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SSD Components and Make Up – An SSD Primer

SYNCHRONOUS VERSUS ASYNCHRONOUS NAND FLASH MEMORY

 In the past few months, another chapter has been added to SSD selection which has to do specifically with memory.  Whereas the original run of SSDs were being released with synchronous or toggle mode NAND flash modules, SSDs have now been introduced with asynchronous NAND flash memory.  Many SSDs with synchronous or toggle mode memory are now being marketed  with words such as ‘Premium’ or ‘Enthusiast Edition’.

The difference between the two is very simple.  SSDs that utilize premium memory are more expensive and perform better when transferring incompressible files such as music, photos and video.  Conversely, SSDs that utilize asynchronous NAND flash memory offer less performance ‘on paper’ however are less demanding on the pocket book.  The typical consumer, and even the experts, cannot tell the difference between the two in every day use.  I would suggest the less expensive SSD with ‘async’ memory is meant for the everyday typical user whereas the more expensive premium SSD is meant for photographers, videographers and those involved in the music industry.

In an earlier report, we compared two Corsair SSDs and did a thorough job of clarifying and displaying performance results for both synchronous and asynchronous memory. It will also show the different modules and explain how to differentiate between the two.

FINAL THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSIONS

We should apologize right off because this paper started as a one page brief but resulted in being three times that in an effort to cover as many of the questions that would have risen as possible.  As difficult as many would like to believe a basic understanding of solid state drives is, it is truly all about speed and understanding how that speed is achieved.  By doing so, the reader enables themselves to understand how a SSD can benefit their purpose and it also enables them to select the best SSD for the job at a price commensurate with their need.

Having said that, its necessary that I add that I do not consider myself to be an industry expert in any way and am always open to constructive response to help build this paper if I have erred in any way.  I would suggest that like most readers, I sat four years ago where most sit today, in that, I knew nothing about SSDs and everything provided to me since has been through hands on, reading articles like this and my relationships with SSD manufacturers.

In case this article has reached you through one of the many search engines, we should mention that this is the third in our series of  SSD Primer articles meant to help us all along in our understand of solid state drives.

  1. BENEFITS OF A SOLID STATE DRIVE – AN SSD PRIMER
  2. SSD COMPONENTS AND MAKE UP – AN SSD PRIMER
  3. SSD TYPES AND FORM FACTORS – AN SSD PRIMER
  4. SSD ADVERTISED PERFORMANCE – AN SSD PRIMER
  5. SSD MIGRATION OR FRESH INSTALL – AN SSD PRIMER
  6. GC AND TRIM IN SSDS EXPLAINED – AN SSD PRIMER

 

In our first article entitled 'Benefits of The Solid State Drive' we briefly provided comparison between a SSD and a hard drive and described the benefits of such an upgrade. We are going to follow with a description of SSD components along with an understanding of the purpose of each. This article will not only provide a solid foundation in your understanding of SSDs, but also, will also help in your final decision and choice of the right SSD for the job.  If it helps in your purchase decision, it has to be good right? Every SSD has a number…

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  • Guest

    I guess it’s safe to assume you’ll be covering in more detail how the die sizes, process shrinks and empty/unused controller channels make for slower and slower small drives and eventually may end up requiring you to buy a 512gb drive of some models (cough-Octane-cough) just to get the max performance. I even came across an article that predicts that SSDs will ultimately commit slow suicide with the continuing die shinks and resulting lower and lower write speeds.

    I’ve answered TONS of posts on Ocz’s forums from users who don’t understand why their 60GB V3 is so slow vs a 120 or 240…and TWICE as many who don’t understand the write penalty with incompressible data on a SF controller and proceed to post an as_ssd or CDM screeny asking where the specd 500reads/500writes are.

    • Guest again

      Oh speaking of process shrinks…if anyone is in the market for a 34nm toggle equipped SF2200 (i.e. Ocz MaxIOPs) you better get ’em while you can…transition to 24nm toggle is upon us. Similar to the 32nm to 25nm transition, write speeds will take a hit as well as the base durability (P/E cycles) even tho it will bring the price down further…but I’m the type who doesn’t mind paying a little extra for the faster writing drive with more durable nand.

  • MRFS

    p.s. My message above suddenly disappeared (??)

    MRFS

  • MRFS

    Thanks, Les.

    I think your entire website would benefit enormously by expanding your working definition of “solid-state”.

    Clearly, the IT world has more or less adopted “SSD” as the preferred acronym for memory devices that utilize one of several variants of Nand Flash e.g. MLC and SLC in different die sizes, different controllers and varying capacities with or without internal DRAM cache.

    However, a ramdisk that utilizes SDRAM to emulate a file system partition would also qualify as a “solid-state” memory technology.

    This latter approach to accelerating the speed of most recently used “working sets” has taken on added important with the release of chipsets that support 6 and now 8 DIMM slots e.g. Intel’s X79 chipset with quad-channel memory access.

    See our “Technical Review and Evaluation of RamDisk Plus Software”.

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

    MRFS

  • Rteprecision32

    Hopefully the issues with SSD failures, BSOD, lost data, compatibility and reliability issues will be discussed for those who are unaware that consumer grade SSDs are “immature tech” and a potential liability for anyone who needs secure data.

  • Guest

    Sounds like your referring pretty much to SF’s teething pains…hardly representative of the entire SSD industry. SSDs are no worse than HDD failure rates btw…

  • sgogeta4

    Typo on the beginning of page 2, you wrote Samsung will release a 520 with SF controller, but I know you meant Intel.

  • Mike

    Thanks Les now I need to find the buyers at the factories. I have a whole bunch of Flash that I want to sell. mhayward@t-online.demhayward@t-online.de

  • David L.

    I just got a SSD, it came with it’s own transfer software. For some reason it did not work very well. so I went to my old standby ACRONIS. I treated the SSD as the same way I would any other drive. I used Widow’s partition manger to set it up, works fine. Also I purchased a UPS power supply to protect the SSD from power frailer, there cheep and will protect your equipment.

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