If the only thing stopping you from replacing your primary storage drive with a large capacity SSD is price, keep your eyes peeled for new products from Samsung. The company said it has started mass producing the industry's first 4-bit quad-level cell (QLC) 4TB SSD for consumers, and hinted that 1TB capacities will be more affordable as a result.
"Samsung’s new 4-bit SATA SSD will herald a massive move to terabyte-SSDs for consumers," said Jaesoo Han (opens in new tab), executive vice president of memory sales & marketing at Samsung Electronics. "As we expand our lineup across consumer segments and to the enterprise, 4-bit terabyte-SSD products will rapidly spread throughout the entire market."
That "massive move" Samsung envisions won't happen without lower price points, as there are several 1TB and bigger SSDs already on the market. The benefit of transitioning to 4-bit QLC NAND flash memory is efficiency in production.
Samsung is not the only company making the move the 4-bit QLC chips. Just a few weeks ago, Toshiba announced the development of a prototype sample of 96-layer BiCS flash, the company's proprietary version of 3D NAND, with 4-bit-per-cell technology.
By expanding the bit count from three to four, QLC memory achieves a much higher capacity. Our only concern is performance. TLC was initially quite a bit slower than MLC NAND, and the move to QLC increases complexity that could lead to reduced write speeds.
Interestingly, Samsung claims its upcoming 4-bit 4TB QLC SATA SSD maintains the same performance level as a 3-bit SSD, by using a 3-bit SSD controller and TurboWrite technology. More specifically, Samsung says the 4TB SSD delivers read and write speeds of up to 540MB/s and 520MB/s, respectively.
The new 4-bit SSDs will be available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities in the 2.5-inch SATA form factor, though Samsung did not say exactly when or at what price points. Each drive will carry a three-year warranty.