Micron embeds error correction in flash memory chips, calls it ClearNAND

Solid state storage is fantastic stuff, durable and lightning-quick, but it's got its fair share of quirks -- bits fail, pages fill up, and cells deteriorate over time. Typically, the onus is on a beefy controller to take care of your drive and make sure it lasts a good long while (which is why brand names like SandForce can make or break an SSD) but it looks like Micron is planning to usurp some of that responsibility with its new ClearNAND chips. Simply put, each ClearNAND memory module has a built-in 24-bit error correction engine, so your drive's host controller doesn't have to shoulder that load, and can focus on the good stuff -- like getting your data delivered at speeds that would obliterate traditional hard drives. Micron says the new chips are available right now in 25nm sizes. Want a more technical rundown? Hit up our more coverage link to hear what this might mean for the error-prone future of the medium. PR after the break.

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Micron Unveils Innovative Flash Memory Devices That Extend the Life of NAND

New ClearNAND(TM) Products Incorporate NAND Error Correction Intelligence, Paving the Way for Further NAND Technology Scaling

BOISE, Idaho, Dec. 2, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Micron Technology, Inc. today introduced a portfolio of high-capacity flash memory products that will lengthen the life of NAND for years to come. By integrating the error management techniques in the same NAND package, the new Micron® ClearNAND™ devices alleviate the challenges traditionally found in NAND process shrinks. Micron's ClearNAND portfolio extends the opportunities for more advanced NAND process generations to be used in enterprise servers, tablet PCs, portable media players, and dozens of other consumer applications.

"The pace of NAND scaling is largely responsible for the incredible growth and success the industry has seen to date, and for helping to create new flash-based storage solutions," said Glen Hawk, vice president of Micron's NAND Solutions Group. "While the advantages in NAND scaling are evident, so are the challenges with the technology becoming increasingly more difficult to manage. Micron's ClearNAND products remove this management burden for our customers and extend the life of this all-important technology."

Micron's ClearNAND products utilize a traditional raw NAND interface, and include new features that are optimized for high-capacity and high-performance applications. As the industry progresses past 20-nanometer (nm), flash management gets more challenging because the amount of bit errors increases dramatically, impacting NAND performance and reliability. By tightly coupling the error management with the NAND devices in a single package, Micron's customers can continue to take advantage of the highest capacity and lowest cost-per-bit flash memory solution. Micron's ClearNAND products are first designed using its 25nm multi-level cell (MLC) process, and are available in two versions: Standard and Enhanced.

Micron's Standard ClearNAND products come in 8 to 32 gigabyte (GB) packages, and are intended to remove the error correction code (ECC) burden from the host processor with minimal protocol changes compared to raw NAND. The Standard ClearNAND portfolio is targeted for portable media players and other consumer electronic devices.

Micron's Enhanced ClearNAND products, in addition to removing the ECC burden from the host processor, also provide new enterprise specific features to enable high-capacity designs, delivering improved performance and reliability. Capacities are available in 16 to 64GB packages. The Enhanced ClearNAND products are targeted at enterprise and computing applications, and allows leading-edge 25nm MLC NAND to be used in these applications for the first time.

Both Micron Standard ClearNAND and Enhanced ClearNAND products are available now.

"As the industry continues to reduce costs by moving to smaller and smaller geometries, the challenge has been to maintain equivalent system performance and endurance as the previous process generation," said Greg Wong, founder and principal analyst at Forward Insights. "With its ClearNAND portfolio, Micron has developed a solution that overcomes these challenges, enabling customers to utilize the most advanced NAND technology in even the most demanding applications."

A Broad NAND Portfolio – From Raw Flash Memory to Fully Managed Solutions

With wireless, consumer, computing and enterprise manufacturers moving toward NAND flash as their primary storage medium, most designers require a broad selection of technology solutions to fit a vast array of end-product designs. From tablet PCs to flash-based notebooks, to high-end smartphones and data center servers, all of these applications are very distinct and call for a different type of NAND flash. The ClearNAND products strengthen Micron's NAND flash portfolio, providing the company with a broad offering of solid-state storage solutions.