Seagate's getting into the SSD business, and it's doing so by converting coal into diamonds. Yesterday, Seagate inked a deal with DensBits, which has an SSD controller that it says can dramatically improve the speed and longevity of NAND flash memory -- basically making fairly low-quality SSDs into average-quality SSDs. Seagate bought an undisclosed stake in DensBits and together, they hope to bring "low-cost, high-performance" SSDs to both consumers and corporate buyers.
In the flash world, SLC NAND uses only a single bit per cell and offers the best performance and longest lifespan. MLC NAND increases that to two bits at the cost of speed and lifespan, while TLC NAND uses three bits per cell and offers the worst performance and lifespan of all. On the flip side, lower-quality SSDs have lower prices, always a crucial factor amongst consumers.
DensBits says its Memory Modem controller "provides a TLC solution with more than double the endurance of MLC, and an MLC solution with more than twenty times endurance gain." The company also claims its controller delivers in a "significant" performance gain both reading and writing data thanks to the memory management optimizations in its firmware.
Basically, DensBits claims manufacturers (like Seagate) can have their cake and eat it, too, by offering TLC and MLC-based SSDs that are cheaper, faster and longer lasting than their similarly multi-bit competitors.
The press release says that the two companies plan on creating a consumer SSD line based around TLC NAND, and an enterprise-focused MLC line. Do you think the DensBits controller will be enough to secure Seagate a firm stake in the crowded SSD market?