Skip to main content

New QLC flash memory from Toshiba could push SSD capacity as high as 128TB

toshiba ups its storage game with reveal of 4 bit mlc memory qlc roadmap
Marc Sauter /
The solid state drive news continues to come fast and furious from this year’s Flash Memory Summit, where the world’s leading flash memory manufacturers are unveiling the latest technology. One tech innovation that’s not gaining much attention, but that could greatly increase data densities, is Toshiba’s Quadruple Level Cell.

Many of today’s solid state drives use a type of flash called Triple Level Cell (TLC) or, interchangeably, 3-bit Multi-level Cell (3-bit MLC). This kind of flash can store 3 bits of data per cell. As the name implies, Toshiba’s technology boosts that to 4 bits per cell.

That permits every memory cell in a QLC drive to store more data, resulting in higher data densities. Toshiba believes that QLC and other technologies will drastically increase SSD drive size in the near future, resulting in capacities of up to 128TB by 2018.

The announcement of QLC seems to have come as a bit of a surprise, largely because it’s extremely complex. In order to make this possible, Toshiba had to find a way to handle 16 narrow voltage ranges that represent data stored by the drive, and that doesn’t leave much room for variation or error.

While QLC may enable extremely high data densities, it does appear to have notable disadvantages. Drive endurance is lower than other forms of flash memory, as the sensitive cells wear out more quickly, and performance is not expected to be on par with current SSDs. As a result, Toshiba is positioning the technology as a solution for archival storage – big, affordable drives that aren’t often used.

Whatever their use, the drives won’t be coming to stores anytime soon. Toshiba’s current roadmap suggests they’ll come out sometime late in 2016. As you might imagine, given the timeframe, pricing is also unavailable.

Editors' Recommendations

Matthew S. Smith
Matthew S. Smith is the former Lead Editor, Reviews at Digital Trends. He previously guided the Products Team, which dives…
This Dell 15-inch Windows laptop is in the sale bin for $300
Someone using the Dell Inspiron 15 on their lap.

If you need a new laptop but you don't need an overly powerful machine, you should check out Dell's offer for the Dell Inspiron 15. From an already affordable original price of $380, it's currently even cheaper at just $300 following an $80 discount. There's always a lot of demand for laptop deals featuring dependable devices like this one, so you shouldn't take too much time thinking about it. Proceed with the purchase immediately if you want to pocket the savings.

Why you should buy the Dell Inspiron 15
Dell is one of the best laptop brands, because its machines are excellent choices for work or school -- and that extends to its budget offerings like the Dell Inspiron 15. With the 12th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, integrated Intel UHD Graphics, and 8GB of RAM, it's not going to challenge the best laptops in terms of performance, but it's more than enough for basic tasks. Activities like doing online research, building presentations, browsing social media, and watching streaming content won't be a problem with the Dell Inspiron 15, though you may consider upgrading to 16GB of RAM if you need a boost in processing power for your apps, as recommended by our guide on how much RAM do you need.

Read more
This Dell 2-in-1 laptop is over $1,100 off right now (seriously)
Dell Latitude 9330 tent view showing display and hinge.

If you're looking at 2-in-1 laptop deals because you like the versatility of these devices, you're going to love this opportunity to get the Dell Latitude 7430 2-in-1 laptop with a discount of $1,118. It's currently available from Dell for $1,009, for savings of $1,018 on its original price of $2,027, but you'll get an extra $100 off with the code SAVE100, which pulls its price down even further to $909. That's an absolute steal for this machine, so you better hurry with your purchase because we're not sure when the bargain will disappear.

Why you should buy the Dell Latitude 7430 2-in-1 laptop
The Dell Latitude 7430 falls under the convertible category of 2-in-1 laptops, according to our laptop buying guide. That means you can quickly and easily switch from laptop mode to tablet mode by folding its 14-inch touchscreen with Full HD resolution all the way back to below its keyboard. Not only is the device portable, but it's also capable of matching your needs at any given moment. You'll be able to use the keyboard for typing documents in laptop mode, and maximize the touchscreen for using apps in tablet mode, for example.

Read more
Usually $995, this Dell work-from-home laptop is $449 today
Dell Latitude 3420 on a desk hooked up to a monitor.

One of the best laptop deals comes courtesy of Dell and is perfect for anyone on a budget. Currently, you can buy the Dell Latitude 3420 laptop for $449 saving you $545 off the regular price of $995. It's currently on the Dell website for $499 but if you use the code SAVE50, you save an additional $50 bringing it down to its excellent new price. If you're in the market for a cheap laptop, take a look at what it offers below.

Why you should buy the Dell Latitude 3420
With Dell being one of the best laptop brands, you can be safe in the knowledge you get good value for money with the Dell Latitude 3420. It has an 11th-generation Intel Core i3 processor along with 8GB of memory and 256GB of SSD storage. Alongside that is a better screen than you'd normally get at this price. It has a 14-inch full HD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 250 nits of brightness.

Read more