SanDisk announced its new iNAND 7132 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. This speedy storage for mobile devices comes in capacities up to 64 GB and features impressive performance specifications.
The diminutive iNAND 7132 measures just 11.5 mm x 13 mm and comes as slim as 0.8 mm. iNAND still packs quite the punch with up to 280/125 MB/s of sequential read/write speed on tap. The increased sequential speed is essential for the expanding performance requirements of mobile devices, and the iNAND 7132 can easily handle 4K Ultra HD video recordings and shoot RAW images at 3 FPS. Random IOPS weigh in at 3300/2800 read/write, which fuels storage responsiveness to speed up everyday tasks, such as launching apps and downloading content.
The bulk of the storage on the device is 1Y nanometer 3-bit TLC NAND, which is much more economical than typical MLC NAND, but does not provide as much endurance. TLC is also denser than MLC, which is important for slim mobile devices.
To bring the density and cost-effectiveness of TLC, without compromising performance or endurance, SanDisk employs a small SLC NAND layer in tandem with its SmartSLC technology, which is built on SanDisk's Accelerator Architecture platform. The SLC layer catches random I/O and then passes it down to the TLC NAND as sequential data. This reduces wear on the TLC NAND, and has the additional benefit of providing fast burst speeds. A hybrid caching mechanism is perfect for mobile devices, which tend to have bursty workloads. iNAND 7132 can handle 24x7 use for 10 years, which is much longer than anyone will continue to use a mobile phone or tablet.
The embedded NAND space is very competitive as the NAND fabs vie for a slice of the lucrative and expanding mobile market. SanDisk's iNAND 7132 utilizes eMMC 5.0+, and early last month Samsung released an embedded NAND package that touts the new eMMC 5.1. These two storage devices will compete for different portions of the high/mid/low-end markets.
eMMC continues to be the de facto specification of choice for mobile storage, but another new competitor is waiting in the wings. Marvell flaunted its new NVMe-powered designs at Storage Visions 2015. Marvell displayed its NVMe controller embedded in Toshiba flash, which gives us a glimpse of other NAND fabs intentions in the future.
eMMC has already expanded to version 5.1 and other upgrades are in the works, so it will compete with NVMe in the future. This should make for an interesting competition in the mobile storage segment.