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Data Storage Technology

Is SSD Density About To Hit a Wall? 208

Zombie Puggle writes "Enterprise Storage Forum has an article contending that solid state disks will stay stuck at 20-25nm unless the materials and techniques used to design Flash drives changes, and soon. 'Anything smaller and the data protection and data corruption issues become so great that either the performance is abysmal, the data retention period doesn't meet JEDEC standards, or the cost increases. Though engineers are working on performance and density improvements via new technologies (they're also trying to drive costs down), these are fairly new techniques and are not likely to make it into devices for a while."
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Is SSD Density About To Hit a Wall?

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  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Saturday September 18, 2010 @07:05PM (#33622898) Journal
    Memristor [] technology doesn't even work with feature sizes that big, so it's the logical next step. Also it can be layered and so leverage Dimension Z. Products expected in three years from a joint HP and Hynix venture. No worries.
  • by KonoWatakushi ( 910213 ) on Saturday September 18, 2010 @07:36PM (#33623040)

    There are far better technologies waiting to replace it, one being P-RAM. The best thing is, none of the newer tech is subject to Flash's crippling block-erase semantics, and so they are far more suitable for SSDs. No longer will SSDs require tremendously complex controllers and firmware in order to attain good performance, allowing new SSDs to be both cheaper, faster, and more reliable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 18, 2010 @07:37PM (#33623044)

    Can you imagine a stack of 128 8GB micro-SD cards next to a 1TB 3.5" hard disk? Do we need higher densities? Of course there's a relation of price to die area, but there's still room for improvement in manufacturing technologies. As long as the price keeps going down, I'm fine with the current density. Worry about metrics that matter.

  • Or more likely PCM (Score:4, Informative)

    by Wesley Felter ( 138342 ) <> on Saturday September 18, 2010 @07:49PM (#33623096) Homepage

    HP and Hynix are doing memristors, while the entire rest of the industry is doing phase-change memory.

  • by backslashdot ( 95548 ) * on Saturday September 18, 2010 @07:55PM (#33623112)

    Densities are fine. The main problem is lowering the cost. They need to drop the price by an order of magnitude. I am sure it costs way less than that to manufacture .. they just have to pay back all the research and equipment capital costs and build more production lines. Once they do that it will be dirt cheap. I remember when LCD monitors were a couple thousand bucks. And hard drives were far more expensive than SSDs are today .. and that was only 15 years ago.

    For example an OCZ Technology 250 GB SSD is $450 .. I paid around $400 for a 400 Megabyte drive in 1995. That's works out to hard disks back then being nearly 5 times the price per megabyte of SSD drives today.

  • by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Saturday September 18, 2010 @07:56PM (#33623120) Homepage

    That's not practical though.

    At that speed, the signal will travel about 0.6cm per clock cycle. Even at current clock rates at least one clock cycle will pass while the signal simply travels to the RAM chip on the motherboard, without accounting for any circuitry, just the time spent on the wire.

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Informative)

    by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Saturday September 18, 2010 @08:01PM (#33623142) Homepage

    512GB SSDs aren't a "future possibility"

    1TB SSDs already exist []

  • Re:So... (Score:2, Informative)

    by liquiddark ( 719647 ) on Saturday September 18, 2010 @08:06PM (#33623168)
    That's a bit of a trick, though. They're effectively putting several drives in a specialized RAID package.
  • Si prices (Score:3, Informative)

    by AlpineR ( 32307 ) <> on Saturday September 18, 2010 @09:25PM (#33623550) Homepage

    I don't think so. Back when I used to do research on microelectronic fabrication methods, we bought 3-inch wafers for about $10 apiece. Those were high purity with doping to whatever type and level we selected. And that was without bulk pricing or favorable price scaling with larger wafers.

    Our molecular beam growth chamber, however, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars plus tens of thousands per year for supplies and maintenance (plus tens of thousands for a postdoc and a grad student to run it).

    So I really think the cost of equipment and processing far outweighs the cost of the silicon wafers. Otherwise, all CPU's with the same physical size would have roughly the same price, regardless of transistor count or clock speed.

  • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

    by AllynM ( 600515 ) * on Sunday September 19, 2010 @12:17AM (#33624508) Journal

    *EVERY* SSD is a 'specialized RAID package'.

    Allyn Malventano, CTNC, USN
    Storage Editor, PC Perspective

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2010 @03:46AM (#33625532)

    HP and Hynix are doing memristors, while the entire rest of the industry is doing phase-change memory.

    Ford is making motorized horseless carriages while the entire rest of the industry is making horse and buggy carriages.

    There you go again, Anonymous Coward. Ford did not invent the automobile, wasn't the first to build them in America and wasn't the first to mass produce them. He did get very successful with improved mass production techniques. The automobile was a well established technology by the time Henry Ford got involved.

  • by grumbel ( 592662 ) <> on Sunday September 19, 2010 @03:59AM (#33625572) Homepage

    why is everybody so excited about getting rid of spinning media?

    Because the spinning media is what makes my modern Dual Core computer feel as sluggish as an old Windows98 laptop. Access time on HDD is basically the single largest bottleneck current day computers have when it comes to responsiveness. It just doesn't matter how fast your CPU and GPU are when they are both idling waiting for the HDD to catch up.

  • by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @05:32AM (#33625862) Homepage

    Well, ..... no. There are many things wrong with your post but the biggest one is that you don't seem to be able to double numbers properly. Did you pull 1Tbit out of your ass?

    Moore originally speculated about transistor density doubling every 12 months - but his actual observation that was published was that density doubles every 18 months. This is the figure that has been used for decades when people talk about his "law". In more recent times (the last decade or so) that period has increased to 2 years.

    log_18mths(12yrs) = 8
    log_24mths(12yrs) = 6

    So, if we accept your claim about 1Gbit chips in 1999 then we would expect chips in the range 64Gbit - 256Gbit. A long way off of the 1Tb that you used. Assuming that you mean flash when you say "ram chip" a quick search shows that 64Gbit chips were available in 2007. So your conclusion is bogus.

As Will Rogers would have said, "There is no such things as a free variable."