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posted by chromas on Thursday December 16 2021, @03:50PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-didn't-read-this dept.

Startup Showcases 7 bits-per-cell Flash Storage with 10 Year Retention

Floadia Corp., a Series C startup from Japan, issued a press release this week to state that it has developed st­­orage technology capable of seven bits-per-cell (7bpc). Still in the prototype stage, this 7bpc flash chip, likely in a WORM [(Write Once Read Many)] scenario, has an effective 10-year retention time for the data at 150C. The company says that a standard modern memory cell with this level of control would only be able to [retain] the data for around 100 seconds, and so the secret in the design is to do with a new type of flash cell they have developed.

The SONOS cell uses a distributed charge trap design relying on a Silicon-Oxide-Nitride-Oxide-Silicon layout, and the company points to an effective silicon nitride film in the middle where the charges are trapped to allow for high retention. In simple voltage program and erase cycles, the company showcases 100k+ cycles with a very low voltage drift. The oxide-nitride-oxide layers rely on SiO2 and Si3N4, the latter of which is claimed to be easy to manufacture. This allows a non-volatile SONOS cell to be used in NV-SRAM or embedded designs, such as microcontrollers.

It's actually that last point which means we're a long time from seeing this in modern NAND flash. Floadia is currently partnering with companies like Toshiba to implement the SONOS cell in a variety of microcontrollers, rather than large NAND flash deployments, at the 40nm process node as embedded flash IP with compute-in-memory properties. Those aren't at 7 bits-per-cell yet, to the effect that the company is promoting that two cells can store up to 8-bits of network weights for machine learning inference – when we get to 8 bits-per-cell, then it might be more applicable. The 10-year retention of the cell data is where it gets interesting, as embedded platforms will use algorithms with fixed weights over the lifetime of the product, except for the rare update perhaps. Even with increased longevity, Floadia doesn't go into detail regarding cyclability at 7bpc at this time.

Press release.

Related: Is Octa-Level Cell (OLC) NAND Possible? We May Find Out This Year


Original Submission

Related Stories

Is Octa-Level Cell (OLC) NAND Possible? We May Find Out This Year 27 comments

Wccftech reports that Micron plans to "introduce" NAND with 8 bits (1 byte) per cell:

Back in May of 2018, Micron introduced Quad-Level (QLC) NAND tech and, surprisingly, saw their stock tumble to pricing levels of ~$30 down from ~$60. This was the result of complex NAND pricing and supply/demand factors, not just the introduction of QLC, to be clear. I have just confirmed from multiple sources and stakeholders that Micron is intending to introduce their Octa-Level (OLC) NAND either in Q1 or latest by Q2 2019.

OLC NAND would have 28 (256) states and 28-1 (255) threshold voltages, compared to just 16 states for today's QLC NAND.

3D QLC NAND SSDs arrived on the market in 2018. QLC NAND has lower write endurance, estimated at 1,000 program/erase (PE) cycles, compared to 3,000 P/E cycles for triple-level cell (TLC) NAND, 10,000 P/E cycles for multi-level cell (MLC) NAND, and 100,000 P/E cycles for single-level cell NAND. This exceeds previous expectations of 1,000 P/E cycles for TLC NAND and 100 cycles for QLC NAND. Intel's SSD 660p drives using QLC NAND are rated for only about 0.1 drive writes per day for 5 years, or about 200 TB written on a 1 TB drive. Data retention is also reduced.

In 2013, it was reported that the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) funded Crocus Technology development of 8-bits-per-cell Magnetic Logic Unit (MLU) memory, which would use two 4-bit layers:

Douglas Lee, VP for system strategy and corporate product development at Crocus, pointed out NAND and MRAM bits-per-cell limitations: "The current semiconductor non-volatile memory state-of-the-art is 3-4 bits per cell, as achieved in NAND flash memory, and is reaching the physical limits of floating gate memory technology. The current state-of-the-art in MRAM is only 1 bit per cell storage."


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @06:30PM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @06:30PM (#1205614)

    It'll automatically go into Recycle Mode after a couple of years - but you'll get a 30% discount on the replacement as long as you throw the old ones into the garbage can.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @08:02PM (7 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @08:02PM (#1205636)

      Garbage can?! You earth-hater you! It should go into the proper recycling bin.

      That said something with 10 years of life at best? I have proms that are 40 years old and still chugging along.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @09:11PM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @09:11PM (#1205646)

        Hey, I had a workhorse Keurig coffee machine that lasted nearly 10 years. It finally died. My wife bought a new, top of the line replacement Keurig. That $150 piece of crap died after only TWO MONTHS! What to do? My wife then bought a cheaper Keurig at only $100 to replace the replacement. It is obviously cheap as hell with a very loose mechanism made of very thin plastic. At least when it dies, it will only cause two thirds the financial pain.

        EVERYTHING IS MADE LIKE THIS NOW.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @09:46PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @09:46PM (#1205652)

          Ten years... bah! I'm still using my grandmother's Bialetti espresso maker that's at least fifty years old. It uses inexpensive ground coffee (since I'm not a millennial I'm capable of using a measuring spoon instead of requiring everything to be prepackaged in shiny overpriced disposable packaging).

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @02:37AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @02:37AM (#1205688)

            There are those who are addicted to the Keurig K-cup, and they pay a hefty price for it. I agree that you could just use a small coffee maker instead (like a drip model) and save a lot of money. But my wife is the coffee fanatic in the house, so she decides what coffee maker we buy. Before the Keurig, we had a Japanese Zojirushi coffee pot with a thermos carafe. That thing would keep the coffee hot forever after it brewed with no heating element to give the coffee a burnt taste!

            https://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-EC-YTC100XB-Coffee-Maker-Stainless/dp/B07B83DGMV/ref=asc_df_B07B83DGMV?tag=bngsmtphsnus-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=80676783889076&hvnetw=s&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=be&hvdev=m&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4584276309378471&psc=1 [amazon.com]

            It never broke, but it sits unused next to the damn Keurig machine with its tiny K-cups of plastic waste enveloped overpriced coffee.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @02:41AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @02:41AM (#1205690)

              The only thing more Millennial than a Keurig would be a Keurig K-cup subscription service delivered by Amazon. She's not that far gone.

        • (Score: 2) by epitaxial on Friday December 17 2021, @12:25PM (1 child)

          by epitaxial (3165) on Friday December 17 2021, @12:25PM (#1205745)

          Can't go wrong with a french press. They even make single cup versions.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @12:34PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @12:34PM (#1205746)

            Eh, pourover is easier, tastes better, and cheaper.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @04:05PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @04:05PM (#1205821)

          EVERYTHING IS MADE LIKE THIS NOW.

          Ironically that's probably partly because a lot of plastics are now biodegradable or similar. Which means they start disintegrating after a few years. Not like the 1960s-1970s plastic stuff which are still OK after half a century.

          When the modern "environmentally friendly" plastic stuff start crumbling they are only fit for the landfill or incinerator. If you keep using them you'd likely be contributing to the microplastics problem...

          Thanks a lot for thinking of the environment when making such plastics!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @07:52PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @07:52PM (#1205634)

    All of your old electronic devices with floating gate storage will die of bit rot.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @01:14AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @01:14AM (#1205674)

    Question for you flash storage experts out there. If you leave flash unpowered for long enough to lose its memory, do the bits all go to zero, one, or random?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @01:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @01:32AM (#1205678)

      Depends on the exact flash technology in question. However, almost all map their default state to be logically equivalent to a state of all ones (0xFF). Additionally, most technologies "writing" changes the logical state for those bits from ones to zeros and "erasing" is the only way to restore the default state of all ones. However, that is not necessarily true for all flash memory but most of them try to maintain that interface for historic/expectation reasons. Non-flash solid state storage technology is much more liberal at breaking that convention.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @04:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 17 2021, @04:07PM (#1205822)
      I heard some use encryption. So for some implementations the stuff might stop working.
  • (Score: 1) by pTamok on Friday December 17 2021, @11:30AM (2 children)

    by pTamok (3042) on Friday December 17 2021, @11:30AM (#1205734)

    Depending on how long your perspective is, all storage is ephemeral.

    That said, 10-years at 150 degrees Centigrade is pretty impressive.

    On the other hand, I would like some long-term high density storage I can lose at the back of the drawers in my desk for a few decades without worrying. Obviously, fired-clay tablets with cuneiform script works on a longevity basis, but the data density is a bit low. The Long Now project have gone for micro-etched nickel disks (search for: Long Now Rosetta Project), but it's not cheap or easy. A lot of high-density hard disks use Helium atmospheres these days, which leaks eventually, and given the lead-free solder used these days, I'm not sure the electronics will be particularly long lived. The usual practice for long term archiving is to migrate the data to new media every so often, which means I need some drawer-gnomes to do that for me. Microfiche and Microfilm is not high enough density, although archival quality film should last a couple of centuries. This was addressed by this company, used by the Long Now ( http://www.thic.org/pdf/Apr98/norsam.jbishop.pdf [thic.org] , https://www.norsam.com/products/hd-rosetta-analog/ [norsam.com] ), but I don't have the finding to use it. It is a tad impractical.

    So, an ideas about durable, high density archival storage?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Friday December 17 2021, @12:11PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday December 17 2021, @12:11PM (#1205742) Journal

      I think we'll end up craving optical/holographic storage in the 100 terabyte to multi-petabyte range.

      "5D" Laser-Based Polarization Vortex Storage Could Hold Hundreds of Terabytes for Billions of Years [soylentnews.org]
      Microsoft Stores 75.6 GB on Glass Disc Designed to Last Thousands of Years [soylentnews.org]
      Researchers Store 5 Gigabytes Using "5D" Optical Data Storage, Claim Up to 500 Terabytes Possible [soylentnews.org]

      If it ends up not being rewritable, that's a nuisance, but if you can write as you go, the sheer capacity could make it so it doesn't matter.

      Hopefully it would end up as a consumer technology, or cheap enough for consumers to buy. Optical discs in general have declined, high-capacity HDDs target datacenters first and can fail horribly, and nobody wants to use expensive tape drives and high-latency tape. Ideally, silly developments like 8K video cameras on smartphones or 360-degree VR video could create demand for hundreds of terabytes of consumer storage.

      If you can sacrifice some density, you could pick up M-DISCs [wikipedia.org] right now. I don't know if you can trust the longevity claims though.

      Other than optical, there are various universal memory [wikipedia.org] candidates that could replace DRAM, NAND, and/or HDDs, depending on the characteristics of the technology.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Friday December 17 2021, @04:19PM

        by deimtee (3272) on Friday December 17 2021, @04:19PM (#1205825) Journal

        If it ends up not being rewritable, that's a nuisance, but if you can write as you go, the sheer capacity could make it so it doesn't matter.

        A 500TB WORM drive as a data drive would actually a huge plus for most people. It pretty much makes them immune to ransomware.

        --
        If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
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