Conveniently, we recently published an article and accompanying video exploring the future of Flash technology: 3D V-NAND Flash memory. VNAND stands as the next step in the SLC/MLC/TLC progression, except instead of primarily adding additional bits per cell, it's beginning to stack cells in 3-dimensional space -- similar in concept to Intel's 3D transistor architecture. This allows higher cell density in the same square area, but reduces the granular voltage requirements introduced by incrementing the cell levels (an exponential voltage level requirement with each level, from SLC to TLC).

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Samsung showcased some of its VNAND concept just before CES, but we didn't have reason to believe it'd make it to market so quickly. The first consumer product to use VNAND, a type of Flash fabricated internally at Samsung, will be the company's 850 Pro. The 850 Pro champions the 840 Pro, released just before CES 2013.

This weekend's sales roundup features an LED controller for $28, case fans at $16, an AMD CPU for $170, and a 1 TB SSD for just $400. If these deals don't whet your appetite for improving your system, first - get a better appetite, then keep posted to our Twitter and Facebook accounts for more sales and deals throughout the week. Also subscribe to our YouTube channel for build tips, interviews, and reviews.

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SSDs are surrounded by terminology that generally isn't understood beyond a relative level. There's this top-level concept that one type of NAND is superior to another, that synchronous is preferable to asynchronous, that endurance is tied to P/E cycles, but a lot of the knowledge halts there. We've worked closely with several SSD and controller engineers over the past year to educate ourselves on the inner workings of the storage world's biggest recent advancement; now it's time to start organizing that education in article form. Over the next weeks, we'll be releasing several "SSD Architecture" postings (so be sure to like / follow / subscribe) that focus on different aspects of solid-state drives, controllers, and NAND.

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This installment includes a video component. The video showcases a discussion with LSI's Kent Smith and spoils the basics of what we'll cover throughout this series. I highly recommend watching the video, especially for those who benefit from visual aids. We covered SSD questions pertaining to varying voltage levels on evolving NAND types (SLC, MLC, TLC), cell decay when an SSD goes unused, P/E cycles and endurance, and "what's next" after TLC for Flash types. That's a lot of stuff. Each item is complex in its own way -- hence the chronicle-like release of in-depth article components.

Today we're talking about top-level SSD anatomy and architecture, defining what "NAND Flash" actually is, evolving NAND types (MLC vs. TLC, what's after TLC), capacity calculations, and providing an "SSD primer" of other basic elements. This is what will lay the foundation for our more advanced articles.

Intel's new Haswell-E & X99 CPU/Chipset combo, due in 3Q14, will bring full DDR4 support to the enthusiast-class desktop market; it is anticipated that HW-E will be the first consumer-available platform supporting DDR4. With nearly all computing technology, it is common to see new innovations deployed to enterprise markets first -- this is for a few reasons: High quantity orders from enterprise (server) markets will rapidly drive-down the cost of the new technology (in this case, DDR4); enterprise groups will perform intense quality assurance testing of the new tech; and server engineers often work closely with device engineers throughout the development process, supplying feedback and validation support during dev.

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Welcome to another edition of Mik's picks. For this weekend's hardware sales, I found great deals on a GPU, HDMI cable, monitor, PSU, and an SSD.

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