Samsung Increases 64-Layer V-NAND Production

Going into Computex 2017, we reported that Samsung would begin producing 64-layer V-NAND for storage devices in the very near future. Today the company released a statement to say the production lines are moving and new products are on the horizon.

The new 64-layer die features a capacity of 256Gb, the same as the 48-layer flash it replaces. The new die takes up less space on the wafer and allows Samsung to increase the bit output. Samsung expects 64-layer die to cover more than 50% of its monthly NAND flash production by the end of the year.

“Following a long commitment to innovative technology, we will continuously push the limits of generations of industry-first V-NAND production, in moving the industry closer to the advent of the terabit V-NAND era,” said Kye Hyun Kyung, Executive Vice President of the Flash Product and Technology team, Memory Business at Samsung Electronics. “We will keep developing next-generation V-NAND products in sync with the global IT industry so that we can contribute to the timeliest launches of new systems and services, in bringing a higher level of satisfaction to consumers.”

It shouldn't surprise anyone that 4th generation V-NAND is the fastest NAND of all flash memory available today. Samsung says the new technology is capable of up to 1Gbps and has the shortest program time, 500 microseconds, among NAND flash. That's close to four times faster than the typical 10-nanometer class planar NAND and 1.5 times faster than Samsung's 48-layer V-NAND technology. Samsung expects a 30% productivity gain compared to the previous generation technology.

Samsung also expects a 30% gain in energy efficiency. The new 64-layer die uses an input voltage of 2.5V. That's down 30% from the previous generation, which used 3.3V. Samsung also claims the new die increases reliability by 20% from material changes to the inner walls of the charge trap technology.

The press release has an interesting line that contradicts other NAND flash manufactures focused on race to the bottom products.

Samsung expects that the industry will now focus more on the high performance and reliability of memory storage, rather than immerse itself in a chip scaling race.

That's a welcome statement from the flash industry leader. We were worried about the future of high-performance SSDs after hearing from inside sources with experience testing Micron and Toshiba's new 64-layer memory technologies that will only come to consumer products in 3-bit per cell form.

Samsung plans to introduce new embedded UFS memory (tablets, cell phones), branded SSDs, and external memory cards with 64-layer technology in the second half of the year.

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  • dudmont
    I'm wondering if you could add some more info/thoughts, in regards to your article/post lastweek about spinning disks and mlc nand SSDs, as it pertains to Samsung and it's flash. More specifically, whether you think Samsung SSDs, don't fall into the same performance concerns that you discussed.
  • PC-Cobbler
    You're not the only one worried about the future of high-performance SSDs. I won't buy TLC, let alone QLC. Samsung will garner all of the business, both consumer and enterprise, for improved performance and reliability, while Intel, Micron, SK hynix, Toshiba, WDC, and the rest can compete for the bottom feeders.
  • CRamseyer
    I'm not too concerned with Samsung. 3rd Gen V-NAND sits with the other fabs MLC. The new 4th Gen is even faster (as we talked about in this piece). Samsung knows how to handle their business and understands the performance market.

    In contrast look at what we've received from Crucial, Intel, Sk hynix and Toshiba/OCZ over the last couple of years. Other than the RD400 and SSD 750 Series everything else was mainstream at best. Both of those products used MLC and for the most part that's gone going forward.

    Other high-performance MLC products like the MyDigitalSSD BPX (and other Phison E7-based products) used Toshiba planar MLC. That, too, will go away fairly quickly. The E7 isn't compatible with Toshiba BiCS FLASH. E8 is but only uses a PCIe 3.0 x2 connection to the host but is one of the very few quad-core flash processors left.

    Marvell has the 88SS1094 controller but is only proven with Toshiba planar MLC. I've tested it with planar TLC but I wouldn't call it high performance (review coming soon).

    What we're really left with is Samsung's current and next gen products and Optane SSD. I expect both of those to remain expensive even when the other companies start to drop retail prices as we come out of the shortage. The other option is Optane Memory with a HDD. That article will be up shortly. We've had a lot more time to experiment with Optane Memory and it's much better than I first thought.