Print 33 comment(s) - last by MrPoletski.. on Oct 2 at 5:50 AM

Write speed problems may mean no SSD price drops until next year

Many potential SSD customers have been waiting for 32nm NAND flash production to increase significantly before they make a purchasing decision. The new smaller chips are much cheaper to make, which would lower the price of SSDs made using those components.

Samsung is the world's largest producer of NAND flash chips used in SSDs, but there is a very large fly in the ointment. DailyTech spoke with half a dozen companies in the SSD market that use Samsung's flash chips, and the results are troubling.

All of the companies we spoke with noted significant write speed issues with Samsung's 32nm flash. The problems are so bad that these SSD makers are unable to use them in their SSDs, which means that they have to source chips from other flash manufacturers like IM Flash Tech and Toshiba.

"Of course every transition to a new process has its problems," stated one source who requested anonymity. "We just weren't expecting it to be this slow".

32nm NAND produced by Toshiba was also initially slow and problematic. However, most of those write speed problems have been resolved. Some of those chips will make its way into drives like OCZ's Agility series.

Meanwhile, Intel and Micron are reaping huge sales from production of 34nm NAND from their IMFT joint venture. SSD prices from rivals like OCZ and Super Talent dropped significantly after Intel introduced their second generation X25-M SSD using those chips.

All is not lost for Samsung though. The company is hard at work finding a solution, and it is still trying to sell those chips in the embedded market. However, time is running out as productions deadlines to meet the Windows 7 launch and critical Christmas shopping season are both approaching.

A major hardware refresh cycle is coming soon, with new CPUs from Intel, cheap DDR3, DirectX 11 hardware, and a much improved operating system all coming together to tempt consumers. Making SSDs a part of a new build or upgrade may prove irresistible, regardless of the cost.

Update: Samsung has responded to this article, which is available here.

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RE: Last paragraph
By amanojaku on 9/30/2009 1:54:55 PM , Rating: 3
But they're only around $50-$100 cheaper than Intel Quads at the low end. I'm an AMD fanatic, but I'm not sure the $50-$100 in savings makes up for the loss of performance in your sub-$1000 design. I'd still buy the AMD, though, just to keep Intel on it's toes. I hate monopolies, and AMD makes a product that's good enough for most people. Yes, I know there are plenty of people who think the 20 seconds you save on a 10 minute process is significant, but I can wait. And wait. And wait... ;-)

RE: Last paragraph
By Ammohunt on 9/30/2009 2:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
You hate "monopolies" even when they are created by consumer choice on an even playing field(the free market)?

RE: Last paragraph
By amanojaku on 9/30/2009 2:53:45 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, because history has shown that companies get lazy and/or greedy without competition, and consumers suffer as a result. I already pointed out that Intel has better products today, but what happens tomorrow if there is no AMD, Cyrix, etc... to keep them honest? Of course, if AMD produced products with a high rate of defects or performance so low as to be unusable with modern use then I wouldn't buy them.

RE: Last paragraph
By ipay on 9/30/2009 3:04:13 PM , Rating: 1
Since we're talking about defects, how about the Phenom TLB bug?

RE: Last paragraph
By amanojaku on 9/30/2009 3:34:19 PM , Rating: 3

It was "patched" by a firmware fix that resulted in a performance decrease, but no loss of functionality. The performance decrease probably didn't bother anyone moving up from a single core to a dual core. I'm not making excuses for AMD as I was annoyed, too, but it doesn't seem to have changed the world much.

Anyway, rumor has it that Core2 or i7 had one or more TLB bugs, too, but were patched in the BIOS before they hit the market, and eventually fixed in the processors, just like the Phenom.

RE: Last paragraph
By MrPoletski on 10/1/2009 8:33:42 AM , Rating: 2
try bringing up something relevant, or we'll all start chanting about the divide bug in the original pentium.

RE: Last paragraph
By MrPoletski on 10/1/2009 8:31:44 AM , Rating: 2
While I will agree that Intel processors are currently superior to AMD offerings, I won't agree that Intel has the market share it does simply because of 'consumer choice on an even playing field'.

Massive anti-trust fines and such says otherwise.

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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