What the annual E3 is for gaming enthusiasts, the Flash Memory Summit is for storage media experts. And this trade fair is also suffering this year from the effects of the Corona crisis. This means that it was held virtually. But despite the adverse circumstances, there were some exciting announcements. For example, the manufacturer Micron presented an impressive SSD technology. The 3D NAND flash memory is supposed to come along with no less than 176 layers.
Go-ahead for the fifth generation
The exciting announcement is about the fifth generation of 3D NAND flash memory from Micron. In particular, the high-performance storage solutions should be able to achieve transfer rates of up to 1,600 MT/S. This sets them far ahead of their predecessors. The models with 128 and 96 layers, respectively, were only able to achieve 1,200 MT/s. The end user should noticeably benefit from these higher speeds. Compared to the predecessor with 128 layers, Micron speaks of 25 % faster read and write latencies. If the coming fifth generation is compared with the models with 96 layers, the times are even 35 % faster. There should also be a strong improvement in terms of mixed workload. All in all, Micron is talking about an improvement of just under 15 %. Although we know that the new generation is supposed to be much better, the manufacturer still owes us some more precise details. These are not to be made available to the public until the end of the month.
Extremely thin despite 176 layers
Micron has switched to the so-called replacement Gate/Charge Trat cell design. This is intended to ensure a much thinner layer cover of the storage media. In particular, the design ensures that the chips are only 45 µm thick despite 176 layers. Micron again wants to manufacture the peripheral logic of the chip under the NAND memory cell stacks. This is hardly surprising. After all, this approach was already successful with the previous models. The manufacturer calls this process “CMOS under Array”. With it, the 176L-512 Gbit die is supposed to be about 30% smaller than comparable storage media of other manufacturers.
Production is in full swing
It is assumed that Micron has already started production of its new storage media. As has already been announced, the new storage devices will be incorporated into Crucial’s upcoming products. However, it is not yet clear when exactly the first SSDs with the corresponding technology will be launched on the market. Not least because of Corona, we will only have to expect very low volumes when they are released this year. This is likely to look different by 2021.