Samsung: it’s virtually impossible to wear out a flash chip
You might have heard some concerns that have been circulating around regarding the reliability of flash drives – particularly how they wear out after a few hundred thousand write cycles. Some were led to believe that flash drives aren’t as reliable as they would wish, as it might wear out long before they get their money’s worth. But typically, this isn’t the case, as Samsung explains. Find out why in the full article.
Some concerns about flash drives circulated some time ago about how they wear out after a few hundred thousand write cycles. Those of us who use our flash drives often on our various gadgetries know that this isn’t that huge of a number.
Because of these concerns, some have been led to believe that their flash drives weren’t as reliable as they would have wanted, as they might wear out long before they expected it to. But this isn’t the case, as Samsung points out.
Michael Yang, flash marketing manager at Samsung, explains that a flash device that is rated at 100,000 write cycles doesn’t mean it wears out after as many uses. It means it can write 100,000 times “to every single (memory) cell within the device.”
Essentially, the flash drive doesn’t write memory on the same cell over and over again. Rather, it spreads out the data to be written over many different cells. This makes it “virtually impossible” to wear out a flash chip.
Yang gives an example: if you take a 64 GB SSD card, completely fill it with data, format it and then repeat the same thing over and over every hour for years on end, this still will not reach the card’s threshold.
Yang adds that if a failure occurs, it will occur in the controller of the device, rather than the chip. The device’s controller is the one that dictates “wear leveling,” which spreads out the data over the flash drive.
When Yang was defending flash drives, he was talking specifically about solid-state drives (SSD), but perhaps the same principle could be applied to other devices to that use flash chips, like SD cards which we use for mobile phones and the PSP.
Via CNet Blogs