JMicron to Showcase Low Cost JMF612 NAND Flash Controller
Taiwan based chip manufacturer JMicron is reportedly getting ready to launch a new NAND flash controller designed for SSDs. The new chip is expected to bring down the manufacturing costs and subsequently, retail prices of SSDs.
JMicron’s current NAND flash controller – the JMF602 has been stuttering during random write operations, making SSD performance uncertain. While the manufacturer did put out an updated version in the JM602B, it was without much success. For better performance on their SSDs, many manufacturers had to resort to clubbing two JMF602 chips with an internal RAID chip, which increased their production costs substantially.
With the new JMF612 chip, JMicron is hoping to redeem itself. Armed with an ARM9 core in a 289-ball TFBGA package, the chip is designed around small process geometries. The ARM9 embedded processor features 32KB of ROM and 128KB of RAM. Designed for a new generation of NAND flash chips, the JMF612 is compatible with up to 256MB of DDR or DDR2 DRAM external cache.
The JMF612 also has support for Native Command Queuing (NCQ), which enhances the performance of SATA hard disks by internally optimising the sequence of read and write commands. 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) protocol support is also included for high security for data stored on SSDs carrying the JMF612.
The USB 2.0 interface on the chip will make it convenient for manufacturers to design both SATA II and USB based SSDs. The JMF612 will also extend the lifespan of SSDs through its dynamic and static wear levelling technology and updated bad block management software.
Owing to their new design geometries, the new chips are not just smaller, but also cheaper and easier to manufacture. With 32nm NAND flash chips already in the manufacturing phase with several companies, the combination of JMF612 with these higher density flash chips could bring down the prices of SSDs really quickly to about half of the current ones.
According to JMicron, the new JMF612 could lead to the creation of the first terabyte SSD in the market soon. With mass production expected to start in July, we could see the first affordably priced SSDs based on the JMF612 hit the market before the Christmas season.