Print 23 comment(s) - last by michael67.. on Oct 5 at 2:42 PM

Poor quality controllers to blame, says Samsung

DailyTech reported several days ago that SSD manufacturers have been having problems with Samsung's latest generation of 32nm NAND flash. The new chips have slow write speeds, thus making them unsuitable for use in SSDs since that is one of the major advantages that the new drives have over conventional hard drives. 

We have received a reply from Samsung confirming the issue, stating that "for quality SSDs, every NAND process geometry upgrade requires a matching upgraded controller.  Should (Samsung's) 30nm-class NAND be used with a conventional controller of insufficient quality, performance slowdowns are indeed possible".

Flash memory stores information in arrays of memory cells made from floating-gate transistors. As these transistors scale to smaller process geometries, it becomes harder for electrons to flow. This sometimes causes errors in writing to memory cells which must be corrected through ECC (Error Correcting Code). ECC is typically handled on the flash controller, which may be overloaded by excessive write errors if it is not sufficiently powerful enough. This is the most likely scenario for what is happening.

Companies we spoke with confirmed similar problems with 32nm flash from Toshiba that had been overcome. Intel is using 34nm flash from IMFT that was delayed from mass production for six months, possibly due to a similar problem as well.

Most of the SSD manufacturers we spoke with had paired Samsung's flash with Indilinx's Barefoot flash controller. There are several iterations of the Barefoot controller out there for different SSDs, and no doubt Indilinx is working on the problem. However, it might take a while, and sharp price drops on SSDs are unlikely for several months.

Meanwhile, Samsung is currently in the process of completing a new flash controller revision for their own line of SSDs, and have not released any SSDs of their own using the new flash memory. Samsung states: "We spend many months developing and then fine-tuning the controller and firmware technology for our SSDs, working very closely with most of the major PC OEMs".

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RE: Errors?
By Master Kenobi on 10/3/2009 5:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
I will early adopt things like Intel processors, but never something like a SSD.

RE: Errors?
By dragunover on 10/4/2009 10:04:29 AM , Rating: 2
That makes no sense then.
If you get a 300-600 dollar investment that's a ~5-35% improvement why not get a 300-600 dollar investment that's 100-1000% better? Makes no sense to me...

RE: Errors?
By MatthiasF on 10/4/2009 1:22:57 PM , Rating: 1
SSDs don't give 100-1000% more performance.

Modern standard hard drives with higher densities, like inside the 1 TB and above models, are not that far behind SSDs for speed. Compare these benchmarks.

The only thing SSD has over normal hard drives are access times, but how helpful is that for most computer users?

The question should be asked is why someone is willing to pay $3 a Gigabyte for 30-50% faster transfer speeds and smaller hard drives, when a normal hard drive at $0.16 a GB performs just as well.

What we really need are HYBRID drives. Standard hard drives with NAND caches for areas we access often. This would improve speeds and be a moderate solution that has the best of both worlds.

RE: Errors?
By Seer on 10/4/2009 5:44:48 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing SSD has over normal hard drives are access times, but how helpful is that for most computer users?

You really know nothing about typical home-computer usage patterns, do you? Random read/write, which is HIGHLY dependent on access times, is the most important measure of an HDD's performance.

RE: Errors?
By MatthiasF on 10/4/2009 6:29:16 PM , Rating: 1
Most important? Hardly. Access time is a negligible overhead margin for most hard drive operations. When the average file on a computer is 200 KBytes and bigger, a 5 ms access time is barely noticeable. The larger the average file, the less important the medium's access time.

Transfer rate is the most noticeable improvement from a storage medium.

Low access times really only benefit high IOPs situations that I doubt exist on a "typical home-computer".

RE: Errors?
By geddarkstorm on 10/5/2009 2:37:16 PM , Rating: 2
Really? You seriously believe that? Ok. Well, take a look at this then

RE: Errors?
By michael67 on 10/5/2009 2:42:32 PM , Rating: 2
Until you install a SSD in your own system ore worked on one that has one you properly would never know how fat these little baby's are.

I have 3 vertex SSDs in my systems one 60GB as my system disk in my main system, One 30GB in my HTPC, and one 30GB i use between systems on a eSATA/USB ICYBOX that fits in a a 3.5" slot for games that i play on both PCs, so i can easily swap the disk between PCs.

Roughly boot and load times have halved, also auto-save's are less irritating.

Yes $500 is a lot of money on hard drives, but Rapors ain't cheap aider and not even half as fast as SSD (and yes i had a Raptor), and this has bin one of the most useful upgrades i ever done in price performance upgrades.

And o yeah there silent to!

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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