2021 will see the first SSDs from Micron and SK Hynix with 176 memory layers per chip.
The two largest NAND flash manufacturers are bringing out the first SSDs with 176 layers of memory per chip in the new year. Production for the new generation of memory chips is set to start now, the two companies have announced.
SK Hynix and Micron SSDs – more power, less cost
The SSDs from the two companies are technically very similar. Here, SK Hynix and Micron rely on 176 memory layers above the CMOS logic as the base layer. This is also called charge-trap technology. The cells each have three bits (TLC) and thus achieve 512 GB capacity per chip. By stacking the devices, you then have a package. The transfer rate of the internal interface is 1600 megatransfers per second. Thus, it is one third higher than the previous SSDs, which had 128 memory layers and a transfer rate of 1200 MT/s. The whole thing is supposed to increase the performance of the SSDs considerably. Micron mentions 35 percent lower latencies in this context. SK Hynik promises up to 70 percent higher read speeds and 35 percent more write speeds for Universal Flash Storage (UFS) for smartphones. Not only does the performance of the chips increase, but the cost of producing the chips also decreases. The new chips, with 176 memory layers, are much smaller than previous models, meaning more can fit on a silicon wafer. The manufacturer Micron announced last month that the chip area is about 30 percent smaller than that of the competition. SK Hynix wants to even undercut that, the exact size is unfortunately not known.
Production is partly already running
Both manufacturers are now about to go into production with the new chips. In the process, SK Hynix is letting production start now and is already sampling partner manufacturers. By the middle of next year, the company then wants to bring smartphones with the new chips, probably UFS memory, to the market. Furthermore, there should then also be an additional version with 1 TB capacity per chip. Micron has already started serial production in November this year and thus started with the production of the 176-layer chips. Micron also wants to launch SSDs for end customers under the Crucial brand next year.