Kioxia and Western Digital Build New 162-layer NAND Flash Memory

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Flash partners Kioxia and Western Digital revealed this week a brand new generation of 3D NAND flash memory that promises to be much faster and far denser than anything they have produced before.

BiCS6 features 162 layers and 70% more bits per wafer than the preceding BiCS5 from a few years ago. That 70% allows for a 40% reduction in NAND chip size, helping to cut manufacturing costs.

All these enhancements have yielded excellent performance results in read and especially writing performance, according to the vendors' announcement. They claimed that with both Circuit Under Array CMOS placement  and four-plane operation, we can expect BiCS6 NAND flash to have a write speed around 2.4x faster than its predecessor. Note that BiCS5 has both a four-plane and dual-plane design, and BiCS6 only uses a four-plane design. 

There is also reportedly a significant uptick in I/O performance with BiCS6 operating at 1600MT/s, compared to BiCS5's 1066 MT/s. This helps keep the tech on par with competing vendors like Micron and SK Hynix, which use 1600 MT/s speeds as well.

This is just an announcement of BiCS6's capabilities, so don't yet know when it'll be produced. But if it's anything like BiCS5, it'll take another year before we see the best SSDs featuring the new technology.

Aaron Klotz
Freelance News Writer

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.