Innodisk prolongs life of MLC NAND flash memory

The Taiwanese company Innodisk, a manufacturer of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies, has announced the successful development of a new technology that significantly increases the life of MLC NAND flash memory, taking it to the levels of SLC NAND flash.

To achieve this the new iSLC technology makes use of newly patented flash management algorithms. The technology reprograms the two bits per cell of traditional MLC memory into one bit per cell, which increases the sensitivity between each cell level and makes the memory perform like SLC NAND flash. Thus the average endurance of memory managed by iSLC reaches 30 000 program/erase (P/E) cycles. As a comparison traditional MLC NAND flash memory endures 10 000 P/E cycles in its lifetime. Innodisk also claims that iSLC is around 70 per cent faster than MLC memory on a SATA2 interface.

The downside of the technology is that it basically cuts SSD capacity in half. Thus a 64 GB SSD with MLC memory will go down to 32 GB when using iSLC. Thus more physical memory is needed to achieve an adequate SSD capacity, which will drive overall costs up. Innodisk however claims that it can use the technology in SSDs that will cost about the same as regular MLC NAND flash-based solid-state drives.

The first products using iSLC are expected in Q2 2013.

Source: Innodisk

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