Ever booted a PC with a solid state drive. ? It’s almost a religious experience. Speed ​​is hard to believe until you try it.

The SSD is perhaps the most notable upgrade for non-gamers. Most people don’t actually notice that their processor is a little faster or they have a few gigabytes more RAM, but they do notice how much faster Windows starts up — not to mention how much easier it is to run memory-intensive programs like Photoshop. .

Why SSD?

Solid state drives can be many times faster than traditional hard drives i.e. hard drives spinning a physical disk under a read needle. In contrast, SSDs are made up of arrays of tiny capacitors. which can store a charge for long periods of time and are less susceptible to mechanical damage. Because there are no moving parts, data can be read at incredible speeds.

Right now, the main reason to still have a hard drive is cost. At the time of this article’s publication, you can get a new terabyte hard drive for about $50. An SSD of the same capacity costs around $400, which is impractical for most users.

However, a new breakthrough from Toshiba could change all that.


For a long time, the path of progress in flash memory has been building smaller and smaller gates that store less and less charge. However, this process can only continue for so long as small gates become more and more error-prone. Recently, there has been a trend towards deeper memory layering in 3D, getting more memory from the same amount of silicon.

Samsung and the Intel-Micron combine have announced their own 3D memory technology that delivers more capacity at a lower cost than previous technologies.

deep memory

Toshiba’s breakthrough, dubbed BiCS (for Bit Cost Scalable), involves building stacks of gateways with 48 layers deep — other approaches allow only 36. The new technology allows three times the storage capacity without increasing the price or size, which should be three terabyte flash drives. and 400GB microSD cards make the most of your cards essentially eliminating the memory gap for mobile devices.

It would also make flash storage more cost-competitive — if SSDs were about three times as expensive as HDDs (with one TB around $140), OEMS could ditch the HDD from entry-level PCs in favor of pure SSDs. machines.


While Toshiba’s announcement followed other announcements, it’s all been in the works for a while. Toshiba first talked about this idea in 2007 and has been working on the technology ever since. Not much is known about how Toshiba’s memory is made, but it’s quite natural — all companies developing 3D flash memory technology are rather silent about the details.

Now Toshiba is technologically winning and knows it. They are building their own facility to manufacture the new flash chips and plan to begin commercial production next year, an aggressive timeline for such a new technology. This makes sense: there are probably even more 3D memory designs running in stealth mode. It’s only a matter of time before one of their competitors puts together something even more impressive. The next few years will be extremely competitive in flash memory, and consumers will benefit.


High-end tech, low price

On a broader level, this is also an interesting part of a larger trend. New architecture thanks to which the new GTX 900 line has significantly improved energy efficiency. This allows mid-range GPUs to be powered from a standard PCI-e slot without the need for an expensive modular power supply. This means we may start seeing them in pre-built PCs.

The falling cost of solid-state drives is driving high-end gaming technology into the hands of mainstream consumers. Just a few years ago, solid state drives were extravagant for hot computers. There is now a good chance they will become the industry standard for finished beige boxes. The gap between pre-built PCs and high-end gaming platforms is closing fast.

If you are a PC gamer, this trend should get you excited. One of the strongest arguments for the existence of game consoles is that building a gaming PC is often costly and difficult, especially for those new to it. In contrast, consoles offer a (relatively) cheap and easy way to start playing games.

However, if most pre-built PCs start packing enough hardware to run modern AAA games at decent settings, consumers will take the path of least resistance and the money will move on. The result will be fewer console exclusives, more money spent on PC game development, and larger communities around the hobby. If you’re a PC gamer, this new technology is great news.

I’m personally curious how far this trend can go. What is the ceiling of flash memory technology? Will we ever see petabyte flash drives? Will our appetite for data grow, leading to a denser and denser storage solution?

What do you think? Excited for tighter storage? Already have an SSD? Let us know about it in the comments!

Image Credits: Hand Grenade on Via Shutterstock Hard Drive, Intel SSD, from Wikimedia, Expo 88 Toshiba, from Wikimedia, «Personal Storage Devices», from Wikimedia

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