NAND memory is a specific type of flash memory defined as “non-volatile storage technology.” Unlike many other types of memory, it doesn’t require active power to retain and store data. According to Wikipedia, non-volatile storage technology includes read-only and NAND flash memory.
NAND was created as a solution to reducing the cost per bit and upping maximum chip capacity so that flash memory can compete with magnetic storage devices, such as hard disks. Since its introduction, NAND based storage has been used in devices designed to sustain large files and frequent uploads, downloads, and data replacement. Some of your favorite devices use NAND flash, including USB drives, external USB drives, MP3 players, cell phones, MicoSD and digital cameras.
A Solid Type of Memory but Still Fallible
One of the most notable benefits to NAND memory is its ability to resist file corruption. Unlike many other types of memory on the market, NAND is composed of a finite number of write cycles. As a result, probable memory failure will take a while to occur. This type of memory gradually incurs failures over individual cells. In most cases, instead of a sudden memory failure or corruption, a device with NAND memory will experience overall performance reductions prior to memory failure and file damage. This is referred to as wear-out, and gives the user a warning to back-up their data and acquire new memory before a catastrophic failure that could result in data loss.
Once a device’s NAND memory wears out, the user will simply purchase new memory. When inserted into a storage device, the new flash memory will allow it to function normally. In essence, additional storage costs are passed on to the consumer, which has lowered the price of electronic devices significantly.
Current Industry Trends in File Storage
The Information Technology and Consumer Electronics industries eat NAND memory for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Today we find this type of memory in all of our most popular and highly used products, including:
- Smart Phones
- Memory Cards
- USB Flash Devices
- Car Navigation Systems
- GPS Devices
- MP3 Players
- Digital Cameras
- Data Collection Systems, as used by NASA, Seismograph Instruments, etc.
Solid State Drives (SSD Storage)
According to current industry trends, NAND memory technology is now being introduced into PC storage devices such as Solid State Drives. In recent years, PC storage has rapidly begun a migration away from the traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD) technology. SSDs have become the favored storage and memory medium. Experts predict that we will soon see 3-bit MLC NAND-based products in the SSD industry.
According to a Samsung white paper, the NAND-based storage currently powering our most popular storage devices has the almost guaranteed potential to outlive the useful life spans of the devices they power. Manufacturers now face the decision of whether to sacrifice excess lifetime and performance in a concentrated effort to bring dramatic cost benefits and deliver NAND storage technology to a far wider audience. The opinion to do so is strong since the advantages of this technology far outweigh those of traditional storage drives.
As technology continues to advance, new breakthroughs in NAND memory will continue to be achieved. Memory chips are continually growing smaller while increasing the maximum read and write cycles and lowering overall voltage demands. What does this mean for you? It means the future of memory and storage is about to grow faster, larger, and much more cost effective for the everyday user.
NAND technology is quickly becoming one of the most effective and efficient types of memory on the market. In the months and years to come it is predicted to become one of the most commonly used—if not the only used—type of memory in data storage devices on the market.