Over the last few years, all of the major NAND makers have been in a race to build NAND memory with incredibly high layer counts, and now, these efforts are paying off for SK hynix. Today, the South Korean memory manufacturer is unleashing its Gold P31 SSDs onto the open consumer market, making SK hynix the first to sell an SSD with 128-layer NAND.
The Gold P31 SSDs come in the form of M.2 NVMe drives operating over the PCIe 3.0 interface, packing capacities of either 500 GB or 1 TB.
Both of the drives feature read speeds of up to 3500 MB/s and writes of up to 3200 MB/s, which is in-line with the best PCIe 3.0 based NVMe drives, saturating the PCI-Express bandwidth.
SK hynix says that the quality of the drives should be equal to that of the Samsung 970 Evo, albeit with better value.
Stacking the memory dies many layers on top of each other like this enables the NAND makers to cram more data into the same dies, which in the end uses less silicon per GB and reduces production costs, which are benefits that translate on to consumers. Tally that with today's low NAND prices, and SK hynix has some seriously sharp pricing on these units. Meanwhile, Samsung is working on 160-layer NAND, Intel on 144 layers, and YMTC on 128-layer 3D NAND, but none of them have brought a product to market yet.