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Crucial to Launch SSDs with 16nm Memory Chips

As Computex is getting ready to open its doors in and around Taipei, the capital of Taiwan – more products are leaking to the surface. Thanks to a Spanish e-tailer PCComponentes, we learned of one such product coming to the market comes from the States, in the form of Crucial’s Solid State Drive (SSD).


Crucial's Retail box for the MX100 SSD

Crucial’s Retail box for the MX100 SSD

MX100 line of SSDs will mark the beginning of the end for memory chips produced using the 20nm process. While the 128GB drive will carry the 20nm MLC NAND memory chips, 256GB and 512GB models will feature brand new 16nm NAND flash from Micron. According to Micron,

“Our 16nm NAND technology is not only the leading Flash process, but it is also the most advanced processing node for any sampling semiconductor device. It improves on our award-winning planar cell design to create a highly compact storage solution.

Our advanced 16nm technology is also enabling a new 128Gb MLC device for applications that demand high-capacity storage in small form factors— including consumer SSDs, removable storage (USB drives and Flash cards), tablets, ultrathin devices, mobile handsets, and data center cloud storage.”

Micron's 16nm MLC NAND Flash memory chip

Micron’s 16nm MLC NAND Flash memory chip

Translated into regular English, a single 16nm chip features no less than 16GB of storage space. Should you wish to integrate this into an ultrabook of the latest type, you’ll be pleased to know that the drive in fact is a 7mm thick 2.5″ drive, featuring an 9mm adapter as well (if you buy a retail packaged unit).

The company stayed clear of LSI / Avago / Seagate / SandForce one more time, and utilizes Marvell’s 88SS9189 controller. This means the drive will connect using a convetional SATA-III (6Gbps), meaning the drive cannot achieve higher transfer speed than 600MB/s up and down. Naturally, the real stated numbers are far lower than that.

All three drives are capable of sequential reading of 550MB/s. Write speeds vary by drive (given the amount of memory chips used for the drive). 128GB SSD comes with the smallest number of NAND flash chips and it achieves barely 150MB/s write, while 256GB drive tops at 330MB/s. The big hitter is the 512GB model, with 500MB/s write speed.

These drives won’t be fastest in the class, but the 16nm process might help 256 and 512GB drives to achieve longer life span.