Serial NAND Flash – Next evolution of SLC NAND

By Aravind Ramamoorthy - 2016-12-15

Single-level cell (SLC) NAND is increasingly the memory of choice for boot and application code storage due to increased density needs and lower cost. Serial NAND Flash with industry standard serial peripheral interface is the next evolution of SLC NAND as it enables small form factor designs without trading off on performance or cost. In this blog, I will be discussing some of the reasons behind why we believe that serial NAND is going to be widely adopted for low density storage in embedded applications.

Boot Performance

Micron’s second generation Serial NAND devices support an industry leading 133Mhz interface with higher read throughput over x8 parallel NAND reducing boot times. In applications that boot from NAND, code is copied from NAND to DRAM during boot and executed from DRAM, so fast read performance is key to reduced boot times.

Read Performance Comparison of Micron’s 2nd generation SPI vs x8 Parallel NAND (click the image to enlarge):

Read Performance Comparison of Micron’s 2nd generation SPI vs x8 Parallel NAND

Small Form Factor

Serial NAND is available in 6x8 U-PDFN package which is 5X smaller than parallel SLC NAND in a TSOP package. Customers can also take advantage of PCB savings due to the ease of connecting 8 signals for serial NAND (quad I/O) vs 23 signals for x8 parallel NAND.

The below image highlights the simplification in routing that serial interfaces introduces in comparison to the parallel interface:

PCB routing
Source: Forward Insights SLC NAND Flash Market Report No. FI-NFL-SLC-1014

Reliable and Secure

IP Set top boxes and OTT devices with small form factor, fan-less designs can expose the flash memory to very high temperatures during operation. This can potentially cause boot failures due to charge loss if the NAND flash is not designed to operate continuously under extreme conditions. As an example, the thermal image below shows temperature reaching >70C in an IP STB under 25C Ambient:

Thermal image

Micron’s new serial NAND supports up to 10 years (uncycled) data retention at 85C allowing customers to use SLC NAND reliably under elevated temperatures. With 100,000 program erase cycles (a first for 2x nm NAND) & security options like permanent block locking, Micron serial NAND flash provides a reliable and secure* solution for embedded applications.

To find out more about Micron’s new serial NAND family please visit our Serial NAND page.

*No hardware, software or system can provide absolute security under all conditions. Micron assumes no liability for lost, stolen or corrupted data arising from the use of any Micron products, including those products that incorporate any of the above security features.

Amit Gattani

Aravind Ramamoorthy