Micron has announced it’s shipping 176-layer TLC NAND flash memory to customers, a move that portends larger, faster and even cheaper SSD drives for all. From a report: The company said its 5th-gen 3D NAND memory should put its density about 40 percent higher than its nearest competitors, which are using 128-layer NAND. Micron said read and write latencies are reduced by 35 percent compared to its 96-layer NAND, and by 25 percent compared its 128-layer NAND. Micron isn’t the only NAND memory manufacturer that has 176 layers, but it is the first to start volume shipments. The Micron NAND is TLC, or three-bits per cell, and is said to have 33 percent faster transfer rates, as well as a 35 percent improvement in read and write latencies. And because it’s TLC NAND instead of QLC, the new memory should offer better drive endurance, too. The 176-layer design comes from stacking two 88-layer stacks together, which isn’t a new thing for Micron. You might think that’s a trick, but the end result is still the same: far better density for larger drives. Micron said the new 176-layer NAND is about as thick as one-fifth of a sheet of printer paper, and works out to be as thick its previous 64-layer NAND despite having more than twice as many layers. In the end, this will lead to larger SSDs and potentially cheaper ones, too.

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