QLC vs 3D Nand Flash SSD Storage

QLC vs 3D Nand Flash SSD Storage Endurance Performance and Specs

In this post, we are going to compare QLC vs 3D Nand and understand their differences and use cases.

We have talked about storage technologies quite a lot on our website. Today, we will be discussing two of the latest storage technologies which are creating quite a lot of buzz these days. The first one is 3D Nand technology about which many of us are well aware. The second one is pretty new and not that popular, the QLC technology.

Related: WD Blue vs Green SSDs

QLC vs 3D Nand

We will go in in-depth technical details and see how these technologies differ from each other, what relation they share and some other technical stuff. At the end of the post, we will also share a list of storage solutions based on these technologies. So without any more delay, let us begin.

3D Nand:

In 3D Nand flash memory, cells are stacked in multiple vertical layers. 3D Nands were designed to resolve problems we faced in old 2D or planar Nand technology. It allows storage solutions to achieve better densities while keeping the cost low. The main difference between planar and 3D Nand technology is that Planar NAND uses single memory cell layer, unlike 3D Nand, which comes with multiple layers.

Advantages of 3D Nand:

  • It delivers more capacity compared to Planar Nands. For M.2 SSDs, you can get up to 3.5 TB of storage, and on standard 2.5-inch SSDs, you get up to 10 TB of superfast storage.
  • It boosts up speed & performance in both terms of I/O and random read & writes. Moreover, it features fast 4KB read mode.
  • The new sleep feature in Nand technology cuts of power to inactive dies, even if there are active dies in the same package, which helps improving power efficiency

3D Nand – Key Specifications:

Technology MLC TLC
Density 32 GB 48 GB
Process Node 3D 3D
Bits 2 / cell 3 / cell
Page Size 18592 bytes 18592 bytes
Page Per Block 1024 1536
Block Size 18592 KB 27888 KB
Block x Plane 548 x 4 548 x 4
Prog (TYP / MAX) 1300 / 2500 us 1630 / 5000 us
P/E Cycle 3K + read retry 3K + read retry
ECC / Codeword 72b / 1 KB BCH / LDPC LDPC /72-bit BCH
BERS (TYP / MAX) 15 / 45 ms 15 / 45 ms
R (TYP) 77 us 100 us
SNAP 40 us 53 us
ONFI Compliance 4.0 4.0
V-CQC 1.2, 1.8 V 1.2, 1.8 V
Packages Die

BGA

TSOP

Die

BGA

TSOP Package Options 48 pin TSOP

(SDP, DDP)

BGA Package Options BGA 132

(SDP, DDP, QDP, 8DP, 16DP)

BGA 132

(SDP, DDP, 3DP, QDP, 8DP, 16DP)

3D Nand – Applications:

  • Enterprise Storage
  • Cloud Storage
  • Consumer Storage
  • Client SSDs
  • Embedded
  • Mobile
  • Automotive

QLC (Quad Level Cell):

The QLC Nand flash storage allows the consumer to store read-centric workloads quick and easy in large values. The QLC speeds up the process for both accessing and serving the data, which ultimately leads to the better user experience. It will be an upgrade over MLC and TLC NANDs. Compared to TLC, QLC offers 33% more data density for each cell. Following are some key advantages of this storage technology:

Advantages of QLC Nand:

  • Compared to traditional HDDs, QLC storage takes fewer drives for delivering read centric and performance intensive workloads. It helps to reduce the overall size of a data store.
  • Compared to traditional HDDs in same performance bracket, QLC SSDs consumes three times less power while delivering high performance I/O per drive
  • The reduced data consumption leads to reduced operating temperature hence improves cooling
  • As discussed, it is the way to compact compared to conventional storage solutions and takes up to 41% less physical space and offers more density

3D Nand – Applications:

  • Real-Time analytics / Big Data
  • Business Intelligence, Decision support system
  • Active archives, Large block storage
  • Read-intensive artificial intelligence
  • Machine and deep learning
  • Content delivery, Video on demand, Content streaming
  • NoSQL Databases
  • Perform quick user authentication

Top 3D Nand SSDs:

Since 3D Nand technology is pretty mature, there are quite a lot of options to choose from. You can easily find top quality SSDs in your target performance and price bracket easily. Anyways, following is a list of some of the best options available out there in the market:

WD Blue 3D NAND SATA SSD – 500 GB – 6 Gb/s:

M.2 SATA SSD Drives

Check on Amazon

Overview

Capacity  500 GB
Interface Serial ATA 600

(6 Gb/s)

Internal Data Rate 560 MB/s on reading

530 MB/s on write

Drive Transfer Rate 600 MB/s (External)
Expansion / Connectivity 1x SATA 6 Gb/s
Compliant Standards SMART

Hard Drive

Form Factor  M.2 2280
Features 3D NAND Technology

DEVSLP SATA Lower Power Mode

SSD Endurance 200 TB
Type Internal Hard Drive
Storage Interface Serial ATA 600
Data Transfer Rate 600 MB/s
Internal Data Rate 560 MB/s

Environmental Parameters

Storage Temperature -67 F – 185 F
Operating Temperature 32 F – 158 F
Power Consumption (2050 mW) Active

(3350 mW) Read

(52 mW) Sleep

(56 mW) Write

Vibration Tolerance

                       Operating 5 G Acceleration

10-2000 Hz frequency range

Non-Operating 4.9 G Acceleration

7-800 Hz frequency range

Dimension & Weight

Dimension 0.9 x 0.1 x 3.1 inches
Weight 0.25 oz

Service & Support

Brand WD
Product Line / Model WD Blue 3D NAND SATA SSD

WDS500G2BOB

Package Quantity 1 Unit
Warranty 3 years of limited warranty from the manufacturer

WD Blue 3D NAND SATA SSD – 500 GB – 6 Gb/s:

M.2 SATA SSD Drives

Overview

Capacity 500 GB
Interface M.2 Card

Serial ATA 600

Encryption Algorithm 256 bit AES
MTBF 1800000 sec
Hardware Encryption Yes
                          Details                   TCG Opal Encryption 2.0
Nand Memory Type Single Level Cell (SLV)
Expansion / Connectivity 1x SATA 6 Gb/s – M.2 Card
Compliant Standards SMART

Hard Drive

Form Factor  M.2 2280
Features 3D NAND Technology

Active Garbage Collection

Power Loss Data Protection

Upgradable Firmware

Adaptive Thermal Protection

Device Sleep Support

Error Correction Code

Microsoft eDrive Compatible

Multistep Data Integrity Algorithm

Redundant Array of Independent NAND

TRIM Support

Dynamic Write Acceleration

SSD Endurance 180 TB
Type Internal Hard Drive
Storage Interface Serial ATA 600
Data Transfer Rate 600 MB/s
Internal Data Rate 560 MB/s (read)

510 MB/s (write)

4 KB Random Read 95000
4 KB Random Read 90000

Environmental Parameters

Storage Temperature
Operating Temperature 32 F – 158 F
Power Consumption

Dimension & Weight

Dimension 0.9 inches x 3.1 inches
Weight

Service & Support

Brand Crucial
Product Line / Model Crucial MX500
Package Quantity 1
Warranty 5 Years of limited warranty from the manufacturer

WD Blue 3D NAND SATA SSD – 500 GB – 6 Gb/s:

M.2 SATA SSD Drives

Overview

Capacity 128 GB
Interface SATA 6 Gb/s
MTBF 2000000 sec
Nand Memory Type 3D Triple-level cell (TLC)
Compliant Standards

Hard Drive

Form Factor  M.2 2280
Features DRAM Cache

Dev-Sleep Mode

Intelligent SLC Caching

LDPC Error Correction Code

SMI Controller

SSD Endurance
Type Internal Hard Drive
Storage Interface Serial ATA 600
Data Transfer Rate 600 MB/s
Internal Data Rate 560 MB/s (Read)

520 MBs (Write)

Environmental Parameters

Storage Temperature -40 F – 185 F
Operating Temperature 32 F – 159 F
Power Consumption

Shock Tolerance

                       Operating 1500 G Acceleration

0.5 ms Shock Duration

Non-Operating

Dimension & Weight

Dimension 0.9 x 3.1 x 0.1 inches
Weight 0.28 oz

Service & Support

Brand ADATA
Product Line / Model ADATA Ultimate

SU 800

Package Quantity 1
Warranty 3 years of limited warranty

Best QLC SSDs:

Unfortunately, the QLC technology has not yet matured as much as other standards like MLC and TLC have (which are used for 3D Nand SSDs). However, Intel has taken the initiative to launch the first ever QLC SSD available openly for sale. Samsung has also announced about their upcoming SSDs based on this technology. For now, here is a quick look at this one and only QLC SSD available out there on online stores by Intel:

Intel SSD 660P Mainstream QLC SSD (1 TB) :

Best PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD Drives

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Intel SSD 660p is getting pretty popular as a mainstream storage solution for the impressive capacity, the performance it offers in real-world workloads while keeping the power efficiency at its finest. Technically, you will only be paying around 0.20 bucks per GB of storage. And for your surprise, there is not a single storage solution available in the same performance bracket that gets any closer to this figure. Still, it is pretty new in the market and lacks testing/benchmarks from a trusted source. We will recommend going for some other high endurance solution which will last better under heavy workloads. Regardless, the following is a quick look at some facts and figures:

Overview

Brand  Intel
Series 660p
Model SSDPEKNW010T8X1
Type Internal SSD (Solid State Drive)
Product Type Mainstream (Consumer)

Details

Form Factor M.2 2280
Capacity 1 TB
Memory Components 3D NAND
Interface PCIe 3.0 x4

Performance

Read (Sequential) 1800 MB/s Max
Write (Sequential) 1800 MB/s Max
4 KB Random Read 150000 IOPS Max
4 KB Random Write 220000 IOPS Max
MTBF 1600000 hours

Environmental Parameters

Power Consumption 40 mW (Idle)

100 mW (Active)

Temperature Operation: 0 C ~ 70 C

Storage: -55 C ~ 95 C

Humidity 5 – 95%
Shock Resistance 1000 G / 0.5 ms (Operational)

1500 G / 0.5 ms (Idle)

Vibration Resistance 2.17 G at 5 – 700 Hz (Operational)

3.13 G at 5 – 800 Hz (Idle)

Dimension & Weight

Dimension 2.38 x 22 x 80 mm
Weight ~ 10 g

Warranty & Support

Type Limited Warranty on Parts and Labor
Duration 5 years of warranty from the manufacturer

Conclusion:

We hope this post helps you to understand everything related to these storage technologies and all the differences they share. As QLC technology gets more mature and more products are made mainstream for general users, we will keep updating you with all the latest information and products available.

For now, feel free to ask any questions or suggestion in the comment section below. We post such stuff regularly, so make sure you subscribe to this blog as well, if you haven’t done already. See you until next post, Thanks for visiting us!

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