Micro Digital adds MLC NAND flash support
MLC has many limitations and is more difficult to support than SLC, so many existing flash drivers cannot be upgraded to support it, but this was possible for smxNAND
Costa Mesa, California, January 16, 2009 - Micro Digital Inc. is pleased to announce that it has added MLC (Multi-Level Cell) support to its smxNAND flash driver. This driver previously supported only SLC (Single-Level Cell) flash. MLC technology is being used in flash chip sizes of 4 Gb (gigabits) and up, whereas the older SLC technology is used in smaller flash chips. Since memory requirements continue to increase, it has become important to support MLC technology for embedded systems.
Unfortunately, MLC has many limitations and is more difficult to support than SLC, so many existing flash drivers cannot be upgraded to support it. Fortunately, this was possible for smxNAND. Since MLC has much higher error rates than SLC, it requires a 4-bit, or better, ECC (Error Correction Code) vs. a 1-bit ECC for SLC. Attempting to generate a 4-bit ECC via software results in extreme performance degradation and heavy processor loading. Therefore, hardware assistance is needed. Some processors include a hardware MLC controller with built-in ECC. smxNAND supports such flash controllers. Micro Digital has written a brief white paper on MLC restrictions; it can be freely downloaded from www.smxrtos.com/articles.
The smxNAND driver works with both the smxFS FAT file system and the smxFFS flash file system. The former is Windows-compatible and also supports removable media such as SD cards and USB thumb drives. Windows compatibility permits exchanging these with Windows PCs and other compatible units. The smxFFS file system is simpler, lower cost, and power fail-safe. It was designed with flash media in mind, so performance and flash wear are better.
Pricing and Availability
smxNAND is available now. The price for a single-product, royalty-free license is $5,000 for SLC and $7,500 for MLC.
About Micro Digital
Micro Digital, Inc. has been in the embedded systems business for over 30 years and has been producing and selling embedded software products for 20 years. The company is dedicated to providing quality products and support for embedded systems at moderate prices. Visit www.smxrtos.com