Flash memory chips suffer from long-term reliability issues, this being one of the main reasons why HDDs are still the main storage solution for data backup and archiving.
For those who want numbers, flash memory normally lasts for 10,000 write cycles. The TRIM command in Windows helps, but not overmuch.
The staff at Macronix believe, according to the BBC
, they have solved the problem though. Heat “healing” can supposedly extend the lifespan to 100 million cycles.
The chips were redesigned with built-in heaters, which would jolt the material with 800 degree Celsius heat blasts on a regular basis. The jolts only lasted a few milliseconds, but they fully restored damaged portions of the chip.
It will take months to test, but Macronix believes the real potential is for billions of write cycles.
Most importantly, there is no fire risk, since the power used to produce the jolts is small, and the heat only lasts for a very short time.
There is no way to tell how long it will take for self-healing chips to make it to market.