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SSD competition

Samsung, Hynix in intensifying competition for solid-state drives

By Jan 18, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Samsung, Hynix in intensifying competition for solid-state drives

Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc. are unveiling a series of new solid-state drives (SSDs) to grab a greater share of the intensifying global consumer market for high-capacity storage devices.

SK Hynix said in a statement on Jan. 18 that it has begun selling its latest SSDs – Gold P31 and Gold S31 – in the Korean market. The products are among its popular SuperCore series launched in the US market in 2019.

The two latest models are based on the company’s 128-layer NAND flash memory and employ cells that can store three bits per cell (TLC). TLCs have better write performance and last longer than quadruple level cells (QLCs) that store four bits each, making the TLC type more costly.

SK Hynix said the Gold P31 uses its proprietary Hyper Light technology to make its write and read speed faster and 236% more electricity-efficient than rival products. The SSD comes in two storage capacities of 500 gigabytes (GB) and 1 terabyte (TB).

More commonly used Gold S31 is based on the SATA interface and comes with storage capacities of 250 GB, 500 BT and 1 TB.

To strengthen its SSD business, SK Hynix announced in October 2020 that it is acquiring Intel Corp.’s NAND memory business, SSD business and its memory manufacturing facility in China for $9 billion.

SAMSUNG SET TO UNVEIL 870 EVO SERIES

Samsung, Hynix in intensifying competition for solid-state drives
The company’s crosstown rival, Samsung Electronics, is also set to unveil new SSD products.

According to foreign media outlets, Samsung has sent out samples of its latest 870 EVO series to potential buyers in Europe and the US.

Based on the third-generation SATA interface, the 870 EVO uses TLC flash memory and is the fastest drive, touching 560 MB per second for reads and 530 MB per second for writes, thus more suitable for video game consoles such as Sony’s PlayStation 5.

Samsung’s latest SSD will come in several capacities ranging between 250 GB and 4 TB. The new drive, which carries the same five-year warranty as the previous 860 EVO, is said to be priced at $499 for the 4 TB model, much lower than the 860 EVO’s $1,400 price tag.

SSDs EMERGE AS KEY EXPORT ITEM

Graphics by Jerry Lee
Graphics by Jerry Lee

SSDs have emerged as one of South Korea’s key export items on the growing demand for PCs and other electronic devices amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the country’s SSD exports doubled to $10.06 billion in 2020 from $4.99 billion in 2019.

Industry analysts say major SSD players are expected to engage in a game of chicken amid falling NAND prices.

According to market researcher TrendForce, global NAND flash bit production is forecast to rise 6% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2020, with sales prices falling 10-15% on average.

Write to Su-Bin Lee at lsb@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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