Samsung Starts Production of First 512GB UFS Package for Mobile Devices
The first smartphone to use Universal Flash Storage (UFS) as a storage solution was the Samsung Galaxy S6. Using UFS proved to be the right decision for Samsung, as it achieved much better performance than eMMC, which was predominantly used by Android phones at the time. Since then, we’ve seen multiple smartphone OEMs adopt UFS. This year, flagships have moved to the UFS 2.1 standard which brings even higher storage performance.
Recently, we’ve seen Toshiba announce that it has started shipping UFS devices having 64-layer 3D flash storage. Now, Samsung Electronics has announced that it has begun mass production of the industry’s first 512GB embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) solution for use in next-generation mobile devices. The new 512GB eUFS package uses Samsung’s latest 64-layer 512-gigabit V-NAND chips, and is said to provide “unparalleled storage capacity” and “outstanding performance for upcoming smartphones and tablets”.
Jaesoo Han, executive vice president of Memory Sales & Marketing at Samsung Electronics, stated:
“The new Samsung 512GB eUFS provides the best embedded storage solution for next-generation premium smartphones by overcoming potential limitations in system performance that can occur with the use of micro SD cards. By assuring an early, stable supply of this advanced embedded storage, Samsung is taking a big step forward in contributing to timely launches of next-generation mobile devices by mobile manufacturers around the world.”
The new 512GB UFS device consists of eight 64-layer 512-gigabit V-NAND chips stacked together with a controller chip. Therefore, it doubles the density of Samsung’s previous 48-layer V-NAND-based 256GB eUFS, and Samsung notes that it does so in the same amount of space as the 256GB package.
According to Samsung, the 512GB eUFS package enables a flagship smartphone to store approximately 130 4K (3840×2160) videos of 10-minute duration. The company says that’s about a tenfold increase over a 64GB eUFS, which lets users store about 13 of the equivalently sized videos.
Samsung says that it has introduced a new set of proprietary technologies to maximize performance and energy efficiency. Even though the 512GB eUFS solution contains 2x the number of cells as compared to a 256GB eUFS, Samsung states that the “inevitable increase in energy consumed” will be minimized by the 64-layer 512-gigabit V-NAND’s “advanced circuit design” and new power management technology in the controller. Also, the 512GB eUFS’ controller chip is said to “speed up the mapping process for converting logical block addresses to those of physical blocks.”
Samsung rates the new 512GB eUFS for sequential read speeds up to 860MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 255MB/s. The company states that the package enables transferring a 5GB-equivalent Full HD video clip to an SSD in about six seconds—making it over eight times faster than a typical microSD card.
For the other part of the equation—random performance—Samsung rates the new eUFS for up to 42,000 IOPS for random reads and up to 40,000 IOPS for random writes. According to Samsung, the random writes of the UFS package are approximately 400 times faster than the 100 IOPS speed of a conventional microSD card. This will improve the speed of storage-intensive tasks such as high-resolution burst photos, file searches, and downloading videos in dual app mode, the company states.
Finally, Samsung noted that it intends to “steadily” increase production volume for its 64-layer 512Gb V-NAND chips, while continuing to expand its 256Gb V-NAND production. According to the company, this is expected to meet the increase in demand for embedded mobile storage, SSDs, and removable memory cards with high density and performance.
Our take: 512GB of UFS storage seems like a dream, but the question is: will OEMs release devices with such an incredibly high amount of internal storage? It’s a remote possibility for now, and even if flagships are released with variants having 512GB of storage, they are sure to be priced extremely high.