Western Digital now sampling world's first 96-layer 3D NAND UFS 2.1 for next generation of smartphones
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Western Digital is now mass producing its first 96-layer 3D NAND flash storage for major OEMs to be used on smartphones, tablets, mobile PCs, and other devices. Called the iNAND MC EU321, the module promises very fast sequential read and write rates of 800 MB/s and 550 MB/s, respectively, and a storage capacity of up to 256 GB.
In comparison, the 128 GB UFS 2.1 flash in the Galaxy Note 9 returns sequential read and write rates of about 800 MB/s and 200 MB/s, respectively, according to our own tests on AndroBench. Memory competitors like Samsung and Micron have also been investing in 96-layer 3D NAND throughout the year with differing fabrication methods to achieve similar goals.
Additionally, Western Digital is promising improved performance sustainability when the drive begins to reach full capacity via a small update to its proprietary 5th generation SmartSLC technology (SmartSLC 5.1).
The iNAND MC EU321 supplants last year's 64-layer iNAND MC EU311. It is unknown when we may begin seeing consumer devices sporting the new MC EU321. Since the embedded chip can start as low as 32 GB, its applications can range from cheap tablets like the Nintendo Switch up to high-end next generation smartphones from Apple.