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Whether a flash storage medium is suitable for the intended use case can be determined in advance using the data sheet. Depending on the manufacturer, however, different test methods are used, which means that the resulting values are not always easy to compare with products from other manufacturers.
The typical methods, programs and terms that are used for such measurements are explained in this TechNote to provide a way to better compare the characteristics of different SSDs and match them with the intended use.
NAND Flash Endurance Testing
Typical application scenarios for NAND flash memory assume a service life of 3–5 years and in some cases even significantly longer. The flash type to be used (SLC, pSLC, MLC, TLC, QLC) is selected accordingly, which has the necessary endurance, i. e. the lifespan measured in erase and programming cycles.
If the specified endurance is to be checked as part of the qualification of a NAND flash memory for a project, the rate of aging has a significant influence on the result.
The presence of factory bad blocks in NAND flash is as much a technology reason as the occurrence of additional bad blocks during the lifetime.
Both are no (negative) quality indications.
However, with the occurrence of bad blocks during the lifetime, the correct handling of these events by the firmware is critical in order not to lose the new data as well as the already stored data of such blocks.
To compare speed specifications in data sheets of NAND flash memory media, the test conditions must be identical. If the measurement was not started repeatedly or did not cover the entire logical address space, the specified speed can be significantly higher than the real achievable speed.
Bad blocks on NAND flash and the impact on storage reliability.
Unlike hard drives or NOR flash, NAND flash does not have a fixed mapping of logical memory addresses to physical memory addresses.
The assignment takes place via mapping tables, which are managed by the firmware of the storage medium.
ENDURANCE - WAF
When it comes to the endurance of NAND Flash products, the Write Amplification Factor plays an important role in maximizing a products usable life.