SuperMLC

Introduction

Nowadays, a NAND flash can store one, two, or three bits of data per cell. They are respectively called Single-Level Cell (SLC), Multi-Level Cell (MLC), and Triple-Level Cell (TLC). Amongst the three, SLC flash has the best performance, endurance and reliability. However, the cost of SLC is also the highest compared to MLC and TLC.

Note: P/E cycles vary by NAND flash type and manufacturing process node

NAND Types SLC SuperMLC MLC TLC
Bit/cell 1 1 2 3
Performance ★★★★ ★★★ ★★
Endurance
(P/E cycles)
50K 30K 3K <1K
Reliability
(Data retention)
★★★★ ★★★ ★★
Power Consumption Low Low Average Average
Cost $$$$ $$$ $$
Feature Disk lifespan may be more important than cost More affordable than SLC. Better performance than MLC. Widely used in SSDs and most industrial applications Most used in consumer products

Transcend has exclusively developed SuperMLC technology, offering performance almost equivalent to SLC NAND flash. Though the total capacity is reduced, Transcend’s SuperMLC NAND greatly boosts speeds, endurance and reliability at lower prices.

How does SuperMLC work?

Each MLC cell holds 2 bits of data - 00, 01, 10 or 11, while a SLC cell holds just 1 bit - 0 or 1. Between SLC and MLC NAND, Transcend’s exclusive SuperMLC technology adjusts the firmware coding and reprograms the two bits per cell of MLC into one bit per cell, just like SLC NAND. See Figure 1.

Advantages of SuperMLC

With just one bit of data per cell, Transcend’s SuperMLC flash can speed up data access, offering sequential write speed up to twice faster than MLC flash chips. See Figure 2. In addition, SuperMLC flash is more reliable, more fault-tolerant and 10 times more durable than MLC, providing up to 30,000 Program/Erase (P/E) cycles*. SuperMLC increases the lifespan of SSD’s and memory cards, making it ideal for industrial and enterprise usages.
* Varies by testing environment and methods

Endurance Test

The lifespan of a flash memory device is measured by a limited number of P/E cycles. Transcend utilizes an internal endurance test tool to ensure the endurance of its SuperMLC NAND flash. As a result, each SuperMLC flash in SSDs and memory cards can endure an average of 30,000 P/E cycles without any error.

Products Capacity Average P/E Cycles Error Terabytes written
Memory Cards 8GB 30,000 0 130
16GB 30,000 0 260
32GB 30,000 0 520
SSDs 8GB 30,000 0 65
16GB 30,000 0 130
32GB 30,000 0 260
64GB 30,000 0 580
128GB 30,000 0 1420
256GB 30,000 0 2460

Summary

Transcend’s SuperMLC technology is a cost-effective solution that meets the balance between performance, endurance, reliability and price, ideal for industrial and enterprise usage.

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