Samsung Begins Production of 100+ Layer Sixth-Generation V-NAND Flash
Samsung Begins Production of 250 GB SATA SSD Based on New 6ᵗʰ-Generation V-NAND With Higher Capacity SSD and eUFS Products to Follow.
While Samsung continues to push its current fifth-generation 3D V-NAND flash to its limits with products like the PM1733, the company is not resting on its laurels with production of a 250 GB SATA solid state drive based on next generation sixth-generation V-NAND starting now. Samsung has pulled off an impressive feat with its 6th-Generation V-NAND using more than 100 layers to offer 256 Gb (TLC) dies that are faster, use less power, and are cheaper to produce than its previous generation V-NAND flash.
Samsung has reportedly managed to achieve 100+ layer 3-bit V-NAND using a 136-layer electrically conductive mold stack and punching cylindrical holes through the layers using its “channel hole etching” technology evenly across the stack to create uniform charge trap flash (CTF) cells. Interestingly, sixth generation V-NAND adds 40% more cells to the previous generation V-NAND (9x layer) while also reducing the number of channel holes needed to create a 256 Gb die to 670 million from over 930 million (previously) resulting in smaller chip sizes and fewer manufacturing steps. (According to Samsung this works out to a 20+% increase in manufacturing productivity.)
In addition to the manufacturing efficiency improvements, this new V-NAND also offers up 10% performance improvements while using 15% less power. It does not stop at a mere 100+ layers though as Samsung claims to be able to stack three of these stacks together to create future V-NAND solutions with 300+ layers without sacrificing chip performance or reliability.
Currently, Samsung is manufacturing 256 Gb dies based on this 100+ layer V-NAND and they will be used in a 250 GB SATA SSD that recently entered mass production and should be available soon. As production of 256 Gb dies ramps up, Samsung is slated to begin production of 512 Gb TLC V-NAND dies for use in eUFS and SSD products in the second half of this year. Further, Samsung plans to expand production of V6 V-NAND at its Pyeongtaek, South Korea campus next year.
There is no word on whether V6 will follow the same pattern as V5 V-NAND with Samsung building up to 1 Tb dies and both TLC and QLC options, but I think we will see them explored at some point in the future. Right now Samsung is aiming for the data center market with enterprise SSDs and the mobile and automotive markets with eUFS storage solutions respectively and the new generation of V-NAND should give Samsung several advantages versus the competition (e.g. BiCS and Micron 3D NAND both currently top out at 96-layers although 128-layer BiCS-5 is coming from Toshiba/Western Digital and Micron is working on 128-layer fourth-generation 3D NAND continuing along the path set by IMFT with CMOS under array and novel gate methods without Intel’s input post breakup hence why Samsung isn’t standing still and, in fact, accelerating their development cycles in recent times) in those areas as well as eventually traditional consumer 2.5” and M.2 form factor SSDs.
I am looking forward to seeing where Samsung is able to take V-NAND as they continue to press onward (upwards, actually) and push the limits of 3D stacking and storage density.
"By bringing cutting-edge 3D memory technology to volume production, we are able to introduce timely memory lineups that significantly raise the bar for speed and power efficiency,” said Kye Hyun Kyung, executive vice president of Solution Product & Development at Samsung Electronics. “With faster development cycles for next-generation V-NAND products, we plan to rapidly expand the markets for our high-speed, high-capacity 512Gb V-NAND-based solutions.”