May 22, 2024

3D NAND: Intel and SK Hynix set new standards in area density

Image: micron

The annual International Solid State Conference always reveals the first details about the next generation of NAND flash memory. Intel and SK Hynix are promising memory chips that are said to have area densities in excess of 20Gb/mm² for the first time. The technical implementation is very different.

Higher areal density than Intel PLC NAND (5-bit).

high Media reports Intel introduced a PLC (Penta Level Cell) memory with 5 bits per memory cell at ISSCC 2023, which provides 1.67 TB of storage on an area of ​​73.3 mm². As far as the editors are aware, this results in the highest NAND flash area density to date of 23.3 Gb/mm².

3D NAND Storage Density (green: TLC, orange: QLC, red: PLC, blue: SLC)

    • Intel 192L (PLC, 1.67 TB)

    • SK Hynix V9 > 300 liters (TLC, 1 TB)

    • Kioxia / WD BiCS6 162 liters (QLC, 1 TB)

    • YMTC 232 liters (TLC, 1TB)

    • SK Hynix V7176L (QLC, 1TB)

    • Micron 232L (TLC, 1TB)

    • Intel 144L (QLC, 1TB)

    • Samsung V8 238L (TLC, 1 TB)

    • SK Hynix V8 238L (TLC, 1TB)

    • SK Hynix V7176L (TLC, 512 GB)

    • Kioxia / WD BiCS6 162 liters (TLC, 1 TB)

    • Intel / Micron 96L (QLC, 1 TB)

    • Kioxia / WD BiCS4 96L (QLC, 1.33TB)

    • Samsung V7176L (TLC, 512 GB)

    • YMTC 128L (TLC, 512GB)

    • SK Hynix V5 96L (QLC, 1TB)

    • Kioxia / WD BiCS5 128 L (TLC, 512 GB)

    • SK Hynix V6128L (TLC, 512 GB)

    • Samsung V5 92L (QLC, 1 TB)

    • Intel / Micron 96L (TLC, 512 GB)

    • Kioxia / WD BiCS4 96L (TLC, 512GB)

    • Samsung V6 128L (TLC, 512 GB)

    • Samsung Z-NAND 48L (SLC, 64 GB)

    • Intel / Micron 3D XPoint (SLC, 128 GB)

See also  Quick settings add Google Pay, controls, and performance

Unit: gigabit per mm²

As before, Intel relies on a floating gate architecture and now stacks 192 cell layers (layers) on top of each other. Although the group simultaneously sold its flash and SSD division to SK Hynix, from which Solidigm emerged, which in turn presented the first SSD with PLC-NAND, it seems that research in this sector is also continuing at Intel.

SK Hynix wants to break 20Gb/mm² with 300 layers of TLC

SK Hynix also wants to break the 20Gb/mm² mark. Instead of packing more bits into cells, SK Hynix continues to rely on 3-bit (TLC) in combination with significantly more layers of cells. The upcoming TLC-NAND should have more than 300 layers and thus offer more than 20 Gb/mm². Storage stays at 1TB, which means a much smaller chip.

SK Hynix 300+ layer NAND (right) and 238-layer NAND (left)
SK Hynix 300+ NAND layer (right) and 238 NAND layer (left) (photo: SK Hynix (via blocks and files))

In terms of performance too, there should be a significant increase. It cited a read response time of just 34MB and a chip-wide write throughput of 194MB/s. On the other hand, the soon-to-be mass-produced 238-layer NAND from SK Hynix achieves 45 microseconds and 164MB/s. Samsung’s V7, the former flagship in typing, will take a beating.

Compare TLC 3D NAND