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NAND Flash Better Than DRAM For PC Performance 205

Posted by Soulskill
from the drams-do-better-for-memory-loss dept.
Lucas123 writes "Adding NAND flash memory to a PC does more for performance than DRAM and costs less, according to a new study. As the price difference between the two memory types widens, NAND flash will become the memory of choice in the PC. The effects of NAND flash adoption are already being felt in the DRAM market, as revenue in 2011 is expected to decline 11.8%."
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NAND Flash Better Than DRAM For PC Performance

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  • One Problem (Score:5, Informative)

    by rhook (943951) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @12:26AM (#36819892)

    NAND flash degrades over time and has a limited amount of program/erase cycles.

  • Re:One Problem (Score:5, Informative)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @02:23AM (#36820480) Journal

    Not to mention what TFA neglects is the simple fact that one doesn't need as much memory as they do storage space so comparing the two? More than a little pointless.

    When DDR 2 was so cheap I bought 8Gb for my PC, which thanks to Superfetch means ALL of the programs that I use frequently? Instant load, poof, faster than even an SSD could possibly load them because they are already in RAM waiting for me and as we know RAM is several orders of magnitude faster than the fastest SSD. I won't build a PC anymore with less than 3Gb and I usually try to talk the customer into 4Gb, why? Again thanks to intelligent prefetching by the OS the programs they use most often will be preloaded into RAM waiting on them, thus not only making the PC crazy fast but also cutting down on drive spinning which lets the drive park the heads and thus lowers heat and power usage.

    Meanwhile the tech they are pushing is so damned unreliable Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror says they should be judged on a hot/crazy scale [codinghorror.com] as they go tits up quite often in return for the crazy speed. Atwood still loves them but I would point out he is the same guy that recommends spending over $400 on a pair of headphones like he does. If you have the money to blow a couple of grand a year on big fast SSDs? I'm happy for you, you are doing better in a dead economy than most. But RAM almost never wears out and can easily last a decade, is still relatively cheap for maxing out a PC, and the performance one gets nowadays for giving the OS plenty of RAM for fetching is really quite stunning. By having plenty of RAM and hybrid sleep my customers have an instant on PC that loads every program they use as fast as they can click the button. What more can you ask for?

  • Re:One Problem (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @06:13AM (#36821398)

    NAND flash degrades over time and has a limited amount of program/erase cycles.

    Spinning rust degrades over time and has a limited amount of write/erase cycles.

    Total bullshit. Please try to have a clue when you try to be clever. There is no wearout mechanism which eventually makes it impossible to alter magnetic domain orientations in spinning rust. You can keep doing that forever. In practice, the lifespan of a HDD is limited by mechanical failure or the death of the controller electronics.

    The difference between NAND flash and spinning rust is that it's faster. Early evolutions of NAND flash reached the limits of their write cycles therefore. Modern evolutions of NAND flash make it more durable and reliable than spinning rust in every instance - and the speed and storage density is just a bonus.

    Good god, you're clueless. Every evolution of NAND flash makes its durability and reliability worse, not better, due to some fundamental physics problems with NAND technology. The only thing keeping NAND viable is throwing ever-stronger ECC codes at the problem (decreasing the effective density gain from each process shrink by consuming more bits in error correction overhead). Write/erase cycles also keep going down, not up.

    And then there's the fun phenomenon called "read disturbance". If you haven't guessed just by reading the phrase, this means you can alter the state of a bit cell in the latest and greatest generation of NAND flash by reading it (or its neighbors) too many times. Whee!

    Don't confuse the application of stronger and higher overhead techniques for managing the problems with NAND with it being a super-memory with no flaws. It has a lot of issues.

  • Re:One Problem (Score:4, Informative)

    by xouumalperxe (815707) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @07:12AM (#36821762)

    Not to mention what TFA neglects is the simple fact that one doesn't need as much memory as they do storage space so comparing the two? More than a little pointless.

    My interpretation of the article is as follows: In any given workload, you're likely to have a mixture of memory operations and disk operations. If, instead of putting all your money on RAM that will speed up your memory operations, you put part of it into an SSD that will speed up your disk operations, the overall performance for that workload will be better. Prefetching programs doesn't do nearly enough if the workload involves more disk activity than just loading the code.

    Not sure I agree with the article, but the point is a lot better than you were making out to be.

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