Just over a decade ago, Samsung announced the imminent arrival of the first laptops to come with 32 GB NAND flash storage. Now the company is set to shake up the storage tree again as it goes into mass production of the first consumer-level 4-bit, 4 TB SATA solid state drive, signaling a possible turning point for high capacity home storage.

Quad-level cell (QLC) flash storage technology steps up the bit-per-cell capacity from the current three bits to four, and Samsung expects the development to shake up the storage industry.

"Samsung's new 4-bit SATA SSD will herald a massive move to terabyte-SSDs for consumers," said Samsung's Jaesoo Han. "As we expand our lineup across consumer segments and to the enterprise, 4-bit terabyte-SSD products will rapidly spread throughout the entire market."

The company says that when data stored within a memory cell is bumped up from three bits to four, maintaining optimum performance and speed becomes "considerably more difficult." But Samsung reckons that by using a 3-bit SSD controller, TurboWrite technology and making use of 32 fourth gen 64-layer V-NAND chips, the new 4 TB QLC SATA SSD doesn't suffer such a performance drop.

As a result, sequential read speed is given as 540 MB/s and sequential write as 520 MB/s, though random read/write figures have yet to be revealed.

Will this development signal the rapid demise of large capacity HDDs? Probably not, yet. Price could be the spark that sets off the storage revolution, but at the moment Samsung isn't giving that vital piece of info away.

The new 4 TB drive is expected to be joined by 4-bit 1 TB, 2 TB and 4 TB 2.5-inch variants later in the year, with enterprise M.2 NVMe variants also in the pipe. And Samsung predicts that its new 1-terabit 4-bit V-NAND chip will enable the company to produce large capacity memory for smartphones, too.

Source: Samsung