SLC NAND: Secrets Exposed

Single Level Cell (SLC) NAND flash is no longer the stuff of headlines. Consumer markets are chasing the latest nodes and densities in Multi Level Cell (MLC), Tri-Level Cell (TLC), or the up and coming 3D NAND memories, leaving SLC NAND to the smaller “high reliability” market. However, in the world of embedded systems where product life cycles are measured in decades rather than years, SLC NAND is still in heavy use. Despite continued use in applications requiring long life or high-reliability solutions, NAND manufacturers have quietly made changes to their SLC NAND offerings that have slowly decreased the endurance of SLC NAND.
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Write Endurance to Write Home About

Radiation tolerance, power efficiency, and fast write performance also characterize F-RAM non-volatile storage technology.

Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (F-RAM) is a non-volatile storage technology that offers low power, fast write performance, and a greater write endurance when compared to EEPROM or flash technologies. For example, the write endurance of F-RAM from Cypress Semiconductor is 10^14 (100 trillion) write cycles. Presuming the device takes 4 ms to rewrite every cell, it would take a minimum of 126 years for a failure to occur. However, EEPROM and NOR Flash have write endurance of just 10^6 (1 million) write cycles. Additionally, F-RAM data retention is very robust, supporting a minimum of 10 years, and more than 121 years of data retention at + 85 °C, depending on the individual product.

Figure 1: Technologic Systems is now offering single board computers with an added Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (F-RAM) from Cypress Semiconductor.
Figure 1: Technologic Systems is now offering single board computers with an added Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (F-RAM) from Cypress Semiconductor.

The high-speed nature of the device combined with its non-volatility and data retention makes this memory device useful in many applications. The F-RAM used in Technologic Systems’ products is an AT25 compatible SPI device. The TS-7553-V2 board support package implements the F-RAM as an extra EEPROM-like memory and presents the whole device as a flat file.

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