Samsung Unveils 256 GB Flash Chips for Smartphones, Tablets
High-end mobile devices may be getting a big boost in memory, thanks to a new chip introduced by Samsung Electronics this week. The company announced that it would begin mass production of a 256-gigabyte embedded memory chip based on the Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0 standard.
The news could help explain the recent rumor that the iPhone 7 will offer a 256 GB model when it’s introduced, most likely in September. Samsung is a major Apple partner and the new chip could give the new iPhone the storage it needs to satisfy customers consuming copious amounts of digital content.
The company first announced availability of a 128 GB UFS memory last February. Since then, it has doubled the capacity and speed of UFS memory. But storage capacity isn’t the only benefit of the new UFS standard. The storage technology is also considerably faster than some SATA-based solid state drives (SSDs) normally found in PCs.
“By providing high-density UFS memory that is nearly twice as fast as a SATA SSD for PCs, we will contribute to a paradigm shift within the mobile data storage market,” said Samsung marketing executive Joo Sun Choi in a statement. “We are determined to push the competitive edge in premium storage line-ups -- OEM NVMe SSDs, external SSDs, and UFS -- by moving aggressively to enhance performance and capacity in all three markets.”
Those speeds come courtesy of Samsung’s advanced V-NAND flash memory technology, combined with a high-performance controller specifically designed for the job. The result is a memory chip for devices that can handle up to 45,000 and 40,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) for random reading and writing respectively, over two times faster than the 19,000 and 14,000 IOPS of the previous generation of UFS memory.
For sequential reading, the 256 GB UFS takes advantage of two lanes of data transfer to move data at up to 850 MB/s, which is nearly twice as fast as some SATA-based SSDs used PCs. In terms of sequential writing, it supports up to 260 MB/s, which is approximately three times faster than high-performance external micro SD cards.
Smaller than Micro SD
Those specs make it possible to move a lot of data very quickly. The UFS memory can support seamless ultra HD playback and multitasking on mobile devices. Users can watch 4K HD movies on split screens while downloading files. And the 256 GB of space means users can store up to 47 full HD movies on their devices.
Even better, they’ll be able to transfer them faster as well. With new smartphones supporting the USB 3.0 interface, users will be able to transfer full, 90-minute HD movies to their smartphones in about 12 seconds.
These improvements won’t require any more space on users' devices than current storage solutions. The UFS chip is even smaller than the external micro SD cards used by the current generation of smartphones, which should give designers plenty of flexibility when looking to incorporate UFS into their handsets.
Image Credit: Samsung.