Samsung's upgraded manufacturing processes could lead to lower SSD prices

Samsung Electronics is upgrading its memory technology and manufacturing processes, which may lead to a price drop in the very popular solid-state drives (SSD) being used in many high-end laptops. SSDs use multilevel-cell (MLC) flash memory chips, which store bits of data at multiple levels in each cell.

Samsung is trying to upgrade the current two bits per cell to three bits at multiple levels within a cell. Sometime in the first half of 2009, Samsung will introduce their 64GB three-bit SSD using a new process technology. In an effort to make SSDs more cost effective to make, Samsung SSDs will be manufactured using the 30-nanometer process rather than the company's current 42-nanometer process.

There are many issues surrounding performance degradation and reliability with three-bit SSDs. For one, three-bit SSDs are notably slower and less reliable than two-bit SSDs. Samsung hopes to overcome these challenges as they develop the technology. The fewer cells required to make up a SSD will translate to lower manufacturing costs, passing savings on to the customer.