a world where flash storage is cheap and ubiquitous, speed should be
the key differentiator in the marketplace. This is especially so in
the USB flash drive market, where commoditization has taken over and
capacities double almost every year. Things haven't worked out that
way for one major reason.
have dropped every year thanks to the introduction of new and
improved NAND flash lithographies, but average speeds haven't changed
thanks to the bandwidth bottleneck of the USB 2.0 interface. Most USB
flash drives top out at around 35MB/s thanks to protocol overhead, so
the main criteria that manufacturers have been competing on are size,
capacity, and cost.
are becoming accustomed to storing numerous large files on their USB
flash drives, but are increasingly frustrated at the slow transfer
speeds. This is especially true for people with large media
introduction of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 is changing the game, thanks to
its maximum bandwidth of 4.8Gbps versus the measly 480Mbps of USB
Gigabyte, and HP are trying to put USB 3.0 support on all of its
products, and even mighty Intel is facing questions regarding its
Talent has been a pioneer in the USB 3.0 flash drive market and has
already launched three product lines. The RAIDDrive
has the fastest speeds available, while the SuperCrypt is
designed for the corporate and government market with its data
company's most affordable USB 3.0 flash drive is the Express
series, but speeds are nowhere near the RAIDDrive, which remains
large and expensive thanks to its RAID design and the need for
additional channels and flash chips.
at an affordable price is in the works, though.
NAND Flash Interface (ONFI) working group has been working
on its standards based approach to increasing NAND speeds since 2006.
Version 2.0 increased speeds to 133MB/s from the mere 50MB/s of
Version 1.0, while the latest iterations are capable of up to
true USB 3.0 renaissance will come with the introduction of the ONFI
3.0 specification and its maximum speeds of 400MB/s, doubling the
speed of the previous generation ONFI 2.2 specification. ONFI 3.0 is
still being defined and is expected to be completed this summer, with
the first products coming in 2011.
Flash Technologies (IMFT) may be the first to incorporate ONFI 3.0
technology for its sub-20nm NAND flash products. IMFT will be amongst
the first to use ONFI 2.2 for its 25nm
NAND flash chips, which will be used by Intel in its
next-generation of solid state drives with capacities as large as
new generation of NAND flash controllers will be needed to take
advantage of ONFI 3.0 NAND flash chips. ONFI standard support has
taken off in the last year as IMFT’s 34nm NAND has been
increasingly adopted by SSD manufacturers.