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Wednesday, 08 February 2017 09:23

WD/Toshiba - 512 gigabit, 64-layer, 3D NAND chip


Western Digital has announced pilot production of a 512Gb, three-bit per cell (X3), 64-layer, 3D NAND (BICS 3D) chip from its production partner Toshiba’s Yokkaichi plant in Japan.

What it means is that 64GB will be possible on a single chip with increased speed, and lower power consumption. This chip can be used in storage so expect to see devices up the base level to at least 64GB in 2018.

Western Digital claims it is a world first with BCIS (Bit Cost Scaling) technology but Samsung announced its 512Gb, 64 layer, 3D V-NAND (vertical) in August last year. It may be a race to see who can bring on commercial production first as both will provide the same capacity in the same die size.

Dr. Siva Sivaram, executive vice-president, memory technology, Western Digital, said, “The launch of the industry’s first 512Gb 64-layer 3D NAND chip is another important stride forward in the advancement of our 3D NAND technology, doubling the density from when we introduced the world’s first 64-layer architecture in July 2016.

"This is a great addition to our rapidly broadening 3D NAND technology portfolio. It positions us well to continue addressing the increasing demand for storage due to rapid data growth across a wide range of customer retail, mobile, and data centre applications.”

As with all new technology, it will be interesting to see how reliability and performance metrics measure up. And more interesting is speculation on what is next – 100 layer has been mooted for 2018.

What it does mean is that there is more capacity for the same manufacturing price – research, development and die costs will need to be amortised over the production but all that means is that older, lower density NAND will get cheaper and flow onto SSDs where space utilisation is not critical.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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