SSD breakthrough means 300% speed boost, 60% less power usage... even on old drives

A breakthrough has been made in SSD technology that could mean drastic performance increases due to the overcoming of one of the major issues in the memory type. Currently, data cannot be directly overwritten onto the NAND chips used in the devices. Files must be written to a clean area of the drive whilst the old area is formatted. This eventually causes fragmented data and lowers the drive's life and performance over time.

However, a Japanese team at Chuo University have finally overcome the issue that is as old as the technology itself. Officially unveiled at the 2014 IEEE International Memory Workshop in Taipei, the researchers have written a brand new middleware for the drives that controls how the data is written to and stored on the device. Their new version utilizes what they call a 'logical block address scrambler' which effectively prevents data being written to a new 'page' on the device unless it is absolutely required. Instead, it is placed in a block to be erased and consolidated in the next sweep. This means significantly less behind-the-scenes file copying that results in increased performance from idle, during intensive jobs and a longer lifetime for the drive as SSDs have a finite number of possible write operations.

In tests, drives using the technology wrote data 55% less often than drives without and performance increases of up to 300% were noted. This could enable high-end devices to easily reach transfer speeds of 1.5GB/s as current models achieve around 500MB/s typically; 60% less power was also used in the lab tests due to the lack of additional drive writes.

If you are reading this on a computer booting from an SSD and are thinking of splashing out on one of these next-generation models equipped with new NAND chips then perhaps you should wait a moment. The changes made by the team were purely software-based. There is definitely a possibility that existing devices still in support by their manufacturers may get firmware updates in the near future so that they store data in the new manner and  benefit from the increased speed, decreased power consumption and increased expected life of drives equipped with the new NAND controller firmware. 

Source: Pocket-lint | Image via Intel

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