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Fewer reasons remaining against SSD adoption

Limited write endurance is one of the factors that detractors bring up with regards to solid state drives (SSDs). Most NAND flash chips using multi-level cell (MLC)technology in SSDs have a write endurance of around 10,000 cycles. That isn't as great a problem in SSDs greater than 120GB that use wear-leveling technology, but smaller sized SSDs have less capacity and will reach the upper limit much quicker.

That issue is why almost all SSDs aimed at the corporate and enterprise market use Single Level Cell flash chips, which typically have a write endurance around the 100,000 cycle mark. These include Intel's X25-E, OCZ's Vertex EX and Agility EX series, and Super Talent's MasterDrive RX series.

Micron Technology is one of the key partners in IM Flash Tech along with Intel Corporation. IMFT produces the 34nm NAND flash used in Intel's second generation X25-M SSDs using 2-bit-per-cell MLC chips. Micron and IMFT have been working on improving the write endurance of their NAND chips, and they have now reached a breakthrough.

“By leveraging our mature 34nm NAND process, Micron has developed Enterprise NAND products that support customers’ high-endurance requirements. These products ensure that enterprise organizations have a highly reliable NAND flash solution – be it MLC or SLC – for design into the broader enterprise storage platform,” said Brian Shirley, Vice President of Micron’s memory group.

The company’s new 32Gb MLC Enterprise NAND devices achieve an impressive 30,000 write cycles. They are also introducing a 16Gb SLC Enterprise NAND device that achieves 300,000 write cycles. The new chips also support the ONFI 2.1 synchronous interface, making them easier to integrate into new products.

Both of these new chips are built on the 34nm process which IMFT introduced last year, and can be configured into multi-die, single packages supporting densities of up to 32GB for MLC NAND and 16GB for SLC NAND.

Micron is now sampling its Enterprise NAND products with customers and controller manufacturers, and is expected to enter volume production at the beginning of 2010.

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RE: Cycle counting
By motigez1 on 10/20/2009 3:27:22 PM , Rating: 2
it is very simple.
10K cycles means you can fill the media 10K times, i.e. a 64GB SSD, you may write 10000 times, or 64GB *10000 = 640 terabytes, let's assume efficiency is not perfect so you can write only a third ~200TB.
how much do you need?
an average client user with windows OS will write 4-5GB/day, assume 365 working days, so in the entire year you will write 5*365 = 1.8TB
which means you can use the drive for 200TB/1.8TB ~ 100years!!! you would probably replace your NoteBook in less than 5yrs,
now, you should tell me if 500 cycles are not enough!
Micron does not enable 30K for us, the end users, but for the data center storage. we should be safe with only 500 Cycles! (assume a decent SSD design)

RE: Cycle counting
By SAnderson on 10/20/2009 4:02:43 PM , Rating: 2
These will not be priced for normal users, just the normal 1k/5k cycle chips. Its basically the same product with a few small process differences to earn a larger margin. The server market makes the big bucks for chip manufactures.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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