits of NAND flash across an expanding array of workloads that were previously relegated to slow, power-hungry hard drives," said Micron Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer, Sumit Sadana. "This innovative solution is another example of Micron’s accelerating momentum in bringing high value solutions to market and creating true value for customers."

SSDs employing this new QLC NAND Flash will have a 2.5-inch form factor, allowing data centers to cram more storage into currently available rack form factors. Micron told HotHardware that there are already controllers available that can be programmed with the necessary algorithms to support the incoming QLC NAND SSDs.

Micron will offer the 5210 ION SSD in capacities ranging from 1.92TB to 7.68TB, but it's not stopping there. 96-layer QLC NAND is coming and will be collaboratively produced between Intel and Micron. However, 96-layer QLC technology will be the end of the road when it comes to the long NAND partnership between memory dynamic duo, as it will mark the last collaborative NAND product jointly developed and manufactured by Intel and Micron.