Breakthrough dramatically increases MLC SSD reliablity

A researcher from Japan’s Chuo University has demonstrated a technology that reduces bit error rates on MLC SSDs by 32 times compared to traditional techniques. The technology does not alter the drive physically but uses algorithms in the SSD controller to recover physical errors.

Breakthrough dramatically increases MLC SSD reliablity

There are several elements in the new technology that enhance the reliability. One element is a method that can be compared to RAID where data is mirrored on the SSD and where additional parity data is stored. Another element is an improved way of storing previously marked bad cells. All methods combined it should reduce the bit error rate of 2x nm MLC NAND by 91%.

Multi Level Cell (MLC) NAND is used on most consumer SSD drives and is more prone to errors than the more expensive Single Level Cell (SLC) NAND memory, mainly used in enterprise drives. MLC NAND is about 6-7 times cheaper because stores more data per cell which is also the reason why it’s more vulnerable to errors. SSD manufacturers are trying to find ways to make NAND memory cheaper and more reliable.

Especially in the enterprise market there is a lot to gain, if MLC NAND would be as reliable as SLC NAND it would bring down the prices of enterprise drives dramatically. At the same time more reliable MLC NAND based drives are good news to consumers.