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Quote:The company has also started research into Penta-level cell (PLC) NAND flash and actually verified working five-bit per cell NAND by modifying its current QLC NAND. The new flash provides more density with the ability to store five bits per cell, rather than just four in current QLC. But, to do this, the cell needs to be capable of storing 32 distinct voltage levels, and SSD controllers need to read them back accurately. With so many voltage levels to read to and write at nano-scale, the new technology is very challenging. To get control of the tighter thresholds, the company had to develop some additional processes that may adapt to its current TLC and QLC to boost performance.

QLC is already fairly slow and has lower endurance than other types of flash. PLC will have even less endurance and slower performance. New NVMe protocol features such as Zoned Namespaces (ZNS) should help mitigate some of the issues, however. ZNS by itself aims to reduced write amplification, reduce the need for media over-provisioning and internal controller DRAM usage, and of course, improve throughput and latency.
Quote:Toshiba at the Flash Memory Summit announced they've managed to develop a 5-Bit-per-Cell memory solution Based on its BiCS 4 flash memory technologies, the feat was achieved using a modified module of Quad-Level Cell (QLC) memory. This shows the technology is not only feasible, but has room for improvement, since an adapted QLC technology will always be inferior to a natively-developed, Penta-Level Cell (PLC) solution.
Quote:Intel also announced new SSD 665p manufactured with 96-Layer QLC flash and revealed a roadmap outlining its future Optane SSD products and new 144-Layer QLC NAND. The company also announced that it is working towards developing 5-bit-per-cell flash, otherwise known as penta-level cell (PLC), to offer a path to increased storage density and lower-priced storage.

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