3D NAND Flash Memory

3D NAND - Die with M2 SSD

On 3/26/2015, Intel Corporation and Micron Technology, Inc. posted a press release touting their new 3D NAND Flash Memory.

In short, what this means is that they have created a new way to create higher density solid state memory… 3D Memory! They boast that this increases capacity by 3x and that boost of capacity comes along with a “significant cost savings, low power usage and high performance.”

Highlights

  • New technology that uses floating gate cells – 3x capacity than other production methods
  • Enambles the creation of smaller form factor devices with large storage – 2.5″ SSDs with greater than 10TB
  • New processes and techniques that will extend Moore’s Law for flash storage
  • Expected to increase both performance and endurance of the storage


 

“Enables gum stick-sized SSDs with more than 3.5 terabytes (TB) of storage and standard 2.5-inch SSDs with greater than 10TB.”

 

What does this all mean for the consumer, well, to start with it could mean a radical drop in the price of SSD drives over time as well as a major leap in storage space… Imagine that laptop with a 10TB SSD drive, or an iPhone with a 1TB+ of storage.

 

“expected to increase both performance and endurance”

 

In a very minimal note towards the bottom of the article, Intel says “[stacking cells vertically is] expected to increase both performance and endurance.” They say this increase is caused by allowing the individual storage cells to be larger. Could this mean more write cycles per cell for the new technology? I certainly hope so! Existing SSD drives have been known to last much longer than “estimated”, but getting an extra few 1000, or even hundred write cycles per cell would increase longevity of SSD drives dramatically! There is a whole website that is devoted to testing SSD longevity here, http://ssdendurancetest.com/.

 

3D_NAND_Die

Another great aspect of this will be for photographers. Once this technology makes its way to things like SD or CF cards, the cost will go down and the storage capacity will go up… by a lot. Making it possible to store thousands of high-resolution images and videos on a single card.

The days of 1TB SD/CF cards is rapidly approaching.

 

Micron Technology also released the following video about the new technology.

 

Intel and Micron are expecting “full production by the fourth quarter of this year” (2015)… So I would say you can expect to see initial versions of the new 3D NAND products on the shelf by early 2016, assuming everything goes as planned.

What large capacity devices are you looking forward to? A new iPhone, Tablet or SD Card?


You can take a look at the full press release from Intel, here.

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