Micron has announced that it will ship the world’s first customer SSD that will use NAND memory with more than 200 layers. According to Micron, buyers can expect density and power improvements due to the 232-layer TLC NAND used in their 2550 NVMe SSD.
The 2550 SSD from Micron supports sequential read speeds of up to 5.0 GB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 4.0 GB/s. Random reads are rated at up to 550,000 IOPS, while random writes are rated at 600,000 IOPS. This is good PCIe Gen4 performance, while faster drives can reach speeds of 7 GB/s and above. Target markets for the Micron 2550 SSD include mainstream PC gaming, consumer and business systems.
“We focused on delivering a superior user experience for PC users with this SSD,” said Praveen Vaidyanathan, general manager and vice president of the Client Storage Group at Micron. “The new 2550 SSD builds on our established and widely adopted PCIe Gen4 architecture. It also includes Micron’s industry-leading 232-layer NAND and focuses on thermal architecture and power design. These capabilities deliver impressive application performance and phenomenal energy savings.”
Micron claims that the 2550 SSD consumes just 2.5 milliwatts while sleeping, while resting power consumption remains under 150 milliwatts. Power consumption under load can exceed 5.5 watts, which is normal for NVMe SSDs. Since drives spend most of their time idle, such improvements are nevertheless expected to have a noticeable impact on the battery life of laptops or convertible tablets that may contain the drives.
The Micron 2550 SSD dispenses with a DRAM cache in favor of Host Memory Buffer technology to significantly minimize power consumption. HMB transfers I/O caching responsibilities to system memory only in very modest amounts. Therefore, it should not negatively impact system performance while still speeding up most read/write activities. In addition to the HMB, an SLC cache space is also provided. Micron uses predictive cache optimization to keep the most active data as close to the disk as possible.
“We expect PCIe Gen4 drives to remain the primary interface for notebooks and desktops through 2026,” said Greg Wong, principal analyst at Forward Insights. “Leading Gen4 SSDs, such as the new Micron 2550, provide enhanced user experiences and provide OEMs with an attractive storage solution for their system designs.”
Along with the release, Micron offered some real-world benchmark stats. Micron claimed the 2550 SSD “transfers data 112% faster, runs office productivity apps up to 67% faster, loads important games up to 57% faster, and runs content creation applications up to 78% faster than comparable competing devices” when tested with PC Mark 10.
Micron 2550 SSDs are offered to OEMs for inclusion in their products. It will be offered in 2280, 2242, and 2230 form factors for a variety of designs. The drive is available in three capacities: 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB. The 512 GB and 1 TB variants maintain similar performance, with the random read rating of the 512 GB model reduced by 50,000 IOPS.
The 256 GB model has a higher performance impact, typical of smaller capacity drives. Micron predicts that larger-capacity 232-layer SSDs will be available next year in QLC-equipped variants.
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