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Hardware Technology

"Self-Healing" NAND Flash Memory That Can Survive Over 100 Million Cycles 76

another random user writes with an interesting use of 800C heating elements to keep flash working longer. It's long been known that heating NAND to temperatures around 250C can restore life, but doing so was practically impossible. From the article: "Engineers at Macronix have a solution that moves flash memory over to a new life. ... They redesigned a flash memory chip to include onboard heaters to anneal small groups of memory cells. Applying a brief jolt of heat to a very restricted area within the chip (800 degrees C) returns the cell to a 'good' state. ... According to project member HangTing Lue, the annealing can be done infrequently and on one sector at a time while the device is inactive but still connected to the power source. It would not drain a cellphone battery, he added." It's still a long way from commercialization, but if it works on a small scale...
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"Self-Healing" NAND Flash Memory That Can Survive Over 100 Million Cycles

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  • 800C? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @07:10PM (#42163985)

    What are the odds they'll let something that can heat up that much on an airplane, once they read this article? :\ More seriously, I assume this is over a very, very small area, and the chip dissipates that heat within a few minutes, and that it would only be warm to the touch for a few moments... but I still gotta ask: Is there the possibility of catastrophic failure? Like if the chip was maliciously reprogrammed to trigger all the heating elements simultaniously?

  • Re:800C? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by space fountain ( 1897346 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @07:21PM (#42164057)
    Probably not enough power.
  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by certsoft ( 442059 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @07:31PM (#42164121) Homepage
    Back around 1976 I was working in a group that used Intel 4004 processors and 1702A EPROM. They found they could get more program/erase cycles out of a 1702A if they periodically baked them in an oven.
  • Re:cant wait (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 02, 2012 @08:38PM (#42164569)

    What most people would call a blow torch is a common plumbing torch burning propane or propane/butane mix in air. It gets about 3600 F flames max. Burning with propane with pure oxygen gets about 5100 F max. The gent who talked about cutting steel was likely using an oxy-acetylene torch which gets a bit hotter at 6300 F max. Bit of trivia for this cutting method is that the heat is only needed to get the steel hot enough (kindling temperature) that the steel burns in the pure oxygen stream versus melting through. Once you have started the cut on thinner sheets of steel, you can actually turn off the acetylene and continue cutting with just the oxygen stream and the burning steel supplying the necessary heat.

  • by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @09:43PM (#42164951)

    Before everyone gets worked into frothy concern about flash write cycles, keep in mind that the #1 cause of failure & data loss on Sandforce-based controllers is a toxic mess of piss-poor proprietary firmware that's brittle, bitchy, and will brick the drive in self-defense if it corrupts its internal database, then decides you're trying too hard to salvage your data by trying to use something like dd_rescue on it. Oh, and their decision to save a buck by omitting the supercapacitor that's supposed to guarantee that it always has enough power to finish its current write.

    Read the Agility/Vertex 2 & 3 forums at ocz if you think I'm making this up. Basically, Sandforce drives have mandatory encryption that can't be disabled to maximize your odds of successful data recovery, but they also employ active countermeasures to detect "hacking attempts" that usually result in the drive ending up in "panic mode".

    I wouldn't touch a Sandforce-tainted SSD with a dirty, tetanus-infected pole. They deserve to be sued into oblivion by class-action lawsuits. At the VERY least, they should give us the option of setting our own encryption key (to a value WE know), and a way to rip the bits from a borked drive for offline recovery. The most infuriating thing about data death by Sandforce is the knowledge that 99.99% of your data is *there*, but you aren't allowed to recover it due to their fucked up business policy.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson