Feeds

back to article Flashboys: HEELLLP, we're trapped in a process size shrink crunch

The NAND flash industry is facing a process size shrink crunch and no replacement technology is ready. Unless 3D die stacking works, we are facing a solid state storage capacity shortage. The NAND flash foundries are pumping out more and more sub-20nm NAND. Previously they'd mostly produced 2Xnm dies – that is NAND dies with a …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge

So ...

Spinning disks are not "dead" then if cost and storage is more important than latency. Arrays do reduce the latency issue a bit.

It seems we are nowhere near the limits of increased disk density, though no large jumps in capacity.

Could it be that NAND Fab plant building isn't happening because perhaps it's still a premium price niche market as well as the uncertainty over alternate technologies. I think there may be more than the three mentioned in the article.

1
0

Spinning disks

So I am wondering, spinning magnetic disks were released in ancient history ( :P ) and continue to have a far greater roadmap ahead than NAND which was released far later and comes to an end far sooner... Interesting...

The main question is why we can't see spinning disks really improving performance. We are stuck at 7200 rpm for as many years I can remember, while there are both 10000 and 15000 rpm drives for many years. Prices should have become reasonable by now to bring them to more consumers. I can see the awfully small 8 - 16 - 32 MB cache in HDs staying the same while the sizes have grown enormously. Why dont we have multiple times that capacity (it should boost performance and help reduce latency for frequently accessed data), since DRAM is constantly less and less expensive?

I guess the situation of having the whole HD market consolidated to just two players is not working in our favor.

1
0

Re: Spinning disks

I've wondered why there hasn't been much work on spinning disks as well... if RAID improves reliability so much, why not build a RAID-in-a-disk? Effectively two (or more) independent disks and heads, with some software to set it up as either striped or mirrored. It would be half the space of a 'normal' disk, but it would either be faster due to striping, or more reliable due to mirroring. It wouldn't be difficult to fit all that in a 8.89 cm(*) drive; even a 6.35 cm(**) drive might be able to squeeze in another platter, though that would be a lot harder...

(*) 3.5 in.

(**) 2.5 in.

0
0
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

"It works who cares"

The paper raises interesting legitimate questions.

So does it really work, or is the understanding of what a "memristor" is different between the theoreticians and experimentalists (or between inside HP and outside HP) or is this a Cold Fusion device? Is suppose in the end, the Real Stuff won't be a "passive device"...

We read:

"In With regard to equation (34), the dynamical state equation (31b) would thus violate Landauer’s

principle as there is no restriction with respect to the minimum amount of energy which is needed to attain to an internal, physical state change. Following equation (31b), one would be able to change the state of a system – and that means in our case a real physical modification – at any time by merely feeding some electric current through the system, independent of the energy or work which can be actually supplied to the system in course of time. However, internal states of a system can only be altered if some minimum amount of generalized thermodynamic work is involved in, and that holds for both macroscopic and nanoscopic systems. Reasoning thoroughly about all of this, the dynamical state equation (31b) for our hypothetical memristor violates thus the fundamental requirements of the thermodynamics of information processing by itself. Maybe, approaches like the state equations (31a) and (31b) might be maintained if an extra side condition for the considered system is specified, namely the minimum electric power input to the device which is necessary to arrive continuously at internal, physical state changes, but we have reasonable doubts with regard to this. Physically, one might be confronted with capacitive or inductive effects, but it is beyond the scope of the present work to discuss such thinkable systems."

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: "It works who cares"

Dude..It's Friday afternoon and you made my head hurt now

:)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

I'm with John Bennet - 3D is the way to go. Who cares what Fartner say.

1
0
Flame

Wow, so I guess you should have put some more effort into finding a replacement instead of just trying to ride on a flawed technology indefinitely.

1
0
Silver badge

This was predicted 25 years ago

Which is one of the reasons people were working on Ferroelectric memory.

OK, you're back to 1 bit per cell, but you only need 12 atoms to hold a state and it's supposedly good for 10^16 write cycles.

(Yes, I know FeRAM is less dense than flash, but it's not had the same level of effort put into miniaturising it.)

0
0

Re: This was predicted 25 years ago

FeRAM (core memory) was what immediately came to mind here as well. It also happens to be eminently stackable for that 3D touch. [I've been around long enough, forty years, so everything old becoming new again is "old-hat" (pun intended).] Spinning your storage media to ease access is wasteful in the context of power-saving electronics. We can afford refined access mechanisms in the form of nanoscale materials now. Now, about bringing back the vacuum tube (and yes, I read the article on nanoscale versions of them too ;-)...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

feature area

In your example, a hypothetical 10nm process would yield appoximately 3TB for the same physical volume.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

They could do all that

or they could make 3.5" SSDs.

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Dimension Z

When you run out of X and Y, you have to build up.

0
0

An additional point I'd like to make about the supposed fab '"run out", given that both Samsung and Toshiba are working on expanding capacity and between them are more than 1/2 the worlds supply of flash, even leaving out the other suppliers its hard to say the world fab capacity isn't going up.

Also Gartner has it wrong, it doesn't take 5 years to build a fab, Toshiba's Fab 5 (and this is all public information) was built and brought online in 1 year, and it is a modular design that can be doubled in size on the same site plan.

Also to clarify I said I think in 5 years the fabs will had decided which technology they are going to use as their post-post-NAND solution, it may be more than 5 years before they actually switch to it.

Jon

0
1
Bronze badge

Bare in mind that a lot of work that goes into creating a fab is over long before the first sod is is cut - acquiring land, planning, design and so is the same as for any other construction project. Building a fab specifically is another step on top of that since so much depends on acquiring kit from one of two or three supplier worldwide depending on the process size. The last figure I saw was that lead time on stepper optics alone (not complete steppers) was two years. If that is still true (and there's no reason to suppose not) that 12 month build time is blown clear out of the water in one go.

1
0

Dear spectacularly refined chap,

No the 12 month build isn't blown out of the water, perhaps it takes 5 years to decide you need a fab, budget for it, design it, architect the structure, clear the site, get the permits, order the machinery, clear the site, train the workers, build the facility, install the machinery, start production.

But its is clear that the "build the building to start production" part can be done in 1 year, they did it. You don't know if for instance they already have all the stepper machines and what not on order for Phase 2 of Fab 5. And since the second part of Fab 5 is a duplicate of the first half and the site is already cleared it does not seem like there is any activity that is externally visible that would prevent them from starting construction tomorrow and being ready to sell flash a year later.

Given they have talked about starting construction next year one assumes they must have things like steppers and the like lined up for potential delivery. In which case they will start building a duplicate of the building they just build and a year later it will be online making parts using equipment ordered 1 year before the started on the building.

Its important to distinguish between "it takes X years to build" and "it takes X years to plan for and build the first one and Y < X years to build a new one after the first one works"

0
1

That is precisely what he said and precisely what is relevant here. The commentator remarked that we are facing a shortage because no plans are on the table now - not just architectural plans, simple aspirations of the "we will need a new plant in 2013 variety". He makes clear no such plans are in the pipeline. Even if every flash company in the world did an about turn now it would still take those new plants five years to come on line which is where the problem cited actually lies. How long it takes to physically build a building and populate it with pre-ordered plant is an irrelevance.

1
0
Stop

Rebecca, the problem is that the information presented from Gartner just doesn't hold up, SEMI reports that something like $7B US is being spent this year on flash fabs and close to $9B US is planed to be spent next year. So clearly there is a lot of money being spent on flash fab production.

As to how long it takes if they start tomorrow. In April Toshiba said they planed to start construction of Phase 2 of Fab 5 and have it online and in production in mid 2013, they have since pushed that back because they don't need to bring on that much capacity yet. It seems that they believe that they can go from a cleared site to wafers rolling off the line in about 12 months. If some analyst says it takes 5 years to build a fab, and a company that actually builds and runs fabs and who has previously gotten one built and running in a year says it will take them a year from start to end to do the next one, who are you going to believe?

Its simple the Gartner analyst is wrong, he says it takes 5 years, it has been shown it can be done in 1 year, thus there is no reason to believe he knows what he is talking about when it comes to the fab business.

jon

0
1
This topic is closed for new posts.