Breakthrough by Macronix could result in SSDs with 100M write cycles


Taiwanese flash memory maker Macronix says it has found a way to dramatically boost the reliability of flash memory chips, whose reliability starts deteriorating significantly after 10,000 write cycles. The thermal annealing technique involves heating small groups of memory cells to 800 Celsius, which the company says is able to return damaged locations to their full capability.

To date, the company says its tests have reached 100 million read/write cycles without any signs of trouble. The upper limit has yet to be determined at this stage, due to the lack of time. Company researchers said it takes weeks to read and write data millions of times, or months for billions of cycles.

The redesigned memory chip was safe, as only very small areas are heated for a few milliseconds at a time, says Macronix. The duration and small areas also translate into small amounts of power, which are not expected to significantly reduce battery life in portable gadgets.

The company is scheduled to present its research next week at the 2012 International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco on December 11. Though Macronix says it will commercialize the technology, it is still too early to peg a timeframe for its availability.

For more:
- check out this article at The Register
- check out this article at BBC

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