Print 23 comment(s) - last by misbfa1.. on Feb 4 at 6:51 PM

NAND flash memory technology at 5X speeds on the way

As if NAND flash wasn't fast enough, Intel and Micron took flash memory technology to a new level. Today, Intel and Micron announced NAND flash memory technology 5 times faster than current NAND flash technology.

The new technology boasts 200 MB/sec read rates and a 100 MB/sec write rates; current technologies off 40 MB/sec and 20 MB/sec rates of current single level cell NAND. This 5-fold increase in speeds is a least partially due to the new ONFI 2.0 standards which, according to the Open NAND Flash Interface Working Group, reduces the time required to transfer data to and from the data buffer by using Double Data Rate signaling and source synchronous clocks that accurately latch signals enabling higher frequencies to be realized.

These specifications, combined with four-plane architecture and higher clock speeds, will help Intel and Micron produce the fastest NAND chips in the world.

"We are working with an ecosystem of key enablers and partners to build and optimize corresponding system technologies that take advantage of its improved performance capabilities. Micron is committed to NAND innovation and designing new features into the technology that create a powerful data storage solution for today's most popular consumer electronic and computing devices," stated Frankie Roohparvar, Micron's VP of NAND Development.

Neither company would hint at when the new technology would reach consumer devices.  

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By Iketh on 2/1/2008 4:34:09 PM , Rating: 2
yea, the rotational harddrive will definitely die in the not-too-distant future...

anyone have information on what seagate/WD etc are doing in this field? will they just buy micron chips for their own SSDs similar to memory manufactures using micron modules? if so, how could they differentiate their SSDs from others?

RE: nice
By Zorlac on 2/1/2008 4:54:39 PM , Rating: 5
Maybe WD will put a window in their SSD drive! ;)

RE: nice
By ImSpartacus on 2/1/2008 5:40:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, and make sure it costs 10 bucks more than the windowless version.

RE: nice
By JakLee on 2/1/2008 5:54:39 PM , Rating: 1
Well we have dual core processors & dual processor vid cards, whats to stop these SSD guys (Like WD) from putting 2 hdd's with a raid controller into 1 package at a full 3.5 size drive?
Maybe we will be seeing those in the near future?

RE: nice
By ZaethDekar on 2/1/08, Rating: 0
RE: nice
By MrPoletski on 2/2/2008 1:36:32 AM , Rating: 1
We will never see those, because it's pointless.

Why add a whole new sata interface and HDD controller board PLUS a RAID controller when you can just double the number of platters, speed up your single controller board and keep your standard SATA interface for the same or better gain in performance?

Or, being slightly more adventurous, add a second set of read arms, allowing you to handle random accesses much better as well as doubling your maximum transfer rate.

Both solutions, of course, not having to deal with the reliability issues of of a RAID 0 array, basically doubling your chance of failure. Both solutions also failing to contribute such an increase in power requirements which is a biggie nowadays.

RE: nice
By 306maxi on 2/2/2008 8:29:25 AM , Rating: 2
He wasn't talking about conventional magnetic storage. He was talking about SSD's

RE: nice
By Jedi2155 on 2/2/2008 6:35:20 PM , Rating: 2
They already do a "RAID" form of speed boost at the controller level. To improve speeds they read and write from the multiple chips at the same time using a form form similar to dual channel than RAID.

RE: nice
By ZaethDekar on 2/1/2008 6:17:25 PM , Rating: 2
Would be fun to have a window where you can have three LEDs

Write Speed - ********** (10% increments of max)
Read Speed - ********** (Again 10% increments)
Capacity - ********** (Again, 10% increments)

Then just need a case there they mount the harddrive with the top facing out and you will be able to see your machine work. Or it could be a security to see if someone is accessing the other drives. If it cost me 15-20 bucks more I would probably do it, to be perfectly honest.

RE: nice
By MrPoletski on 2/2/2008 1:40:37 AM , Rating: 2
That would not be possible, because a HDD is not intelligent enough to know how full it is. You could certainly show read/write activity as a percentage of bus speed... but then it will spend 99% of its time with 1/10 LED's lit because no HDD is even close to the 300GBPS of the sata2 interface. Bursts will show up though, but the LED's will be lit for like a 100th of a second and may not be visible at all.

The HDD is not intelligent enough to know what percentage of its maximum to-disk transfer rate is being utilised. Though a SCSI disk might stand a better chance there.

RE: nice
By elpresidente2075 on 2/2/2008 3:48:38 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps they could use a controller that senses the speed at which it is transmitting and outputs to the LEDs based on an algorithm that is based on a hardwired (or at least firm-wired) baseline speed.

Also, SSD's and HDD's are definitely able to tell their capacity. I have 2 gig flash drive that tells me via pie graph and exact megabytes how much space I have left on it. Walmart sells a Lexar drive that does the same with a bar graph. While HDD's may not have the hardware implemented to do the same ATM, it would be a trivial task to implement it.

Although, the whole point is moot, because 99.999% of all hard disks are either never looked at once they leave the factory, or are only seen by professionals who install/replace them. The rest is made up by the computer modders who like to show off their garishly lighted computer hardware. Unfortunately, this means VERY little market for the suggestion.

MrPoletski, I agree with the infeasibility sentiment, but not on the details.

RE: nice
By Visual on 2/4/2008 8:41:44 AM , Rating: 2
the usb drives that do it are a bit special...
usb drives in general all work with just 1 partition, with fat/fat32 filesystem, for compatibility reasons. occasionally some manufacturer might make one come standard with two partitions, encrypted and unencrypted.

the code to get the free space on the first partition, assuming it is fat32 is very simple. optionally you can add to it a check to make sure it is indeed fat32.

you may of course make it also work with ntfs, hfs+, ext2/3, reiserfs and anything that comes to mind. and make it work not for just the first partition, but all of them as a sum. but that complicates the code quite a bit, and you're still guaranteed to have missed some file system type.

and then all this comletely breaks with striped raid arrays or windows dynamic volumes in a raid config. i don't think it's even possible to deal with this case. not without the help of the controller or the OS, not just in the disk itself.

also it's not clear if such a free space display would be at all useful in cases where you have the disk split for several different OSes. there's no way to know which partitions the active OS can see and use, so you can end up showing free 50% while the user keeps getting "low disk space" notifications...

it's just not something worth doing in hardware

RE: nice
By Clauzii on 2/2/2008 10:47:55 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't some sort of command and amount tracing system inside the drive work.

BTW. I would like a LCD with that one ;)

RE: nice
By InternetGeek on 2/1/2008 7:59:46 PM , Rating: 2
Large storage capacities. And I mean massive. You could strike a deal. Have an expensive and fast hdd to store your programs, and a massively huge storage hdd (in the other of several petabytes perhaps?) for your media (music, movies, photos, etc)

RE: nice
By squirrelfriend on 2/3/2008 11:47:31 PM , Rating: 2
anyone have information on what seagate/WD etc are doing in this field?

An older article... maybe showing what they could be doing

By dflynchimp on 2/1/2008 8:49:54 PM , Rating: 2
Gonna charge a fortune for these things...then in ten years prices will be comparible per storage space to current rotational drives.

RE: Pricing
By bunnyfubbles on 2/2/2008 3:05:05 PM , Rating: 2
But that doesn't matter because you wouldn't buy a drive based on this technology for massive storage, you'd buy it for the insane boot speeds and access times. Keep your OS and apps on the uber fast drive, keep all your large space hogging stuff on the massive disks, all without breaking the bank. Win-win.

By PandaBear on 2/1/2008 8:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
If they are saying it will be 5x faster in the IO, I believe it, but if you say the internal write (bottle neck), then I am really surprised given all nand producer have about the same technology level right now on SLC. Also, there are already 4 plane nand, just that it cost more to make.

Still, it is a good step in the right direction.

By elpresidente2075 on 2/2/2008 3:52:46 AM , Rating: 2
...then I am really surprised given all nand producer have about the same technology level right now on SLC.

This is what the announcement is about! A completely new, (almost) exciting technology! Well, maybe more like a revamp of an age old standard technology, but still just as great.

Per chip?
By Mudvillager on 2/2/2008 4:21:57 AM , Rating: 2
The new technology boasts 200 MB/sec read rates and a 100 MB/sec write rates
Is this per chip or per drive (i.e. 8 or so working together in RAID)?

RE: Per chip?
By Iketh on 2/4/2008 12:37:11 AM , Rating: 2
pretty sure the article clearly compares the new chip's throughput with current chips'...

By Hrandy on 2/2/2008 11:53:22 AM , Rating: 2
ONFI is a new open standard memory interface that only temporarily uses the PCIe interface as a connection. ONFI has defined an open standard contoller and two connectors as well as a roadmap for increasing nand flash memory to speeds to over 400 MB/s. It you want fast non volatile memory forget SATA and raid and get ONFI.

What About Phase Change
By misbfa1 on 2/4/2008 6:51:47 PM , Rating: 2
Last March, Intel was all about phase change, and how awesome it was, and how they would hopefully be beyond the sampling stage by the end of the year.

Now this is announced and while I am happy about better speeds, I am wondering where the supposed "nirvana" went.

Intel also seems to now be going another direction. With this:

This article mentions problems with phase change. But I have read nothing to support that. The first link seems to say that phase change is a done deal and they just need to ramp up production and get it out the door.

Even though I hope it is real, I am a little skeptical about this new announcement

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