Flash memory is faster but not more reliable

    Yesterday, Intel and Micron announced the start of mass production of the world's first 128-Gbit dual-bit (MLC) flash memory chips using 20-nm process technology.

    128 Gb chips will be sold in modules of eight in a compact 128 gigabyte form factor. Flash cards will appear on sale in the second half of 2012, and SSD disks from eight and sixteen modules (1-2 TB) - somewhere in the beginning of 2013.

    Although 128-gigabit chips have been produced before, the transition to the new process technology of 20 nm means lower prices, more compact sizes and lower power consumption. In particular, such flash modules are 30% smaller in size than the modules of the same capacity currently available on the market manufactured using the 25 nm process technology.

    But most importantly, the new flash cards will support the ONFI 3.0 standard and the bus at a frequency of 333 million transfers per second (MT / s). This performance is especially important for SSDs, because there the “bottleneck” is often the interface between the SSD controller and the flash memory itself, and now this interface can increase, for example, sequential read speed exactly two times as compared to the fastest modern SSDs -discs (in manufactured by the process technology 25 nm the frequency is 166 MT / s).

    True, experts with AnandTech are disappointed that due to the increase in the size of the memory page from 8 KB to 16 KB, new controllers will have to be developed, so we will not see faster SSD disks soon, probably not earlier than 2013.

    It is interesting that flash cards on NAND modules of 64 Gbit (20 nm) have not yet appeared on sale, they were announced in April and will be made only in January 2012. But they will be on the old ONFI 2.x bus (200 MT / s).

    Unfortunately, with the transition to a new process technology, the reliability of flash memory remains at about the same level: about 3000-5000 write cycles for each cell. But with the miniaturization of production, prices for flash drives will soon fall below the dollar per gigabyte.

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