Flash memory continues to shrink in size and grow in capacity. Hard disk drive technology continues its inevitable march toward greater areal densities, and hybrid drives are being purchased in greater numbers. Hewlett-Packard is busy at work on a new type of storage, one based on fancy little things called memristors
, which may hit the market in the mid-term.
There's a lot happening with solid state storage, and a lot more set to happen—but some serious problems need to be solved first.
[h=2]It's getting small in here
[/h] For electronics, smaller is almost always better. Moore's Law—which says that the amount of transistors one can cram into a given amount of space tends to double about every eighteen months—still holds roughly true for NAND flash. SSDs based on a 25nm or 20nm manufacturing process are common today, and in early June, Toshiba announced a line of SSDs
based on a 19nm process size.
The advantages of smaller flash are huge, since material costs money—and more flash can go on a single chip, which most obviously means bigger drive sizes. Even better, smaller floating gate transistors use less electricity and operate more efficiently, and gains in power efficiency are extremely important for flash memory's most important growth area: the mobile market.
When coupled with the eventual switch to TLC (triple-level cell) flash over the current MLC (multi-level cell) flash, the future should look rosy: physically smaller, higher-capacity SSDs which use less power. We can't lose!