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Flash Memory Reliability

Researchers have discovered a way to increase flash memory performance and reliability.

Used widely in computers, USB’s, solid state drives and electronic gadgets because of its speed and ability to remember data without power, flash memory is a reliable tool used by most individuals and organisations every day.

Like everything, flash memory does have a life span. After 10,000 writes and reads the reliability of flash memory significantly decreases. Researchers in Taiwan have discovered a way to increase this reliability to up to 100 million cycles with the aid of a very simple and easy to come by device, heat.

By heating a flash chip to 800°C it can heal and increase its reliability by up to 10,000 times. The practicalities however of baking a flash chip in an 800°C oven don’t make for a reasonable method. This is why researchers at Macronix have designed an on board heater that raises the temperature of the memory chip to increase its life span.

The heater provides a short shot of heat to specified areas of the chip. This means the method is not only safe but also low in power consumption, making it a practical solution for portable electronics.

The upper limit of 100 million cycles is just the tip of the iceberg. Experimenting with a few hundreds of millions of cycles takes weeks, billions would take months. The true result of what effect heat will have on flash memory reliability is yet to be discovered.

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