TOSHIBA AND SANDISK have announced the start of production of the world's first 48-layer Bit Cost Scalable (BiCS) flash memory chip, or 3D NAND as it is usually called.
BiCS is said to improve density and significantly reduce the overall size of the chip, and uses a 'charge trap' that stops electrons leaking between layers, improving the reliability of the product.
Toshiba is already using 15nm dies so, despite the layering, the finished product will be competitively thin and expected to find its way into the usual suspects, including consumer and enterprise SSD drives, smartphones, tablets and memory cards.
"This is the world's first 256Gbit X3 (triple level cell) chip, developed using our industry-leading 48-layer BiCS technology and demonstrating SanDisk's continued leadership in X3 technology. We will use this chip to deliver compelling storage solutions for our customers," said SanDisk EVP for memory technology, Dr Siva Sivaram.
Toshiba and SanDisk's announcement comes just a week after Intel showed off a joint project with Micron that has developed a new category of non-volatile memory technology that they claim is a "revolutionary breakthrough" in the industry.
The 3D XPoint technology is described as faster and denser than any other class of memory, and 1,000 times faster than the NAND architecture featured in most flash memory cards and SSDs.
The technology comprises a transistor-less cross point architecture, hence the name. This creates a 3D checkerboard where memory cells sit at the intersection of word lines and bit lines, allowing the cells to be addressed individually.
It means that the data can be written and read in small sizes, leading to faster and more efficient read/write processes.
Samsung has been working on its own 3D stacked memory for some time and has released a number of iterations. Production began last May, following a 10-year research cycle. µ
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