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Solid State Drives: A Closer Look

Report No. FI-NFL-SSD-1008, October 2008 

In its first comprehensive report on solid state drives, Forward Insights predicts that SSDs based on 3-bit per cell NAND flash technology will be introduced in 2011. Three-bit per cell technology offers the promise of reduced costs but suffers from much reduced performance and endurance compared to SLC and MLC technology and there are concerns regarding the suitability of the technology for SSDs. Nevertheless, Forward Insights believes that with architectural innovations, 3-bit per cell technology can find a place in SSDs for certain workloads.

Solid State Drives: A Closer Look provides a detailed overview of the technology, architecture and reliability of SSDs as well as techniques for improving the performance and endurance of SSDs. The report also describes measures to increase the endurance of NAND flash on the device level such as in the ultra high endurance server-grade NAND flash from Samsung.

Currently, there is a wide range of SSD performance and quality from various suppliers. An overview of SSD-related patents reveals which companies may have a long-term competitive advantage in this nascent market.

The report also includes a comparison of SSDs in the enterprise, low cost mobile notebook PC, notebook PC and desktop PC segments as well as a workload analysis of applications in the enterprise space. Detailed revenue, unit and price forecasts are provided for all segments.


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