SSD units cheaper and with more capacity: this is the PLC technology that brings many advantages (and a great disadvantage)

The SSDs have revolutionized the storage segment, and have become their own right in one of the best ways to revitalize any PC or laptop. Its evolution is constant, and now a new technology appears that promises many advantages and, of course, a notable disadvantage.

That technology is none other than PLC (Penta Layer Cell) , a development of Intel and Toshiba that will allow storing 5 bits in each individual NAND cell, a remarkable technical achievement that will make us have SSD drives of more capacity and cheaper than ever, although we will lose in a section: the speed of transfers.

From the SLC to the PLC and shot because it’s my turn

These types of storage units have become the clear alternative to traditional hard drives if one was looking for much higher transfer rates , and their cost has been significantly reduced in recent years.

Even so, the cost per gigabyte is still more advantageous in conventional hard drives, but technologies such as PLC pose a future in which we have large capacity SSD at much more competitive prices compared to those of those hard drives.

That is due to that integration of 5 bits per NAND cell that will make those future units go a little further in that unique storage density. It all started with the SLC (Singla Layer Cell) units of one bit per cell, and they were followed by the MLC (Multi Layer Cell, which despite that name stores 2 bits per cell) or the TLC (Triple Layer Cell) that are they became especially popular among manufacturers of SSD drives.

In recent times we have seen a breakthrough with the QLC (Quadruple Layer Cell) technology that we have seen in models such as the Samsung 860 QVO or the Intel 660P. These units offer similar capabilities to those of TLC or MLC competitors, but with comparatively more affordable prices .

Lower the price, but also the performance

With PLC, this evolution towards higher capacities and more competitive prices is expected to progress, but it will do so with a disadvantage that we had already seen in QLC: performance degrades significantly when the cache of these units runs out and we need to write directly on those cells.

As they explain in Ars Technica , the table with the performances that are achieved in various Samsung units makes it clear: although the sequential cache transfer speed is identical in those models, the thing changes when that cache is no longer available : when writing Directly on the units, the transfer rates fall significantly.

The data corresponding to PLC units are not known because at the moment there is no one presented, but the evolution seems evident. The orientation of these units could therefore be different, being recommended for systems such as NAS or units for data centers instead of units for end users seeking maximum performance, but it is undoubtedly an interesting evolution of these units.