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.


Western Digital’s $55 solid-state drive gives new life to your aging PC

Western Digital is hoping that you'll pick up one of its affordable WD Blue SN500 solid-state drives to give your aging PC more storage and a speed boost. WD's NVMe-based drives are up to three times faster than older SATA SSDs.

Grab 1 terabyte of SSD storage for just $100 with this sale on Amazon

If you're looking for an excellent opportunity to pick up a 1TB SSD at a low price, Amazon has you covered with Samsung's 860 QVO 1TB 2.5-inch SATA III Internal SSD. It is an excellent offering for both multimedia enthusiasts and gamers.

Grab a terabyte of storage at a discount with Amazon’s Samsung T5 SSD deal

In need of a portable external storage device? You can get a terabyte of storage at a discount for a limited time. Amazon is offering a discount on Samsung's lightweight T5 SSD of nearly 30 percent off of its original price of $250.

These cheap laptops will make you wonder why anyone spends more

Looking for a budget notebook for school, work, or play? The best budget laptops, including our top pick -- the Asus ZenBook UX331UA -- will get the job done without digging too deeply into your pockets.

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.

Old Nvidia graphics cards to get ray tracing support in upcoming driver

Nvidia's RTX ray tracing technology will no longer be limited to RTX graphics cards. An upcoming driver update will add support for low-end ray tracing to GTX 10-series and 16-series graphics cards.

Apple iMac gets more powerful with new Intel CPUs, Radeon Pro graphics

Apple on Tuesday, March 19 refreshed its iMac lineup with new models featuring slightly more powerful Intel processors and new AMD graphics cards. The new 27-inch 5K model comes with options for Intel's six-core or eight-core ninth-gen…

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.

Paper designs digitize in real time using an Illustrator-connected paper tablet

Love graphic design, but prefer the feel of real paper? The new Moleskine Paper Tablet - Creative Cloud Connected syncs with Adobe Illustrator in real time, turning paper sketches into digital drawings.

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.

Firefox 66 is here and it will soon block irritating autoplay videos

Do web advertisements have you frustrated? Mozilla is here to help. The latest version of the browser will soon block autoplaying videos by default and will also help make web page scrolling smoother.

USB4 will be the fastest and most uniform USB standard yet

USB4 is on the horizon and alongside a massive boost in speed it's also unifying with the Thunderbolt 3 standard to help finally create a singular wired connection protocol that all devices can enjoy.

The U.S. government plans to drop $500M on a ridiculously powerful supercomputer

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced plans to build a $500 million exascale supercomputer by 2021. The project, known as the Aurora supercomputer, is expected to boost research efforts in fields such as public health.
Buying Guides

Apple has powered up its iMac lineup, but which one should you opt for?

With new processors and graphics cards for both the 4K and 5K models, the iMac feels like a good option for creatives again. But which should you buy? Here's our guide to choosing the right Apple all-in-one for your needs.