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Encyclopedia > Open NAND Flash Interface Working Group

The Open NAND Flash Interface Working Group, or ONFI, is a consortium of technology companies working to develop open standards for NAND flash memory chips and devices that communicate with them. The formation of ONFI was announced at the Intel Developer Forum in March 2006. A consortium is an association of two or more individuals, companies, organisations or governments (or any combination of these entities) with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling their resources for achieving a common goal. ... Open standards are publicly available specifications for achieving a specific task. ... A USB Flash Memory Device Flash memory is a form of EEPROM (Electrically-Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) that allows multiple memory locations to be erased or written in one programming operation. ... A USB flash drive. ... Intel Developer Forum (IDF), is a twice yearly gathering of technologists to discuss Intel products and products based around Intel products. ...


The group's goals notably do not include the development of a new consumer flash memory card format.[1] Rather, ONFI seeks to standardize the low-level interface to raw NAND flash chips, which are the most widely used form of non-volatile memory (computer) integrated circuits today; in 2006, nearly one trillion MiB of flash memory was incorporated into consumer electronics, and production is expected to double in 2007.[2] Four major types of memory cards (from left to right: CompactFlash, Memory Stick, Secure Digital, and xD. A memory card or flash memory card is a solid-state electronic flash memory data storage device used with digital cameras, handheld and laptop computers, telephones, music players, video game consoles, and other... Non-Volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM) is a computer memory chip which will not lose its information when the power is lost. ... The terms storage (U.K.) or memory (U.S.) refer to the parts of a digital computer that retain physical state (data) for some interval of time, possibly even after electrical power to the computer is turned off. ... Integrated circuit showing memory blocks, logic and input/output pads around the periphery Microchips with a transparent window, showing the integrated circuit inside. ... The three-letter acronym MIB may refer to any of several concepts: Management information base, a computing information repository used (for example) by SNMP In marbles, any marble, but esp. ...

Contents

Motivation

As of 2006, NAND flash memory chips from most vendors use similar packaging, have similar pinouts, and accept similar sets of low-level commands. As a result, when more capable and inexpensive models of NAND flash become available, product designers can incorporate them without major design changes. However, "similar" operation is not optimal:[3] subtle differences in timing and command set mean that products must be thoroughly debugged and tested when a new model of flash chip is used in them.[2] When a product is expected to operate with various NAND flash chips, it must store a table of them in its firmware so that it knows how to deal with differences in their interfaces.[2][3] This increases the complexity and time-to-market of flash-based devices, and means they are likely to be incompatible with future models of NAND flash, unless and until their firmware is updated. 2006 is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Pinout is a term used in electronics to describe how an electrical connector is wired. ... Debugging is a methodical process of finding and reducing the number of bugs, or defects, in a computer program or a piece of electronic hardware thus making it behave as expected. ... In computing, firmware is software that is embedded in a hardware device. ... In commerce, the time to market (TTM) is the length of time it takes from a product being conceived to its being available for sale. ...


Thus, one of the main motivations for standardization of NAND flash is to make it easier to switch between NAND chips from different producers, thereby permitting faster development of NAND-based products and lower prices via increased competition among manufacturers. As of 2006, NAND flash is increasingly a commodity product,[4] like SDRAM or 3.5" hard disk drives. It is incorporated into many personal computer and consumer electronics products such as USB flash drivess, MP3 players, and solid state hard disks. Product designers would like 2 GiB and 4 GiB NAND flash chips, for example, to be as easily interchangeable as 60 GiB and 80 GiB 3.5" hard disks from different manufacturers.[4] Competition is the act of striving against another force for the purpose of achieving dominance or attaining a reward or goal, or out of a biological imperative such as survival. ... 2006 is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Commodity is a term that refers to goods that are mined or agriculturally produced. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Typical hard drives of the mid-1990s. ... A USB drive, shown with a 24 mm US quarter coin for scale. ... A digital audio player (DAP) is a device that stores, organizes and plays digital music files. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Historical similarities

The effort to standardize NAND flash may be compared to earlier standardization of electronic components. For example, the 7400 series of TTL digital integrated circuits were originally produced by Texas Instruments, but had become a de facto standard family by the late 1970s. These ICs are manufactured as commodity parts by a number of different vendors. This has allowed designers to freely mix 7400 components from different vendors—and even to mix components based on different logic families, once the 74HCT sub-family become available (consisting of CMOS components with TTL-compatible logic levels). An electronic component is a basic electronic building block packaged in a discrete form with two or more connecting leads or metallic pads. ... The 7400 series of TTL integrated circuit SSI devices were historically important as the first widespread family of IC devices. ... TTL is an elite band of men and boys that originate, live or are involved in the tadley bmx scene. ... An integrated circuit (IC) is a thin chip consisting of at least two interconnected semiconductor devices, mainly transistors, as well as passive components like resistors. ... Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN), better known in the electronics industry (and popularly) as TI, is an American company based in Dallas, Texas, USA, renowned for developing and commercializing semiconductor and computer technology. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Static CMOS Inverter Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) (see-moss, IPA: ), is a major class of integrated circuits. ... TTL is an elite band of men and boys that originate, live or are involved in the tadley bmx scene. ...


Members

The ONFI consortium is led by several prominent manufacturers of NAND flash memory:

Samsung, the world's largest manufacturer of NAND flash, is notably absent from the ONFI consortium.[5] Hynix Semiconductor Inc. ... Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC, SEHK: 4335), founded in 1968 as Integrated Electronics Corporation, is an American multinational corporation that is best known for designing and manufacturing microprocessors and specialized integrated circuits. ... Micron Technology (Micron) NYSE: MU is a multinational company based in Boise, Idaho best known for producing many forms of semiconductor memory. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... STMicroelectronics is an international leading supplier of semiconductors. ... Samsung Group is one of the largest South Korean business groupings. ...


A number of major vendors of NAND flash-based consumer electronics and computing products are also members of ONFI (see below for the current list of members).


ONFI standard

ONFI has produced a specification for a standard interface to NAND flash chips. Version 1.0 of this specification was released on December 28, 2007, and is available at no cost from the ONFI web site (see below). It specifies: A specification is an explicit set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product, or service. ...

  • a standard physical interface (pinout) for NAND flash in TSOP-48, WSOP-48, LGA-52, and BGA-63 packages
  • a standard mechanism for NAND chips to identify themselves and describe their capabilities (comparable to the Serial Presence Detection feature of SDRAM chips)
  • a standard command set for reading, writing, and erasing NAND flash
  • standard timing requirements for NAND flash
  • improved performance via a standard implementation of read cache and increased concurrency for NAND flash operations
  • improved data integrity by allowing optional ECC memory features

Pinout is a term used in electronics to describe how an electrical connector is wired. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The land grid array (LGA) is a physical interface for microprocessors of the Intel Pentium 4 family. ... For the Bulgarian Go Association, see Bulgarian Go Association. ... Integrated circuit showing memory blocks, logic and input/output pads around the periphery Microchips with a transparent window, showing the integrated circuit inside. ... Serial Presence Detect (SPD) refers to a standardized way to access manufacturer information from a computer memory module. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Look up cache in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Concurrency has several meanings: Concurrent programming, also known as parallel programming. ... It has been suggested that Error-correcting code be merged into this article or section. ...

See also

A USB flash drive. ...

External links

  • Official site
  • List of ONFI member companies
  • Version 1.0 of the official ONFI specification

News articles:

  • Article from Dr. Dobb's Journal: "Simplify Your Flash-Memory Interface" (September 25, 2006)
  • Article from The Register's hardware division: "Vendors pledge to make Flash as easy to upgrade as RAM" (January 22, 2007)
  • Article from The Register's hardware division: "Intel primes Flash standardisation push"

Dr. Dobbs Journal of Computer Calisthenics & Orthodontia with the subtitle Running Light without Overbyte was the full title of the pioneer microcomputer hobbyist newsletter published from early 1976 by Bob Albrecht and Dennis Allisons Peoples Computer Company. ... Current logo of The Register. ... Current logo of The Register. ...

References

  1. ^ See ONFI's official Question & Answer page.
  2. ^ a b c See this presentation by Amber Huffman of Intel.
  3. ^ a b See section "The Curse of Similarity" in this white paper by Arun Kamat of Hynix: "Simplifying Flash Controller Design".
  4. ^ a b See this presentation by Amber Huffman and Michael Abraham of Micron.
  5. ^ See this article from The Register's hardware division: "Intel primes Flash standardisation push"

 
 

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