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Toshiba Cuts Flash Memory Output

Toshiba Corp. said Tuesday it has slashed production of NAND flash memory for use in USB drives and memory cards by about 30 percent at its plant in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture. It’s the first output cut for the device in about three years. The electronics maker aims to work off inventory and see a recovery in the market amid falling prices for the memory devices due to oversupply. Toshiba last reduced production of NAND flash memories after the 2009 financial crisis touched off a global economic downturn. Continue Reading

SanDisk With 90MB/sec microSD Card

SanDisk is launching two new microSD memory cards today. They are officially called the “SanDisk Extreme Pro microSDHC UHS-I cards.” What makes them special? They let you capture photos and videos at up to 90 megabytes per second which is incredible fast for any application. And as for the read speeds, they’re slightly faster at 95 megabytes per second, which isn’t going to max out a USB 3.0 connection (625 megabytes per second) anytime soon, but it’s still incredibly impressive. The 8 GB card will cost $60, while the 16 GB card will go for $100. Both should be in stores quite soon, and if you can’t wait you can buy them straight from SanDisk’s website today. Continue Reading

Read PSN From SD Media

GetUSB.info just posted a nice article on how to read the PSN from an SD card, or product serial number.  Some also call this reading the CID number from an SD card.  The CID number is a unique identifier number or serial number created on the SD or microSD media at the time of manufacturing.  This is a number which cannot be changed or manipulated by the host computer.
 
The CID number is most often used for vendors or manufacturers to lock in software to a specific device.  Since the CID number cannot be changed or modified, it’s a great way to prevent unauthorized distribution or content or software.
 
Some manufacturers require to read the CID number from SD media before the software is published and this is what GetUSB.info talks about.  For a full description of the article, make the jump:  How to read CID number from SD media.
 
Here is a snap shot of the CID reading tool for 20 SD devices:
 
 
Continue Reading

CEO of Micron Technology Steve Appleton Dies

The head of memory chip maker Micron Technology died last week in a stunt piloting expedition. Steve was in a small kit plane and taking a steep bank turn when something went wrong with the plane and ultimately crashed. Micron is a world leader in flash memory technology, and a top brand we favor here.  Micron makes memory for various devices like computers, cell phones, cameras, cars and industrial application products.
“Zoe Keliher, air investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said the crash happened during Appleton’s second attempt to fly that morning. She said Appleton’s first take-off ended abruptly — witnesses said the plane only got about 5 feet (1.5 meters) off the ground — when he landed and returned to a hangar for about five minutes.”  Source – Associated Press.
Dan Francisco, the company COO, is taking responsibility until the Micron board of directors finds a suitable replacement Chief Executive Office. Continue Reading

Difference Between SD and MMC Flash Cards

Flash memory is a basic necessity of any electronic device these days.  Today we will talk about MultiMedia Cards [MMC] and Secure Digital [SD] cards. First, a bit of history.  The MMC format was developed by SanDisk and Siemens back in 1997.  SD media was developed, jointly, by SanDisk, Panasonic and Toshiba.  The SD standard was developed to improve upon the MMC format. The two memory card types look the same.  They are both about 24mm x 32mm x 2.1mm in size, or about the size of a US postage stamp.  The one obvious, physical difference between the two is the Lock/Unlock switch on the left side of SD media.  MMC does not have a sliding switch.  The switch is meant for users to put the media into a Write Protected state.  A condition where the user could read from the card, but could not write to it, or delete content off it. The other physical difference between MMC and SD media is on the bottom side of the flash card.  The MMC has 7 copper connectors and SD had 9 copper connectors.  MMCPlus has 14 connectors on it.  For a more technical reason please read here. The MMC media has a transfer rate of around 9MB/s.  The SD media is much faster with write speeds of 10MB/s and higher [always improving]. Both MMC media and SD media, are for the most part, interchangeable when being used in electronic devices.  Of course it is always best to check with the manufacturer of your device, but it’s a general rull of thumb, both are interchangeable.  With MMC media, it is more likely a customized piece of hardware, like GPS or medical equipment will require the MMC format, where-as most MP3 players, cameras, and “retail” electronics will take both types. Continue Reading

64GB and 128GB Lexar SDXC Cards

Digital SLR cameras are eating up flash memory like there’s no tomorrow.  With common DSLRs like the Nikon D90 from Costco you’ll find the average JPEG is 11MBs big.  You switch to RAW format and that will triple.  These examples are for a standard DSLR camera, now consider the high resolution of a professional series like the D5000 or D3X. This is why photographers will be rejoiced to hear Lexar’s new line of SD media is topping the range of 64GB and 128GB.  Granted the price isn’t cheap, but if you truly care about these higher capacities and can see how it will benefit YOU, then you’re probably a photographer who doesn’t care as much about price as you do about functionality and performance. The 64GB and 128GB SDXC cards guarantee a transfer rate of 133x or about 20MB+ per second. The Lexar branded SD media isn’t available until Feb or Mar so it’ll give you enough time to save up the money for Continue Reading

Flash Memery – Where Did It Start

So here is a bit of information one could use for a cocktail conversation starter at your next computer club meeting, the start of flash memory. The first piece of flash memory was invented way back in 1984.  Flash was invented by Toshiba and by a guy named Dr. Fujio Masuoka.  According to Toshiba records, the term “flash” was suggested by Dr. Masuoka’s colleague, Mr. Shoji Ariizumi because the erase process of the memory contents reminded him of a flash like in a camera. Toshiba presented the new invention at the IEEE 1984 Integrated Electronics Devices Meeting in San Jose California and Intel saw the immediate value and jumped on board.  By 1988 the first commercial NOR type flash chip was commercially available.

NAND flash Toshiba

NOR based flash has long erase and write times and has a full address/ data interface.  Meaning one can read or write data to any portion of the NOR chip.  The NOR technology is mostly used for low levels of read/write cycles.  So for example, NOR is great for BIOS and firmware of a device.  NOR was the first version of flash, but everyone quickly realized a cheaper, faster solution is also needed. In 1989 the first NAND flash chip was introduced.  It had faster erase and write times, higher density, and lower cost than NOR flash – with ten times the endurance. The draw back with NAND [if you can call it that] is the I/O interface only allowing sequential access to data. Meaning you can only write to the device after the last bit of data has been written.  This makes it suitable for mass-storage devices such as PC cards and various memory cards like USB, SD and microSD, and somewhat less useful for computer memory. Source:  TutorialsWeb. Continue Reading

3 Bit Per Cell NAND Flash

3 bit per cell3 bit-per-cell NAND is sampled out the manufacturers.  The 3 bit per cell is exactly that, 3 bits of information are stored in each NAND cell.  This increased the capacity while keeping the foot print the same size.  This ultimately leads to larger storage capacity at a cheaper price.  Traditionally, SLC [Single Layer Cell] and MLC [Multi Layer Cell] technology is used is USB and SD flash, but we will begin to see TLC [Triple Layer Cell or 3 bit per cell] technology have a full roll-out by the end of this year. Over the past 18 months the biggest problem with TLC is the stability of the memory and performance, but Intel and Micron feel they overcame those problems and ready for production.  More with their press release: Continue Reading

SD Class Break Down

SD cards come in all sorts of GB sizes and speeds.  Today I thought it a good idea to take a look inside an SD card along with breaking out the speed differences.

sd class

To start, the SD media is broken down into “Classes”  The Class depicts the speeds at which a device reads and writes.
 
There are different speed grades available, measured the same as CD-ROMs, in multiples of 150 kB/s (1x = 150 kB/s). Basic cards transfer data up to six times (6x) the data rate of the standard CD-ROM speed (900 kB/s vs. 150 kB/s).
 
The maximum read speed and maximum write speed may be different. Maximum write speed typically is lower than maximum read speed. Some digital cameras require high-speed cards (write speed) to record video smoothly or capture multiple still photographs in rapid succession. This requires a certain sustained speed, or the video stops recording. For recording, a high maximum speed with a low sustained speed is no better than a low speed card. The 2.0 specification defines speeds up to 200x.
 
Some manufacturers use the read speed in their X-ratings, while others (Kingston, for example) use write speed.

sd class speed

SD Cards and SDHC Cards have Speed Class Ratings defined by the SD Association. The SD Speed Class Ratings specify the following minimum write speeds based on “the best fragmented state where no memory unit is occupied”:[9]
  • Class 2: 2 MByte/s – 13x
  • Class 4: 4 MByte/s – 26x
  • Class 6: 6 MByte/s – 40x
SD and SDHC cards will often also advertise a maximum speed (such as Continue Reading

Samsung Getting Into Retail Flash Memory Sales

For those who know, the Samsung branded NAND flash memory is considered the Tier 1 quality that everyone talks about.  It’s the best stuff out there…highest quality, best in performance, yet always a touch above others [Micron, Hynix, etc] in price.

Samsung flash

Well that might change because Samsung is entering the retail market with their solid state flash of Secure Digital, Compact Flash and microSD media. Samsung will release sizes from 4GB to 16GB capacity before the end of 2009.  These cards will be in the ‘Plus’ memory card class and compliant with the Secure Digital class 6 performance standards.  Cards boust a speed range of 17Mbps to 45Mbps. Continue Reading
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