Samsung Unleashes SZ985 Z-SSD With 800GB Of Z-NAND For Supercomputing Applications

Samsung finally has a launch vehicle for its high-performance Z-NAND memory. Z-NAND, which is a supercharged variant of existing 3D NAND technology, is widely viewed as Samsung's credible alternative to Intel's 3D XPointOptane” memory technology (see our recent reviews).

The company today launched the SZ985 Z-SSD, which is shipping in both 240GB and 800GB capacities. Samsung is specifically targeting the Z-SSD at "advanced enterprise applications including supercomputing for AI analysis". These applications require ultra-fast I/O subsystems, and Samsung promises to deliver in spades.

Samsung 800GB Z SSD P1 180129

The Z-SSD family is a four-lane NVMe PCIe device that fits into a single slot, while its Z-NAND chips have roughly 10 times the cell read performance of their current 3-bit V-NAND counterparts. If that wasn't enough, the Z-SSDs also incorporate a hefty 1.5GB of LPDDR4 DRAM and a high-performance SSD controller to keep data flowing efficiently.

These enviable hardware specs mean that the 750K IOPS (random reads) that the 800GB Z-SSD can throw down is 1.7 times faster than Samsung's own SSD P963 (3-bit V-NAND) and ahead of the Intel Optane SSD DX P4800X (550K IOPS). Random writes are listed at 170K IOPS (compared to 40K IOPS for the SSD P963), but that is well below that of the P4800X (500K IOPS). Samsung also confirms a 5x reduction in write latency compared to the SSD P963, which is now listed at 16 microseconds.

Samsung 800GB Z SSD P3 180129

“With our leading-edge 800GB Z-SSD, we expect to contribute significantly to market introductions of next-generation supercomputing systems in the near future, enabling improved IT investment efficiency and exceptional performance,” said Jinman Han, Samsung Electronics SVP for Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering. “We will continue to develop next-generation Z-SSDs with higher density and greater product competitiveness, in order to lead the industry in accelerating growth of the premium SSD market.”

Samsung says that the 800GB Z-SSD is provisioned for 30 drive writes per day for five years (42 petabytes), while MTBF is list at 2 million hours. Samsung hasn't announced official pricing yet for the 240GB and 800GB Z-SSDs, but if you have to ask...