I'll take "almost sounds too good to be true" for $100, Alex. A research team from Japan's Chuo University claims to have developed a type of middleware that, in certain cases, can triple the write performance of solid-state drives while simultaneously cutting power consumption and flash wear. TechOn has the scoop on the research, which looks like it could be the real deal.
According to TechOn, the middleware works by curbing data fragmentation, which in turn reduces the amount of overhead caused by garbage collection:
The new method forms a middleware layer called "LBA (logical block address) scrambler" between the file system (OS) and [flash translation layer]. The LBA scrambler works in conjunction with the FTL and converts the logical addresses of data being written to reduce the effect of fragmentation.
Specifically, instead of writing data on a new blank page, data is written on a fragmented page located in the block to be erased next. As a result, the ratio of invalid pages in the block to be erased increases, reducing the number of valid pages that need to be copied to another area at the time of garbage collection.
Along with the tripling of write performance, the team reportedly achieved a 60% drop in power consumption and a 55% reduction in write/erase cycles. Obviously, fewer write/erase cycles should translate into greater drive longevity.
TechOn says the Japanese team's middleware could work on existing drives, since it requires no changes to the hardware. The middleware is said to be a "more versatile" version of an earlier concept that was aimed at database applications. A "wider variety of applications" stand to benefit from this latest version, TechOn says.