On Wednesday SanDisk said it developed the "world's smallest" 128 gigabit (Gb) NAND flash memory chip which is now in mass production. Built using SanDisk's 19-nm process technology, the chip uses SanDisk’s three-bit per cell (X3) tech that allows the company to build NAND flash memory products with the ability to read and write three bits of information in each memory cell.
So what does this all mean for the general consumer? More storage packed into the same form factors we know and love today like smartphones, tablets and even ultrabooks. The 128 Gb NAND flash memory chip can store 128 billion individual bits of information on a single silicon die 170-mm2 in size.
"At 19-nm, SanDisk is deploying its ninth generation of multi-level cell (MLC) NAND products and fifth generation of X3 technology," the company said in a press release. "This combination of manufacturing and technical expertise helps SanDisk pack more information into each memory cell making it possible to create a smaller, denser NAND flash memory chip."
In addition to the chip's announcement, the company also said it will be presenting a paper at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco on Wednesday that outlines how its patented advanced all bit line (ABL) architecture was used to achieve an X3 write performance of 18 MB/s. The paper will detail how this achievement can be extended to certain product categories that use MLC NAND flash memory.
Products based on the 128 Gb three-bit per cell technology began shipping late last year, but SanDisk is just now starting to ramp into high volume production. The chip itself was developed jointly by teams from SanDisk and Toshiba at SanDisk’s Milpitas campus, led by Yan Li, director of Memory Design at SanDisk.
The team has also developed a derivative 64 Gb, X3 NAND flash memory chip based on the 128 Gb version which is compatible with the microSD format. SandDisk is ramping up the production of this chip as well.