QHD/2K screen resolutions. 64-bit processors. LPDDR4 RAM. Our mobile devices have increasingly become much more powerful, so it only follows that our mobile storage solutions try to catch up. That will come with the new eMMC 5.1 standard that was just approved by the JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) standards group, which offers, among other things, new features that make reading from and writing to storage more efficient. And Samsung is claiming to be at the forefront of this new wave by announcing the first memory chip to support the new standard.
eMMC, or embedded MultiMedia Card, is the heart of the storage technology of mobile devices. It’s an evolution of the once popular MMC that now allows the NAND storage itself and its controller to be shrunk down into a single package and included as part of a board in mobile devices. Like in regular PCs, the speed of data storage affects the overall performance of a smartphone or tablet. Even with blazing fast processors and RAM, if the Flash storage can’t keep up, it will become the bottleneck of the system’s operations.
Samsung’s new eMMC 5.1 compliant chips improve on the read and write operation speeds of its previous eMMC 5.0 chips. Although sequential reads for the 64 GB chip stays the same at 250 MB/s, sequential write has been significantly boosted from 90 to 125 MB/s. Random I/O processes have similarly seen improvements, with random read going up from 7,000 to 11,000 input/output operations per second or IOPS and random write from 7,000 to 13,000 IOPs.
Improved speed isn’t the only factor in the new eMMC 5.1 standard. There is also now a command queue function, which lets controllers queue up commands instead of submitting and waiting for the response one by one. This greatly improves the multi-tasking capabilities of the storage, which will also make it ideal for handling UHD resolution media files, both for reading and recording.
Samsung claims to be the first storage manufacturer on the scene to support the new standard and it is already in the process of shipping some of those chips to mobile device OEMs. Given how new the chips are, there is only a very slim chance we’ll see it inside the Galaxy S6 next month. But if it does make the cut, the smartphone will indeed be one of the most powerful devices around, with a high resolution display, Samsung’s own application processor, and the fastest mobile RAM around.