DigiTimes reports that U.S.-based Marvell Technology recently made an investment in Taiwan-based SSD maker Memoright. This investment will be the foundation for an alliance between the two companies that combines Marvell's SSD controller ICs with Memoright's firmware technology. Marvell currently provides controllers for Corsair, Crucial, OCZ and other SSD makers.
According to the report, Marvell and U.S.-based LSI are the two largest SSD controller IC vendors, earning a combined global market share of at least 70-percent. However LSI provides controllers packed with firmware whereas Marvell controllers require the SSD manufacturer to supply their own custom firmware. This has become a bottleneck for Marvell, as many SSD manufacturers are incapable of writing their own firmware.
That said, the deal with Memoright should open the doors to a wider market for Marvell once it begins promoting controllers with pre-installed firmware. Sources claim that in addition to SSDs, Marvell will also have Memoright develop firmware for its eMMC controller ICs that will be used in smartphones and tablets.
Back in November, Memoright revealed a new line of MLC-based SSDs that supposedly has four times the average lifespan, the QuadLife Series. This series includes Memoright's Endurance Write firmware architecture which supposedly extends the lifespan of MLC flash to over 20,000 write-erase cycles instead of the typical 3,000 to 5,000 PE cycles.
"All [QuadLife SSDs] are equipped with our internally developed Endurance Write firmware architecture with exclusively patented technology and algorithms to take full advantage of flash memory write blocks," the company said. "In other words, the effective life of QuadLife Series SSDs has been extended to four times or more of ordinary MLC-based SSDs."
The DigiTimes source points out that Taiwan-based SSD controller IC design companies include Phison Electronics, JMicron Technology and Silicon Motion Technology. Phison supplies controllers for several Ultrabook vendors while JMicron focuses on SSDs for industrial applications.