ONFI 3.0 NAND standard promises faster SSDs

Written by Harry Butler

March 16, 2011 // 1:48 p.m.

Tags: #nand #onfi #onfi-30 #ssd

The Open NAND Flash Interface (ONFI) Working Group has just announced the latest ONFI 3.0 NAND Flash standard, which will dictate the specifications and speeds of NAND memory used in future high-performance SSDs

The jump to ONFI 3.0 represents the largest step up in specification for some time, increasing the maximum transfer rate per channel from DDR 200 (200MB/sec) to DDR 400 (400MB/sec). There's also support for lower I/O signalling voltage and on-die termination, which improves signal integrity and enables faster transfer speeds.

Of course, SSDs such as OCZ's Vertex 3 already surpass these speeds, despite using ONFI 2.1 NAND, by addressing multiple NAND channels simultaneously. However, with the further increased bandwidth of ONFI 3.0 NAND, we should be set for yet another huge step forward in SSD performance.

We won't be seeing ONFI 3.0 NAND in SSDs anytime soon, though. The latest SSDs based on SandForce and Marvell controllers are all designed and optimised for ONFI 2.1 and 2.2 NAND, and even the SATA 6Gbps standard itself will begin to cap out at around 700MB/sec. We can't blame the ONFI for being ambitious and forward-thinking, though. After all, SATA isn't the only option.

Are you amazed at the pace at which SSD technology is advancing? Do SSDs really need to be that much faster? Let us know in the forums.
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