You may recall that several years back, OCZ gave up its DRAM memory business so that it could focus more of its attention on solid state drives (SSDs). Since then, OCZ has launched several different models, though no other SATA III SSD line in the company's portfolio is rated as fast as its newly announced Vector 150 Series. The latest 19nm NAND flash process geometry and an in-house controller design are what power these new drives.
Samsung and Hynix, two of the world's largest NAND flash memory producers, are reportedly planning to scale back production in order to deal with an oversupply situation that is forcing prices down. Toshiba is said to have already slowed down its operations at one of its Japan plants for the very same reason, and now that the first domino has fallen, others are expected to follow suit.
Seagate's getting into the SSD business, and it's doing so by converting coal into diamonds. Yesterday, Seagate inked a deal with DensBits, which has an SSD controller that it says can dramatically improve the speed and longevity of NAND flash memory -- basically making fairly low-quality SSDs into average-quality SSDs. Seagate bought an undisclosed stake in DensBits and together, they hope to bring "low-cost, high-performance" SSDs to both consumers and corporate buyers.
The average selling price of mechanical hard drives has risen ever since severe floods in Thailand wreaked havoc on HDD manufacturing plants, and on the opposite end of the storage spectrum, the cost of solid state drives (SSDs) has been steadily decreasing as the technology matures. With that being the case, why in the world would researchers from the University of California in San Diego (UCSD) declare the future of NAND flash memory and SSDs as being bleak?
Like Jennifer's Lopez's marriage, DRAM manufacturers are going through a bit of a rough patch. DRAM insiders were popping Cristal when the industry saw a 77 percent surge in revenues between 2009 and 2010, but thanks to a dramatic death-spiral in DRAM prices, those same executives could soon be snuggling up to Wall Street bankers and MD 20/20 in the gutter. Today, a report surfaced that indicates that things could get worse before they get better for DRAM manufacturers; some experts theorize that PC owners may shift away from DRAM into the open arms of NAND flash memory.
Do you love flash drives, but are constantly feeling exhausted from lugging them around? If so, this is your lucky day, because SanDisk would like to sell you the "smallest USB flash drive in North America". We assume this means there are smaller drives elsewhere - probably in Japan. The drive is called the SanDisk Cruzer Blade, and weights in at about 2.5g, or the same as a penny. Physically, it's the size of a paperclip.
SanDisk hopes you'll see fit to attach this bit of tech to your keychain, or a cell phone lanyard ring. To be hauled around in such a way it would have to be sturdy, and we are unconvinced. The drives will come in capacities from2GB up to 16GB, and will sell for $14.99-$77.99. This product definitely falls into the "hey, that's cool" category, but we're also worried it will fall into the "I didn't realize it was in my pocket, and I washed it" category. Are you planning to pick one up?
"Construction of the new fab reflects expectations for increasing demand for NAND flash memory for existing and emerging applications, such as smartphones and solid-state drives," the companies said in a statement. Fab 5 will be ready for action midway through next year.
The facility is part of a Toshiba plan to spend 500 billion Japanese yen (US$5.65 billion) on new factories and equipment during the next three years.
The FTC was investigating the world’s four largest manufacturers of NAND flash memory: two in South Korea, one in Japan, and one in the United States. The four companies investigated are unnamed in the report, leaving us to wonder who they are. The report, however, does tell us the world’s four largest NAND flash memory manufacturers are Samsung and Hynix (in South Korea), Toshiba (in Japan), and SanDisk (in the United States). Perhaps it’s not such a mystery after all.
NAND flash memory, which is cheap to produce, is used in digital music players, digital campers, USB memory sticks, and the like. An over-production in the latter part of the decade lead to a downward spiral in prices, which some manufacturers are alleged to have perpetrated to gain market share. Manufacturers claim that pricing was more a factor of oversupply and technological advances, which the FTC seems to agree with, finding no evidence of price-fixing on the international level, and limited evidence of price-fixing on the domestic level.