The first fix, issued in October, turned out to be a dud
The Samsung 840 Evo launched to some rave reviews in 2013. We gave it a “kick ass” 9 out of 10 and hailed it as “the fastest SSD we have ever tested by a sizable margin.” Unfortunately, some of that luster has since worn off, with a large number of 840 Evo owners reporting a serious decline in read performance of drives with several months’ of data on them. As for the firmware update and Performance Restoration Software that the company released in October to address the issue, they were apparently of very little help as the problem has resurfaced like a recrudescent cancer.
Memory and storage heavyweights Micron and Seagate have signed a multi-year agreement in which the two will form a "framework for combining the innovation and expertise of both companies." Or in plain English, they're going to help each other in the storage space with an initial focus on SAS solid state drives and NAND supply, and then later in the enterprise SSD space.
Toshiba wins race to 15nm in NAND flash memory field
What a relief it must be for OCZ to now be owned by Toshiba. Prior to the acquisition, OCZ had to fret about its supply of NAND flash memory chips, and that's not a concern for Toshiba, which makes its own. On top of that, Toshiba continues to advance the technology. To wit, Toshiba just announced it developed the world's first 15nm processor technology, which it's applying to 2-bit-per-cell 128-gigabit (16 gigabytes) NAND flash memories.
Oversupply of NAND flash memory has pushed prices down
It's tough to get a pulse on the NAND flash memory market. On one hand, you have OCZ selling off all of its assets to Toshiba and filing for bankruptcy in part because a shortage of NAND chips put the company in a tough spot. Days later, we're finding out that NAND flash chip suppliers are stuck with an oversupply of parts and plan to cut production to try and stabilize prices.
Analysts at IHS iSuppli spent some time pondering what would happen if current tensions in Korea escalate to the point of a war on the Korean peninsula, and what they determined is that it could theoretically cripple the global electronics business. South Korea is a major cog in the electronics supply chain, as it accounts for half of the world's DRAM output, two-thirds of NAND flash manufacturing, and 70 percent of the world's tablet display.
OCZ Technology fans have had cause for concern lately. Earlier this month, the former memory maker turned solid state drive player sacked 28 percent of its staff and discontinued 150 product variations. The restructuring effort was put into place by OCZ's recently appointed chief, Ralph Schmitt, who was appointed to replace former CEO and founder Ryan Petersen. At the time, Schmitt admitted OCZ had "lost credibility," but going forward, he seems to have a plan to turn things around.
Have you noticed how cheap NAND-powered memory devices have gotten? Flash drives and SSDs aren't quite a dime a dozen these days, but they're significantly cheaper than they have been in the past. While you and I may appreciate the decline in costs, low pricing is putting the pinch on NAND manufacturers, and Toshiba is cutting its NAND production by about 30 percent to compensate. (And drive up prices, of course.)
Memory makers would be wise never to take consumer demand for granted. It's a lesson all involved had to learn the hard way after the DRAM market crashed crashed a few years ago, and with the rise in popularity of solid state drives and products that use them, NAND flash memory is proving to be their mulligan. Even still, a repeat of what happened to DRAM sales is possible, and surprisingly enough, it's the Ultrabook market that's driving sales of NAND flash memory, not all those supposed PC-killing tablets.
Technology giants Intel and Micron hammered out revised agreements to expand their NAND Flash memory joint venture relationship, the two companies announced this week. As part of the agreements, Micron will buy back Intel's stake in two wafer fabrication plants for $600 million, half of which will be paid in cash and the rest deposited with Micron to be refunded or applied to Intel's future purchases.
Teams of engineers from SanDisk and Toshiba working at SanDisk's Milpitas campus developed a NAND flash memory chip smaller than a U.S. penny, the two companies announced. The 128Gb (gigabit) memory chip, which is currently in production, is the world's smallest and can store 128 billion bits of information on a single die measuring just 170mm2, barely more than a quarter of an inch squared.