Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say "yes" -- by 2024

Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say "yes" -- by 2024

Summary: Researchers from the University of California, San Diego have discovered that shrinking solid-state drives results in severe enough performance degradation that they doubt the flash-based storage will have much of a future once the manufacturing process gets down to 6.5nm.

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TOPICS: CXO, Hardware, Storage
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Here's something to throw a monkey wrench into that whole "SSDs are the future of storage" theory. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego have discovered that shrinking solid-state drives results in severe enough performance degradation that they doubt the flash-based storage will have much of a future once the manufacturing process gets down to 6.5nm.

The scientists recently shared research they did on 45 different flash chips in various sizes, which showed that latency and error rates are sufficient enough that when they extrapolated the results to 2024 -- when SSD drives are expected to be produced at 6.5nm -- they question the drives' viability. As more capacity is squeezed into the chips, the findings show, bandwidth suffers, whether using SLC, MLC, or TLC flash.

The researchers did not use the custom flash controllers that manufacturers have developed to overcome some of these deficiencies, so it's conceivable that technology could be created to compensate for this expected degradation in the decade before the end is foreseen. Still, the findings confirm long-standing concerns about SSD reliability that have helped limited the technology's mainstreaming (though higher prices are obviously the biggest culprit).

Have concerns about performance degradation kept you from purchasing a solid-state drive? Are you worried about SSD's future as a storage medium? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section.

[Via Computerworld]

Topics: CXO, Hardware, Storage

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Talkback

41 comments
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  • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

    Until I can get a terabyte < $500 I have no reason to upgrade personally.
    Frenz9
    • You can get 2TB for $80 right now.

      @Frenz9 So why waste the extra money when the device may not last for even a year?
      wackoae
      • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

        @wackoae My setup: 120GB SSD primary drive with O/S and Software on it; 1TB HDD with media on it.

        Boot time is 12 seconds with Windows 7 SP1. No program takes longer than a second to start.

        Seems worth it.
        Imrhien
      • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

        @wackoae -

        Agreed.

        A big box blue store had a big sale on ____-brand 120GB SSDs ($160, regularly $220). I almost bought one, but did a quick check - people left and right were reporting this model drive died after 3 months, going through the brand manufacturer was a pain, the big box blue store doesn't offer extended warranties (easy to see why...), and voila - stuck customers.
        HypnoToad72
      • Que? HDDs are not that reliable either

        @wackoae
        SSDs are better than performance HDDs.

        I replaced my four 150GB Raptors with SSDs after two of them died a few years ago. I had a dedicated 120mm fan trying to cool their 40W, but now have no whine or chatter, no heat and super speeds.

        We would rather have the silence than cheap drives.
        Patanjali
      • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

        @wackoae
        Yeah, I had one and it was going fine for about 3-4 months before it died. Won't use one again.
        tora201
  • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

    Dude, that is 13 years from now! By then I would hope that the technology matures to the point that the errors are reduced.
    slickjim
    • Hey I agree with Peter on this one! Mark this day down!

      @Peter Perry ... Hmmmm 2012? Maybe we are in the end times!?!

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

        @James Quinn -

        Back when the Mayans made their calendar, they ran into a similar type of problem. They ran out of data storage.

        In short, they ran out of rock to chisel on, got bored, or Cortes and his buddies arrived and slaughtered them all in the name of promoting Christ or whatever... (history is cool...)
        HypnoToad72
      • @hypno

        If you're going to do history, get it right. Cortez went after the aztecs for their gold. And he had a lot of help from neighboring tribes because of the Aztec's nasty habit of raiding surrounding villages for human sacrifice. The Mayans also had the lovely practice of gathering up slaves to sacrifice. And you think Christianity was the problem...
        baggins_z
    • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

      @Peter Perry I would be somewhat surprised if there isn't something that leaves both HDD and SSD tech in the dust by then (13 years is a long time for some R&D). For that matter, computers themselves might be fundamentally different from the way they are now, to the point where SSDs and HDDs as we currently know them simply aren't practical to use in them anymore.
      Third of Five
  • It's always something

    I seem to recall that when the 64K RAM chip came out, there was an issue with alpha particles whizzing along and knocking electrons off their perch, turning 1's into 0's. The error rates weren't enormous, but high enough to cause concern about using the chips for anything serious. We were told then that the 64K chips were probably the smallest features we would ever see on RAM chips.
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

      @Robert Hahn
      What happened was there was some radioactive material in the ceramic. No one had checked for that because it had never been a problem. For awhile they were thinking it was cosmic rays but then the found out about the contaminated material.
      Rick_R
    • It's already here; IBM has an Atomic Level Storage Solution

      @Robert Hahn <br><br>"I read the article, but it wasn't clear whether it was a magnetic platter drive. Just that the access times would be state of the art. It will show up kind of like when Intel bought Infinion Technology back in 2005 for their nand development and transistor evolution development."
      Zurk_Orkin
  • Future concerns?

    OK. So if they can't manufacture SSDs on 6nm, then they'll be stuck on a process thatis a little bit bigger. They SSds are so much faster than current HDDs, that the HDD technology would need to leap past some of their constraints. With Trim, there's very little, if any, performance degradation. I'm not worried that a future 6nm process might introduce too many errors or performance degradation because by that time it'll be solved (or we'll just end up stuck at the process slightly bigger than that).
    BorgX
  • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

    I firmly believe we'll have something faster than flash by 2024.

    This could pose a potential problem for flash drives though as they increase in capacity, but we'll come up with something to deal with any errors/deficiency.
    iPhoneDude777
  • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

    http://wednice.ru/
    http://wednice.ru/
    • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

      @http://wednice.ru/ -

      Spam is best in a can. So please can your spam.
      HypnoToad72
  • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

    "The researchers did not use the custom flash controllers that manufacturers have developed to overcome some of these deficiencies"

    So they don't take into account even the available technology of today?
    Clap.... clap... clap...
    MatsSvensson
    • RE: Are SSDs doomed? Researchers say

      @MatsSvensson Agreed, this article is stupid. Of course there will be patches and workarounds to make the solution viable!
      Imrhien