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Samsung's 256 GB UFS 2.0 Mobile Storage Is Twice As Fast As SATA SSDs

Samsung announced the industry's first 256GB embedded memory based on the Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0 standard, which is meant to replace the eMMC standard. Samsung says that its new UFS 2.0 drive is faster even than some SATA-based SSDs for PCs.

"By providing high-density UFS memory that is nearly twice as fast as a SATA SSD for PCs, we will contribute to a paradigm shift within the mobile data storage marketup to 45,000 and 40,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) for random reading and writing respectively," said Joo Sun Choi, Executive Vice President, Memory Sales and Marketing for Samsung Electronics. "We are determined to push the competitive edge in premium storage line-ups – OEM NVMe SSDs, external SSDs, and UFS – by moving aggressively to enhance performance and capacity in all three markets."

The new embedded storage module is based on Samsung's own V-NAND technology and comes with a "specially-designed high-performance controller." The latest UFS 2.0 memory supports up to 45,000 and 40,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) for random reading and writing, respectively. That is twice as fast as the previous UFS generation that supported 19,000 and 14,000 IOPS for random read and write workloads.

Samsung's 256GB module achieves up to 850MB/s sequential read speed, which is twice as fast as many SATA SSDs. It also supports up to 256MB/s sequential write speed, which Samsung says is three times faster than what high-performance microSD cards can currently achieve.

These speeds should be more than fast enough to support 4k video playback, and the 256GB memory allows for storage of up to 47 Full HD movies, according to Samsung. The company also said that next-generation smartphones should support USB 3.0 speeds, which means you'll be able to transfer those large files much more quickly to your device as well.

Samsung had already announced the 128GB UFS 2.0 storage module a year ago, and since then the company managed to both double the capacity and the performance of the new 256GB module thanks to its V-NAND technology. The new storage chip should be available in products by the end of the year.

Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware. You can follow him at @lucian_armasu. 

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  • viperjt90
    This sounds awesome. I hope they can integrate this tech into other platforms. I.E Desktops, Cell phones, Consoles, etc. Cant beat speeds that are around 2X-3X faster than SATA SSD's.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    17563929 said:
    This sounds awesome. I hope they can integrate this tech into other platforms. I.E Desktops, Cell phones, Consoles, etc. Cant beat speeds that are around 2X-3X faster than SATA SSD's.

    They already have. The Galaxy S6 line is using UFS 2.0 for its storage.
    Reply
  • epobirs
    The description is a bit deceptive. If you look at the numbers, what they really mean is that they're twice as fast as really lousy SSDs. 850MB/s read speed is quite good on its own merits but when is the last time you considered buying a SATA SSD that topped out at 425MB/s?

    Then, when it comes to write speed, they change the comparison to microSD cards because staying with SATA SSDs would look even worse.

    This is utter marketing double talk. It's like they cannot help themselves when it comes to honest descriptions. The product is a big improvement over what it is intended to replace but apparently they feel that isn't enough to sell it, even though the target market isn't consumer but rather product design engineers who know better.

    So, yes, we're talking a substantial improvement for mobile devices but go by the actual numbers and not the deceptive language.
    Reply
  • atheus
    The company also said that next-generation smartphones should support USB 3.0 speeds
    ...but Samsung's next-generation smart phones don't support USB 3.0 speeds? Or are they just saying that they "should" even though they don't? Maybe they're talking about everyone else's next-gen smart phones? oh the lols.
    Reply
  • epobirs
    17564302 said:
    The company also said that next-generation smartphones should support USB 3.0 speeds
    ...but Samsung's next-generation smart phones don't support USB 3.0 speeds? Or are they just saying that they "should" even though they don't? Maybe they're talking about everyone else's next-gen smart phones? oh the lols.

    Plenty of current phones don't. Samsung itself got blowback on the Note series, reverting to USB 2.0 after negative response to the USB 3.0 mini-B port on the Note 3. Way too many people didn't understand that a 2.0 cable would still work at lower speed and power if plugged into the right half of the connector. So for the following generation they took the path of least resistance and just used 2.0. USB 3.1's Type C connector is a far better long term solution but has its own transitional issues, which means it will be a long time before it becomes, well, universal. There will likely be a generation of models with faster internal storage than their external connection can properly support. The demographic for those models won't know the difference. I've met a fair number of people who make it clear they don't know what USB is beyond charging their phone. So long as apps load faster on their new phone than its predecessor, they'll be happy.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    17564236 said:
    The description is a bit deceptive. If you look at the numbers, what they really mean is that they're twice as fast as really lousy SSDs. 850MB/s read speed is quite good on its own merits but when is the last time you considered buying a SATA SSD that topped out at 425MB/s?

    It looks like they may be talking about the theoretical performance of the UFS 2.0 standard rather than a specific real world implementation, which would mean that actual performance would depend on the specific controller and NAND used. If that's the case, a much fairer comparison would be to compare 850 MB/s to the 600 MB/s of the SATA 3, which would only be a 42% increase. So yeah, looks like a misleading statement.
    Reply
  • atheus
    17564517 said:
    Plenty of current phones don't. Samsung itself got blowback on the Note series, reverting to USB 2.0 after negative response to the USB 3.0 mini-B port on the Note 3. Way too many people didn't understand that a 2.0 cable would still work at lower speed and power if plugged into the right half of the connector.
    I didn't even know that (regarding plugging 2.0 mini-b into 3.0 mini-b), and I spend entirely too much time reading tech news. Then again, I only have one type of device that uses the mini-b USB 3.0 and it's an external HDD, so it's not like I had any cause to think about it. Regardless, USB-C isn't the same issue, and while I appreciate that there is a dollars and cents cost to fielding customer questions, I suspect that the competitive edge among informed buyers would make it worthwhile.

    17564517 said:
    So for the following generation they took the path of least resistance and just used 2.0. USB 3.1's Type C connector is a far better long term solution but has its own transitional issues, which means it will be a long time before it becomes, well, universal. There will likely be a generation of models with faster internal storage than their external connection can properly support. The demographic for those models won't know the difference. I've met a fair number of people who make it clear they don't know what USB is beyond charging their phone. So long as apps load faster on their new phone than its predecessor, they'll be happy.

    We're talking about a $600+ device, and all that's needed to plug USB-C into a type A port is a $5 cable or adapter. Sometimes the path of least resistance is still a plain stupid choice. The crux of their plan appears to me as "release a phone that's definitely going to be obsolete in 2017".
    Reply
  • Camikazi
    17564302 said:
    The company also said that next-generation smartphones should support USB 3.0 speeds
    ...but Samsung's next-generation smart phones don't support USB 3.0 speeds? Or are they just saying that they "should" even though they don't? Maybe they're talking about everyone else's next-gen smart phones? oh the lols.

    Plenty of current phones don't. Samsung itself got blowback on the Note series, reverting to USB 2.0 after negative response to the USB 3.0 mini-B port on the Note 3. Way too many people didn't understand that a 2.0 cable would still work at lower speed and power if plugged into the right half of the connector. So for the following generation they took the path of least resistance and just used 2.0. USB 3.1's Type C connector is a far better long term solution but has its own transitional issues, which means it will be a long time before it becomes, well, universal. There will likely be a generation of models with faster internal storage than their external connection can properly support. The demographic for those models won't know the difference. I've met a fair number of people who make it clear they don't know what USB is beyond charging their phone. So long as apps load faster on their new phone than its predecessor, they'll be happy.

    Wait, is that why they changed back to USB 2.0? I knew they changed but never knew why, although I did meet a few people who freaked out when they forgot the USB 3.0 cable and thought they could no longer charge their phone.
    Reply
  • razor512
    SATA 3 tops out at about 560MB/s real world throughput (reads and writes), and 100,000 IOPS for reads and writes.
    The next standard is m.2 which can top out at 4GB/s and over 1 million IOPS (if using a PCI-e 3.0 connection.

    If you compare the performance of current top of the line m.2 SSDs (2GB/s+ reads, and 1.5GB/s+ writes), you will see that benchmarks are not much higher, most non server/ data center style workloads have almost no improvement, and that is because it is extremely rare to hit even 300MB/s on high end SSD on tasks not involving a file transfer or file copy. The areas where where you notice a measurable improvement for common consumer workloads, is with the latency of the drive (how fast can it respond to an input), This directly improved the low queue depth performance which always run at a fraction of the total speed of the drive (even for RAM disks).

    Most tasks fail to go much beyond a queue depth of 1

    Unless they significantly reduce the latency, then it will not add up to an improved user experience when interacting with the device directly, instead it would only benefit you when transferring media to and from the device using USB 3.0 or 3.1, as you are then doing linear reads and writes, and could potentially backup the full device in around 5 minutes.
    Reply
  • alidan
    SATA 3 tops out at about 560MB/s real world throughput (reads and writes), and 100,000 IOPS for reads and writes.
    The next standard is m.2 which can top out at 4GB/s and over 1 million IOPS (if using a PCI-e 3.0 connection.

    If you compare the performance of current top of the line m.2 SSDs (2GB/s+ reads, and 1.5GB/s+ writes), you will see that benchmarks are not much higher, most non server/ data center style workloads have almost no improvement, and that is because it is extremely rare to hit even 300MB/s on high end SSD on tasks not involving a file transfer or file copy. The areas where where you notice a measurable improvement for common consumer workloads, is with the latency of the drive (how fast can it respond to an input), This directly improved the low queue depth performance which always run at a fraction of the total speed of the drive (even for RAM disks).

    Most tasks fail to go much beyond a queue depth of 1

    Unless they significantly reduce the latency, then it will not add up to an improved user experience when interacting with the device directly, instead it would only benefit you when transferring media to and from the device using USB 3.0 or 3.1, as you are then doing linear reads and writes, and could potentially backup the full device in around 5 minutes.

    I have a question, if you know it. I have a folder that has a crap ton of images and it and it takes a while for it to load, it's on a solid state but the South states the fair number years old at this point. You tell me what part would make that process faster?
    17564517 said:
    Plenty of current phones don't. Samsung itself got blowback on the Note series, reverting to USB 2.0 after negative response to the USB 3.0 mini-B port on the Note 3. Way too many people didn't understand that a 2.0 cable would still work at lower speed and power if plugged into the right half of the connector.
    I didn't even know that (regarding plugging 2.0 mini-b into 3.0 mini-b), and I spend entirely too much time reading tech news. Then again, I only have one type of device that uses the mini-b USB 3.0 and it's an external HDD, so it's not like I had any cause to think about it. Regardless, USB-C isn't the same issue, and while I appreciate that there is a dollars and cents cost to fielding customer questions, I suspect that the competitive edge among informed buyers would make it worthwhile.

    17564517 said:
    So for the following generation they took the path of least resistance and just used 2.0. USB 3.1's Type C connector is a far better long term solution but has its own transitional issues, which means it will be a long time before it becomes, well, universal. There will likely be a generation of models with faster internal storage than their external connection can properly support. The demographic for those models won't know the difference. I've met a fair number of people who make it clear they don't know what USB is beyond charging their phone. So long as apps load faster on their new phone than its predecessor, they'll be happy.

    We're talking about a $600+ device, and all that's needed to plug USB-C into a type A port is a $5 cable or adapter. Sometimes the path of least resistance is still a plain stupid choice. The crux of their plan appears to me as "release a phone that's definitely going to be obsolete in 2017".

    A device is not obsolete because it doesn't use the connection you want
    Reply