Samsung just announced a new SSD that’s tiny in physical size but huge in capacity. The chip offers up 512GB storage and is the first ever to offer NVMe in a BGA package.
256GB and 128GB options are also available. The SSDs promise sequential read speeds of up to 1,500MB/s, write speeds up to 900MB/s and IOPS of 190K and 150K respectively.
The chip, dubbed PM971-NVMe, measures a mere 20 x 16 x 1.5mm and weighs a gram. In that minuscule package, Samsung managed to fit 512GB LPDDR RAM, a Samsung controller and an impressive 16 48-layer 256-gigabit V-NAND flash chips.
Samsung makes the world’s first NVMe SSD in a BGA form factor
If you’re not familiar with the initials above, let me give you the crash course. NVMe is a PCI-E based connection that is much faster than SATA (3 times faster, says Samsung). BGA is the kind of chip that gets soldered to the motherboard.
Essentially, these will be found in tablets and ultrabooks. The soldered chip is very compact – 1/100 of the volume of a 2.5″ SSD – but are not user-replaceable (obviously). The SSD is tiny enough to fit in a smartphone, but it requires PCI-E support from the chipset and phone chipsets do not normally have that. A bigger issue may be that PCI-E wasn’t designed for a smartphone power envelope, but Apple seems happy with it.