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The Great SSD Flash Shortage of 2013 - EOL 25nm, the pain and the future

By: Chris Ramseyer | Editorials in Storage | Posted: Jun 26, 2013 11:20 pm

IMFT Customers Look to Flash Forward




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The image above is from a review published by Hot Hardware on June 21, 2013. It shows an ADATA XPG SX900 256GB SSD with SanDisk 19nm Toggle Mode flash. On the surface, nothing in this image should surprise anyone. The SX900 is one of ADATA's high-performance products designed for gamers and power users. Seeing an LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller with the new B02 stepping paired with SanDisk flash is a good combination.


When the SX900 first launched a year ago it shipped with Micron NAND flash. The drive was later revised with Micron NAND purchased at the wafer level and packaged by ADATA. Packaging flash is a good way to reduce costs and ADATA has done it for their own and other companies' products for quite some time now. For ADATA to go back to using 'off-the-shelf' flash and invest in a radical change to the BOM, ONFi to Toggle, tells us a lot about the current state of 20nm flash from IMFT.




I receive emails nearly daily from shoppers trying to purchase Crucial M500 960GB SSDs. Newegg doesn't have stock at the time of writing and given the extremely low user reviews posted for this product, I'd say they've never had a steady flow of M500 in either 960GB or 480GB drives. Even, Crucial's own web store is 960GB-less. When you try to purchase this product SKU shoppers are met with the following message.


We are sorry, but the product you selected is temporarily out of stock. However, we are constantly replenishing our inventory and there's a good chance that this product will become available soon. Check back often to see when the product you selected is available, or make your purchase today by returning to the previous page and selecting a comparable product.



... and Hynix




Last month we talked about Corsair moving the base Neutron from 25nm IMFT flash to new Hynix 22nm flash. We rarely see SKHynix NAND in consumer SSDs. I can count the number of SSDs I've held with Hynix flash on one hand and I test more than my fair share. I would estimate TweakTown reviews roughly 80% of the consumer SSD SKUs released worldwide, around 80 products in 2012 published and many more in private tests.


The evidence leads us to believe that IMFT has yield issues with the new 20nm process or that the demand is so high, existing partners who once purchased in bulk simply can't get enough flash from the company to support demand.

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