Samsung takes the lead in the race to create 3-bit-per-cell 64 gigabit NAND flash chips. As you may recall, Intel and Micron announced in August their own 64 gigabit 3-bit-per-cell chip with 25 nanometer flash technology, but this partnership has been silent on beginning actual manufacturing. Now, competitor Samsung is forging ahead in its efforts by starting mass production of the high-tech chips.
A vice president at Samsung Electronics says, “By now entering into full production of 20nm-class 64Gb 3-bit devices, we expect to accelerate adoption of our high-performance NAND solutions that use Toggle DDR technology, for applications that also require high-density NAND.”
While Samsung will not reveal specific lithography sizes, it is within the 20 to 29 nanometer range. According to PC World, the flash circuitry in a 25 nanometer NAND chip measures 3,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair.
Samsung intends to use these 64 gigabit NAND chips in memory cards and USB flash drives. Due to the implementation of the 3-bit-per-cell technology, the chip is denser with twice as many bits as previous NAND counterparts and that microscopic circuitry is 14 percent smaller. To put that into perspective, it takes a 4 gigabyte device and increases its capacity to 8 gigabytes and can do so all the way up to a maximum density of 64 gigabytes.
The Toggle DDR technology mentioned by the Samsung executive is three times faster than comparable current technology, handling up to 133 Mbps of throughput per chip. It uses less voltage and therefore less energy.
The 3-bit NAND for USB drives and memory cards may also save Samsung in more ways than one. Since the 64 Gbit chips make up 8 GB flash dies for larger products, Samsung will have to make fewer chips because of their high density and therefore lower overall production costs. These less expensive costs will invariably trickle down to you the consumer to bring out a more affordable product.
An added boost for this multi-level cell technology is refined wear-leveling software in controllers, which will enhance the flash product’s performance.
Samsung is a global multi-billion dollar digital technology leader specializing in flash memory, television and mobile phones.
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