Toshiba announced this morning of mass production in 128Gbit NAND flash memory with three-bits-per-cell storage in 19nm process.
What this means is more storage space in a smaller area. The 128Gbit memory is only 170mm square.
The reduced size implies cost of manufacturing will go down, efficiency will go up. The down side is the TLC or three bit per cell, is less stable then two bits per cell like MLC or multi layer cell technology.
This isn’t a big concern for most users as the TLC flash will go into less important devices like USB flashdrives, MP3 players, phones and other hand held devices.
The more crucial technologies will remain with SLC or single layer cell or MLC, multi layer cell memory.
Toshiba and SanDisk share research and development and jointly invest in manufacturing.
Renesas is the spin off company from NEC who’s already making waves with their newest announcement of a USB 3.0 host controller which supports four downstream ports.
This means the chip will provide more USB 3.0 ports to a motherboard, PCI card or embedded system applications.Â In addition the new controller reduces it’s power consumption and increases performance.
Renesas claims a 40% increase with this new controller, and I hate to say it, but that is a big jump from previous controllers – so I’m not totally convinced.Â So it’ll need to be one of those “guilty until proven innocent” situations.
USB 3.0 hard drives and flash drives will be gaining popularity in 2011.Â As with any commodity product, if you have a lot, you need something to manage them.Â The new Nexcopy USB Duplicator SSUSB160PC is designed for the job – can manage any number of bulk flash drive up-loads or off-loads.
The SSUSB160PC is the first SuperSpeed USB duplicator we’ve seen in the market.Â We read it can duplicate 32GBs of data in about 6 minutes…just imagine how much time that will save for the promotional guys or the corporate IT guys who need to deploy loads of data on USB.
Granted you’ll need to pony up for some expensive 3.0 drives, but if you’ve got the money for that, you’ve got the money for the $1,499 USB duplicator as well.
The USB copier by Nexcopy Inc. can also perform some other tasks, like unique data streaming to each port, or data collecting information OFF the flash drive.Â So whether it be duplication, copying or streaming, the Nexcopy unit appears to be the ticket.
If forecasting is to be believed, we are looking at 1.7 billion [with a B] USB 3.0 devices to be shipped during 2011. With the world population at just 6.8 billion, this means that nearly 1 in 5 will have a USB 3.0 product. Hmm does that number sound right?
In-Stat seems to think they’ve got their numbers right, but I challange them.
With USB 3.0 being a slow start given that Intel wont even include the drivers in their chipset, it’s hare to believe OEMs will generate that much demand. Traditionally, OEMs lean on Intel to provide built in drivers to reduce overall cost of integration of new devices. Without the native driver, this forces integrators to go out and find solutions, like the NEC 3.0 chip.
Here is a quick snap shot at some numbers for USB 3.0 and it’s related family of products:
USB 3.0 spec up to 5 GHz data transfer rate – about 500MB/s
Microsoft has not provided a native set of drivers for Windows as of yet
NEC shipped 3 million controllers in 2010 and expected to ship 20 million for 2011
USB-IF has tested nearly 120 USB 3.0 devices as of Dec 2010
Intel will finally provide support for USB 3.0 in it’s Sandy Bridge chipset sometime in 2011
Even in 2014 USB 2.0 will carry the bulk of sales for USB devices
By 2014 In-Stat is forecasting USB 3.0 to be in 225 million USB flash drives, seven million set-top boxes and nearly 40% of all digital media players.
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.Â Flash was invented by Toshiba and by a guy named Dr. Fujio Masuoka.Â 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.Â By 1988 the first commercial NOR type flash chip was commercially available.
NOR based flash has long erase and write times and has a full address/ data interface.Â Meaning one can read or write data to any portion of the NOR chip.Â The NOR technology is mostly used for low levels of read/write cycles.Â So for example, NOR is great for BIOS and firmware of a device.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.
3 bit-per-cell NAND is sampled out the manufacturers.Â The 3 bit per cell is exactly that, 3 bits of information are stored in each NAND cell.Â This increased the capacity while keeping the foot print the same size.Â This ultimately leads to larger storage capacity at a cheaper price.Â 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.Â More with their press release:
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If you need to recover files from a Compact Flash card then try Flash Memory Toolkit.Â This software package is a free download for most features and will perform functions like read/write benchmark tests and recover files from a flash card or flash drive.
USBPerformance software will allow you to recover a file from a Compact Flash card.Â This is how it works.
The utility will make a binary image of your Compact Flash card…it doesn’t matter if you can’t read the data or not, it’ll still make an image file.
Then the utility will mount the image file as a drive letter on your computer [PC only].
From here you can browse your content and recover that file from your Compact Flash card.
In most cases, when a flash card goes bad [either CF, SD, microSD or USB] the problem or error is from the partition table or the File Allocation Table.Â Since this mounting of an image gets past those issues, you can get into where the files are stored…from here you can copy them out to a normal working part of your hard drive or another removable media.
Give it a go.Â USB Performance website with a link directly to the file recovery page.
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IC design houses Genesys Logic and Alcor Micro are expected to see their revenues grow over 20% sequentially in the second quarter of 2010 buoyed by increasing shipments of USB 3.0 controller chips, according to industry sources.
Genesys indicated that it has started shipping, in small volume, its second-generation USB 3.0-SATA bridge controllers, with the third-generation of its kind to be available in the third quarter of 2010. Overall, USB 3.0 chips will contribute over 3% to its total revenues in the second half.
Meanwhile, industry sources indicated that Alcor Micro has landed orders for USB card reader controllers for LCD TV application from a major player in Korea, which will help drive up its USB controller shipments.
Elan is launching an adapter to connect any USB stick to your mobile device via the microSD slot.
Elan is a UK based company who developed the “Mobidapter” for mobile power users.Â The connector does not require drivers and will allow any USB device to be seen by the mobile host.Â Further, the Mobidapter doesn’t require a PC, so important tasks like backup, sync or accessing files will be much easier.
Unfortunately, there is no word on price and expected ship date is mid June 2009.
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GetUSB.info posted a review article about 16GB USB flash drives.Â The benchmarking and testing was done by Test Freaks.Â Test Freaks is a website based specifically on review and testing of everyday technology so users can make an informed decision about their technology purchases.Â The review of 16GB flash drives is very in-depth and detailed so depending on what you look for in a flash drive, this review will have it summed up nicely for you.
The 16GB USB review includes the following drives:
Adata Sport Series RB19 16gb
Corsair Flash Voyager
HP USB Flash Drive v125W
Imation Swivel Flash Drive
Kingston Data Traveler100
Kingston DataTraveler HyperX
Patriot Exporter XT
PQI Traveling Disk 1221
Ridata EZdrive Lightning Series
Sandisk Cruzer Micro
Super Talent Pico-C
Transcend JetFlash Elite Enabled
Verbatim Store â€˜nâ€™ Go
I wont give away the full details on the 16GB USB review – please check with Test Freaks. However, it is painfully clear that Transcend Jetflash is a horrible drive. Which is funny as they spend a good amount of marketing time and money saying they are the best performing. Transcend must be taking Ford’s marketing philosophy and advertising their weakness. “Built Ford Tough” ha – those cars are anything but tough.
To get a bit of their approach Test Freaks considers:
…diskbench is nice in that it tells us the actual times and transfer rates to complete the tasks of Copy To or Write To the USB drives, Read From and Copy From as well. I run these three tests on my USB drives because they are the most common things people are going to be doing with their USB drives.Â First up is testing with the 350MB .AVI Video file, lower scores are better as they are shown in seconds. The first test is for Copy To or Write To the USB drives.