Samsung Gets Ready To Blitz SSD Market With 64-Layer V-NAND Memory For Faster And Cheaper Storage

The memory chip wars are heating up. Just four months ago, Western Digital kicked off pilot production of the industry's first 64-layer 512-gigabyte (Gb) 3D NAND flash memory. While it will take some time to reach mass production status, that's exactly where Samsung is now at with its 64-layer 256Gb Vertical NAND (V-NAND) chips, which were an industry-first back in January.

Volume production of 64-layer 256Gb V-NAND flash memory means more availability for high-performance storage solutions in multiple categories, including server, consumer PC, and even mobile. Samsung says it has been working with on a wide range of solutions itself, including embedded UFS memory, branded solid state drives (SSDs), and external memory cards, all of which it plans to introduce by the end of 2017.

Samsung Storage

"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."

Samsung intends for its volume production of 64-layer V-NAND chips—also referred to as 4th generation V-NAND—to account for more than half of its monthly NAND flash production by year end. In doing so, Samsung is confident that it will maintain a competitive advantage in the NAND flash memory chip market.

The 64-layer 3-bit 256Gb V-NAND on display here features a data transfer speed of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps). That is the fastest among all currently available NAND flash memory. It also has the shortest page program time (tPROG) of 500 microseconds—that is about four times faster than a typical 10-nanometer class planar NAND flash memory chip, and 1.5 times faster than Samsung's own 48-layer 3-bit 256Gb V-NAND flash memory.

There are power efficiency gains to be had as well. That does not mean much for consumers, but in enterprise settings where thousands of drives might be deployed, the power savings add up.

What all this ultimately means for consumers is faster SSDs on the horizons, along with other products that use NAND flash memory chips. Volume production should also lead to lower pricing for performance products, though that will depend on the market at large—NAND flash memory chip pricing is somewhat volatile.