back to article Oh my Tosh, it's only a 100TB small form-factor SSD, SK?

The Flash Memory Summit saw two landmark capacity announcements centred on 96-layer QLC (4bits/cell) flash that seemingly herald a coming virtual abolition of workstation and server read-intensive flash capacity constraints. Pop art style illustration of man exclaiming WHAT? in shock/horror/bemusement. Anyone fancy testing …

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  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Presumably the price will be such that your insurance company insist on your having a security guard to carry the laptop around.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: The price

      We see lots of announcements like this here but as usual, little in the way of price is mentioned.

      Sigh.

      Sigh.

      and

      Sigh.

      Come on el reg... How about not reporting this stuff unless the things like price and availabilty and interface type are mentioned. Otherwise these pieces are pure Marketdroid fluff and worthless.

      1. Andy Nugent

        Re: The price

        Yeah, a tech site definitely shouldn't report on any advances until they're finished products available to buy. I think you'd be better off browsing Amazon.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: The price

          but... isn't it nice to know what we mere mortals can't afford?

          sorts like walking around a Car showroom and looking longingly at the top of the range offering and end up driving away in a 3rd hand 5yr old car because that is all you can afford.

          Dreams and all that....

      2. adam payne Silver badge

        Re: The price

        El Reg omitted the prices because they didn't want to give anyone a heart attack.

    2. Phil Kingston Silver badge

      If you have to ask the price...

      1. The Dogs Meevonks

        "if you have to ask the price"

        It's usually because the marketing wankers refuse to divulge any kind of pricing because they know people will laugh them out of the room.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "if you have to ask the price"

          Price is irrelevant and is set by the supplier.

          Value is the key - that is defined by the customer and is the only thing that matters.

    3. LeeE Silver badge

      I think the price is "read-intensive".

      QLC 3D NAND just doesn't have the durability for lots of writes, at least in its current forms, so whilst it seems suitable for archival purposes I can't see it really having much use in more general server and workstation workloads.

      In view of the relatively lower cost of MLC, perhaps extreme redundancy - let's say up to 10x over-provisioning - might bring the write endurance for an SSD device up to more acceptable levels but NAND, especially MLC types, rely heavily upon error correction and this might become a limiting factor - the SSD device may end up having to spend too much time monitoring, managing and correcting itself.

  2. Paul Johnson 1

    How many electrons per bit?

    "Quad level" is a misnomer: with 4 bits per cell, that actually means 16 levels for the electronics to distinguish. So with 16 levels and the cells getting ever tinier, how many electrons does each cell store? Divide that by 16, and you know how many electrons are used to store each bit. Does anyone know what the number is?

    1. malle-herbert Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: How many electrons per bit?

      Depends on the voltage levels used...

      Each electron has an electric charge of 1,6022 × 10−19 Coulomb...

      So if you know the voltage difference between the different levels you could calculate the number of electrons per bit...

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: How many electrons per bit?

      For 20nm planer flash the number of electrons per level dropped to under 10. 3D nand uses a larger geometry (40nm?) so there are more electrons per level. It looks like about 20 on the graph near then end of this. As far as I know the geometry is not shrinking any more and the extra capacity comes from more layers per die, more dies in a stack and putting the control circuits on a separate die instead of around the edge so the whole area of the die can contain layers of cells.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: How many electrons per bit?

      "So with 16 levels and the cells getting ever tinier,"

      They're not. They stepped back from that and got got bigger when the fabs stepped from planar to 3d, because shrinking cells resulted in slower NAND with substantially lower durability. Cell size hasn't shrunk since, which is why there's all that emphasis on more layers and more bits per cell.

  3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    No-one will ever...

    need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

    Actually, I'm waiting for someone to invent a storage system that uses long transparent crystals. That would be cool.

    1. Milton Silver badge

      Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

      History is littered with "No one will ever need {enter new capacity here}" statements, whether it's speed of travel, range, power of weaponry or computing power. So far, someone's always found a use for more. If you'd asked me even as recently as 2005 whether I personally would really need and exploit a computer with eight cores running at 5GHz, stuffed with 32Gb of RAM and 8Tb of machine storage, I would have laughed. And yet right now I am speccing out 256Gb RAM workstations, because of the difference it will make in my work. No, it's not mainstream office productivity, but I am not a rocket scientist either. Elbow room is always good to have, and many of the things we do will continue to add orders of magnitude to the usefulness of simpy storing data.

      I absolutely can see why you make your statement, mind you: I can't currently imagine a legitimate use for 64Tb of local storage ... but ask either of us again, in five years.

      As for—

      "Actually, I'm waiting for someone to invent a storage system that uses long transparent crystals. That would be cool."

      — sounds like a cri de coeur to go in the book along with the flying car, moonbase, International Rescue and trips to Jupiter: things we were promised in the 60s and 70s. I remember the crystals from the original Christopher Reeve Superman (1978?) ... let's hope photonic processing and memory doesn't disappoint. (If you could stop wasting time talking rubbish on Twitter and undermining the west coast like an obsessive termite, Elon, I have a better investment for you ....)

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

        In all fairness, a lot of resource requirements these days come from lazy developers who don't understand shit about optimisations.

        I only have 16GB of RAM in this machine, and since I switched to Vivaldi (Chromium) as my primary web browser (which seems to require two to three times the amount of memory per page than an older version of Firefox), I find myself running out of memory more often. Ditto for SmartGit (hello, Java) which uses a laughably high amount of memory for what it does.

        And look at how much storage space the average application needs these days. It's insane.

        There are some applications that obviously need a lot of memory and storage space - databases and video editing are two that spring to mine - but there's a hell of a lot of waste these days. Won't developers think of the children/environment [delete as applicable]?

        </rant>

        </oldman> <-- Does this mean I'm dead now?

        1. defiler Silver badge

          Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

          lazy developers who don't understand shit about optimisations

          I've dealt with my share of lazy developers, but I'll bet that most devs understand a fair bit about optimisation, and I'll bet a lot of them even care. They do, however, have to report to management who care about getting it out of the door now. Not in three weeks when it can be 10% faster.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Lazy Devs

            Oh so true.

            How long is the 'Technical Debt' list then?

            Do you ever get a chance to remove items from it?

            Most places seem to never get around to fixing things but concentrating on the new 'shiny-shiny' features that less than 1% would use. (Hey MS I'm looking at Office here)

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Lazy Devs

              "Do you ever get a chance to remove items from it?"

              Only when it finally and irreversibly collapses in a heap. Even then you might spend a year or two walking round it.

          2. Def Silver badge

            Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

            I've dealt with my share of lazy developers, but I'll bet that most devs understand a fair bit about optimisation, and I'll bet a lot of them even care.

            Perhaps lazy wasn't the right word. But in all honesty, I don't know many developers who really understand shit about optimisation these days. Certainly there isn't the same understanding about what a compiler does to your code that there used to be. And as more and more higher level languages become more and more popular, people really don't understand the implications of what happens when they write something one way instead of another.

            Back when I was working at [a rather large game developer] not even 10 years ago there was a pervasive sentiment among most of the developers* that they write code, and someone else will optimise it. And to be honest, I haven't seen any differences in attitudes at other places I've worked since.

            While it's nice to think people do actually care, in reality most of them don't. The tsunami of shitty Android and iOS apps eating your battery is testament to that.

            * There were a couple of *really* good developers there who basically spent every stand up meeting trying to drill into everyone else: Use less memory; Profile your code. (This was for a last-gen console game.) I even ended up writing a memory profiler** to help show people what the consequences of their actions were.

            ** I've written another once since. If you ask nicely, I'll share a link. ;) Not going to spam it at you right away.

            1. Alex 49

              Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

              I learnt that early in Uni. An assignment asked us to brute force RSA ciphertext with increasing key sizes. Top marks went to the student who got furthest through the assignment (on like for like hardware). The winner was a guy who used a slightly out of date JDK, but his javac version compiled significantly faster code (c.20%).

            2. ntevanza

              Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

              Don't expect computer scientists to come to the rescue. From what I've seen, the way coding is taught starts with conceptual elegance, and does not always end with operational efficiency.

              Take objects and recursion. Conceptually clean, operationally voracious. Both are abused like catholic altar boys: much code is neither elegant nor efficient. And so when it comes time to optimize, it may be that 'you can't get there from here.'

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

          Quote: lazy developers who don't understand shit about optimisations.

          Define optimisations!

          Our current client has asked us to optimise our code. The remit being to maximise throughput, whilst minimising DB and network (including drive) access.

          This means doing as much as possible in memory, by basically creating in-memory caches for anything that can be cached. Memory is cheap, relatively speaking.

          Therefore in this scenario, optimisation means an increase in memory use, not a decrease.

        3. aeio_

          Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

          "Won't developers think of the children/environment [delete as applicable]?"

          OK, I'll do just that.

          Won't developers think . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ?"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

        I'm afraid you and your upvoters have failed to see a paraphrase in the "no-one will ever..".quote, as it's quite famous. Or infamous. Look it up, enjoy! :)

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

          Youngsters these days, don't know their history. Bet they don't know who Grace Hopper was either.

          1. The Nazz Silver badge

            Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

            re Grace Hopper

            wasn't he the old blind man in that Kung Fu type series with David Carradine in it?

            Or maybe i'm not old enough to remember it accurately.

            1. amess

              Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

              Key Luke ... the old blind man in that Kung Fu type series with David Carradine in it?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

          Why do you think that no-one else spotted it? It was the reason I gave the upvote.. Don't forget large numbers of commentards on this site were already well into their IT careers before the comment was made.

      3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

        @Milton

        I refer the honourable member to the statement allegedly made by Mr William Gates in 1981 "640K ought to be enough for anybody", often paraphrased as "No-one will ever need more than 640K".

        1. dajames Silver badge

          Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

          I refer the honourable member to the statement allegedly made by Mr William Gates in 1981 "640K ought to be enough for anybody", often paraphrased as "No-one will ever need more than 640K".

          In all fairness to the said Mr. Gates, the remark would have been made in in the context of a machine architecture that couldn't address more than 1MB in any case, so his figure of 640K wasn't completely ridiculous, at the time.

          It was still wrong, though, when there were machines like some of the Apricot and Sirius computers that could run DOS with 896K of free RAM.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

        > f you'd asked me even as recently as 2005 whether I personally would really need and exploit a computer with eight cores running at 5GHz, stuffed with 32Gb of RAM and 8Tb of machine storage ...

        Depends. Is it expected to be running windows?

      5. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: No-one will ever... need more than 64TB on a 2.5inch SSD

        I'm past the half-way point on 64 TB and you'll not find pr0n, nor even large multimedia collections (video or music). The former doesn't interest me at all and damn little of the latter is even interesting. A huge chunk consists of datasets, analyzed results, and reference material (books, papers, &c. collected since 1975). I'd love to have three 64 TB drives, each from different manufacturers, just in case, and call it done. On my current medical trajectory, I'd just about fill that before being planted in a national cemetery being mowed at government expense by a bunch of fellow veterans also with substance abuse issues ;-),

        BTW: My mom has promised that I'll be planted with my favorite computer to go down eternity's road. Serious.

    2. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: No-one will ever...

      I'm sorry Pen-y-gors, I cant see anyone doing that.

      And the pod bay doors are still locked.

    3. Aqua Marina Silver badge

      Re: No-one will ever...

      “ long transparent crystals. That would be cool.”

      I had a thought the other day, suppose a civilisation advanced enough that it could store data in stone tablets rather than crystals. Stone tablets always seem to survive the civilisations that created them and are always being unearthed in archaeological digs thousands of years later. I feel a sci-if story coming on.

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: No-one will ever...

        Hmmm, stone tablets. M-Disc anyone?

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: No-one will ever...

      More to the point, the 2.5inch format is about the largest form factor you can make and still reliabily dissipate the heat (and that really only in 7mm thickness)

      3.5 inch SSDs keep on being announced, but are endlessly plagued with heatsinking issues. The format worked for spinny things but it makes zero sense for solid state and trying to force the SSD square peg into that round hole isn't a good idea.

    5. Gigabob

      Re: No-one will ever...

      Kryptonians did that way back in the '80's.

  4. beast666

    Jeepers!

  5. jms222 Bronze badge

    Sign me up

    "Expected to" and "could have". Wow.

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Re: Sign me up

      I'd like to announce my MagicVegaLeapDrive which will pack 300TB into a 1.8" form factor which will be fully compatible with all known interfaces and drive bays.

      Pricing to be determined.

      Investors please contact the usual address and leave your money in the burning skip out the back.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE. Re. Sign me up

    Pfft! Only 300TB?

    I have some 8TB SDXC+ cards here.

    Only £39,999.95!

    Handy for those times you need to back up stuff *right now*, they have 8 way parallel write and the adapter will plug right into gigabit LAN/mSATA3/etc with the Cortexiphan (tm) onboard adaptive neural network compression chip so the data gets compressed on the fly before committing to Z-NAND.

    Chips encased in nano-diamond for the ultimate in advanced cooling, also includes internal X-ray and gamma radiation shielding. Made from isotopically pure 28Si for ultimate efficiency and freedom from point defects that plague lesser manufacturers.

    Got just over 6GBit/sec sustained write and card runs at just over 33C when writing.

    (Note: may not work in some older devices but will usually read fine)

  7. Miss Config
    Go

    Moore's Law ?

    Rumours of the death of Moore's Law have been exxagerated.

  8. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Oh my Tosh, I can't believe it,

    I've never seen a drive this small before.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now put 40 of these in a rack and we have 217.6PB

    Oh boy, now that's a lot of porn!

    1. swampdog
      Joke

      Re: Now put 40 of these in a rack and we have 217.6PB

      Not at 32K rez VR interactive it won't be. Now there's a thought for the future history books.. "The ACB - Affordable Consumer roBot only became possible with the explosion in demand for the PPB - personal pornbot.".

      "Once people figured out how to make the PPB shower & dress it wasn't long before they got sent to do the shopping."

      There'll be tabloid headlines: "My ACB got hacked! Woman demands law against foul dark web menace that turned her ACB into a PPB whilst shopping. A supermarket spokesbot made soothing noises but this tabloid can exclusively reveal the SSB was also hacked and the soothing noises it made were not those officially sanctioned and that all cucumbers purchased by unaffected ACBs are subject to recall."

      I'd better stop before this gets completely out of control!

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Now put 40 of these in a rack and we have 217.6PB

      "Oh boy, now that's a lot of porn!"

      Or some _very_ high res porn.

      1. The Nazz Silver badge

        Re: Now put 40 of these in a rack and we have 217.6PB

        Not to mention the olympic sized swimming pool of ji...

        I said not to mention it, you moron.

  10. JK63

    Anyone who would put all that storage in one rack, without needing a final capacity in the Exabyte range is looking for a really bad day.

    1. stiine

      You're assuming that there aren't similar racks to the left and right.

      Just how would one go about backing up 1PB?

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