Increased demand for flash memory has allowed the cost per GB to fall and opened up the market to many smaller manufacturers and distributors. But as the availability of lower cost flash increases so does the amount of counterfeit and low quality flash. For an OEM, being extra vigilant when managing the quality of lower end flash is critical. This will happen at various stages throughout the production process but weeding out the defects at the beginning is far more efficient. You can find a select number of under-the-radar testing centers available to ensure you are providing quality flash in your product while still retaining the higher margin gained from cheaper flash.
These intimate testing centers hook up 20+ computers linked to 8-piece units custom-made for testing flash. With a capacity of 60 units they can churn out at a rate of 15,000 pieces per day for 4GB flash. With this extra QC step you are able to take out 85% of the defects in the initial stage and then later during assembly find the remaining defective 15%. This extra step in an OEM’s arsenal has allowed them to buy at lower cost but still guarantee the quality of their products.
The Rise of Flash
The development of flash memory in the mid ‘80s had a profound impact on the data storage industry. This development offered a critical step forward in storage capability which later became the catalyst for a significant revolution in mobile personal computing devices, including PDAs, mobiles phones, gaming devices and media players. No one could have predicted how big the impact flash memory would have on the technology industry.
NAND flash memory has emerged as the leader in this high-density silicon storage arena. Sales of NAND Flash have been growing year-on-year and are outperforming DRAM as the demand for media tablets and Smartphones continues to increase. NAND flash sales are set to increase 14% annually from 2013-2017, growing to US$53.2 billion at the end of the forecast period while the DRAM market is forecast to grow 9% annually over the same time.