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Samsung SSD 850 Pro ushers in 3D NAND

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Samsung LogoThe Samsung SSD 850 Pro a new king of solid state drives for the 6Gbps SATA interface. It will cost ~$130 for the 128GB model which is a ridiculous price compared to the 256GB Crucial MX100 that I picked up for $110. The Crucial MX100 isn’t a complete slouch either.

I didn’t know there was a growing concern over interference with shrinking NAND. I’ll quote the AnandTech review:

The above can be fairly tough to digest, so let’s do a simple analogy that everyone should be able to understand. Imagine that you have a bunch of speakers with each playing a different song. When these speakers are relatively large and far away from each other, it is easy to properly hear the song that the speaker closest to you is playing. Now, what happens if you bring the other speakers closer to the speaker you are listening? The other speakers will interfere and it becomes harder to tell your song apart from the others. If you turn down the volume or switch to smaller speakers with lower output volume, it becomes even harder to distinquish your song from the songs that the other songs that other speakers are playing. If you repeat this enough times, there will be a point when you are hearing your song as unclearly as the other songs.

The effect is essentially the same with NAND scaling. When the cells, or speakers in the analogy, move closer to each other, the amount of interference increases, making it harder to sense the cell or listen to the speaker. At the same time the size of the cell (or speakers) is shrunk, which further complicates the focus on one cell (or speaker).

So instead of trying to place speakers closer and closer together on the X and Y axis, Samsung (and others) have begun stacking NAND along the Z axis as well. Now SSD manufacturers will continue to pack more and more storage in the same space constraints.

This whole 3D NAND thing reminds me of the time when Seagate introduced Perpendicular Recording Technology back in 2006. It gave us more GBs in the same space for a cheaper prices. 3D NAND will yield the same results as soon as other competitors like Crucial get on board.

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