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Print 10 comment(s) - last by Saosin.. on Feb 26 at 10:47 AM

Enabling higher densities at a lower cost

Samsung, Toshiba, and SanDisk are preparing 32nm production of new Multi-Level Cell NAND flash chips that will be faster, smaller, and cheaper than those currently on the market. This is expected to further drive down the cost of Solid State Drives.

Intel and Micron have been producing 32Gb MLC chips in their 34nm Utah joint venture facility since November, giving them a major cost advantage. Most of that production has been directed towards the space sensitive mobile phone market, as Intel's SSDs use NAND flash produced on 50nm lines.

Samsung will soon counter that threat by beginning production of 64Gb MLC chips on 32nm production lines in the third quarter. It will also use its new Self-aligned Double Patterning Technology (SaDPT), along with Charge Trap Flash (CTF) using silicon nitride and a new structural configuration. It expects all of these advancements together will allow it to lower costs beyond those of its competitors. Samsung is the world's largest producer of NAND flash memory.

SanDisk and longtime NAND flash partner Toshiba have begun preparations to switch Toshiba's Yokkaichi plant from 43nm manufacturing to their own 32nm process. They will begin production in the third quarter of double-bit and triple-bit MLC devices at 32 Gb densities. The X3 MLC chip has a very small 113 mm2 die size, which will enable more chips to fit in SSDs and enable terabyte capacities.

Recently, Toshiba and SanDisk demonstrated a new type of NAND cell capable of holding four bits per cell, for production on 43nm lines. SanDisk has committed to Q2 production of its new X4 memory chip, which it combines with a new X4 controller chip in a multi-chip package (MCP). It hopes to provide a "completely integrated and low-cost storage solution" for SSD production.
 
Most of Toshiba's NAND flash production is currently on the 43nm process, which they will use for their own line of SSD drives launching in Q2. They have stated that they will put X4 64Gb MLC chips measuring 244.45 mm2 into production, but it has not been confirmed that these will be used in their SSDs.



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RE: sure
By erikejw on 2/24/2009 9:46:24 AM , Rating: 3
SATA3 is outdated before it is even introduced with this raging SSD development.

Now we need SATA4.
Guess that will take Intel 4-5 years or so.
They won't support SATA3 until 2010.


RE: sure
By ExarKun333 on 2/24/2009 10:29:06 AM , Rating: 2
Current SSDs need time to mature anyway; most of the current SSDs need to work out their own issues before they start needing a faster interface. I would assume it will take a while for the current and soon-to-be-released data to even saturate the upcoming SATA3. Your putting the cart before the horse here...


RE: sure
By kattanna on 2/24/2009 11:16:00 AM , Rating: 2
1 option would be to have 2 SATA data connections to the same physical drive. internally it would be 2 drives, and then within the MB BIOS one could set it to run as a RAID 0 array after plugging in both SATA data cables to their MB.


RE: sure
By Mr Perfect on 2/24/2009 1:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
That depends on whether the marketing departments write the SSDs advertised speeds or not.


RE: sure
By Doormat on 2/24/2009 2:27:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'm surprised that Intel, who seems to be leading the SSD front and would have the incentive to push SATA-IO to make faster standards quicker, is taking so long to put SATA 3 in their products. Still, 600MB/s its pretty fast considering we're still at 120MB/s with spindle-based drives. I would guess SATA 4 would be 1.2GB/s. Geez.


RE: sure
By A Stoner on 2/24/2009 3:07:51 PM , Rating: 2
and still 1000 seconds to transfer a 1TB drive to another.


RE: sure
By teldar on 2/24/2009 3:40:11 PM , Rating: 2
I care more about things like application performance over flat out data transfer rates. As of right now, there's still not a whole lot out there that's better than a plain ole hard drive for use as a system drive. I'm waiting to see an OS come out that is optimized to use the speed that is available... I think Vista loads at what, 12mb/s even from the fastest drives?
Useless.
Hopefully Windows 7 fixes this.

Then I may start caring about what comes out in hardware.


RE: sure
By Shig on 2/24/2009 4:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
Very good points Teldar. Most apps can't even take advantage of the really high read/write speeds of the upper SSDs. But I've been reading a lot of how Windows7 will have much better SSD support than Vista (I mean with that fast of an SSD and a fast quad you should be installing an OS in <a couple min imo). I'm not sure how good Win7 is with SSD's but it will surely be better than Vista and will hopefully get better with each service pack.

But you will get addicted to the random access of times of any SSD just after trying it once. I mean things simply open instantly. I have a velociraptor and you can still see the difference in opening stuff up, especially larger files.

I'm just glad they got away from mechanical hard-drives and can use a form factor that benefits from lithography improvements. The size after 32nm will make mechanical HDD's totally obsolete I think and will usher in SSD's to the mainstream sometime in 2012. Mechanical tech just can't compete with how fast the nand flash is shrinking and getting more efficient.

I'm really excited to get an SSD for my next build.


RE: sure
By Saosin on 2/26/2009 10:47:21 AM , Rating: 2
Why aren't more manufacturers using PCIe (mini) interface instead of SATA? More bandwidth + less required space. I mean, it should be an obvious choice?!?

Maybe someone who knows more can answer this question that's been nagging me since NAND SSDs started to get popular...


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