The Flash Memory Summit 2022 is in full swing and has already brought us some exciting news. Of course, SK Hynix did not miss the opportunity and traveled to Santa Clara, California, with a world premiere. In the luggage is the world’s first NAND flash with 238 layers: the SK Hynix 238-layer NAND.
SK Hynix 238-layer NAND: No one offers more layers
The company’s own subsidiary Solidigm just presented its debut in the form of the P41 Plus SSD at the Flash Memory Summit 2022, whose 3D NAND flash memory comes with 144 layers after all.
Of course, the mother has to step it up a notch and throws the “world’s highest 238-layer 4D NAND Flash” in the room. And yes, de 238 layers are indeed more than the 232 memory layers that Micron recently unveiled in its 3D NAND.
The 4D is more of a nice marketing move, though – sounds like more than is the case with 3D NAND, after all. In and of itself, it’s not an innovation, because in the fourth level, only the I/O circuits are additionally stacked on top of each other. Almost all manufacturers now do this, but only SK Hynix calls it 4D NAND. It can be done.
Dubious term aside, however, the company’s own 238-layer NAND turns out to be quite impressive. According to the manufacturer’s announcement, the development was already completed in July 2022, while mass production is to start in the first half of 2023.
The focus is on a capacity of 512 gigabits in a Triple Level Cell (TLC) NAND with 3 bits per cell. And that, in addition to the world’s most layers, on the smallest footprint.
Significant performance increase
Compared to the 176-layer NAND introduced in December 2020, the additional layers are expected to result in a significant performance increase. For example, productivity performance is said to have improved by a whopping 34 percent.
According to the manufacturer, the data transfer speed of the 238-layer NAND is 2.4 GB per second, which corresponds to a performance increase of 50 percent compared to the previous generation.
Unlike Micron, SK Hynix does not provide concrete details about the performance data. However, it does address the issue of energy efficiency. Thus, the required energy is said to have decreased by 21 percent compared to the predecessor when reading data.
SK Hynix 238-layer NAND from 2023
Starting in 2023, SK Hynix plans to offer the new 238-layer NAND initially in SSDs for the consumer segment. This will then be followed by storage solutions for smartphones and server solutions.
In addition, a corresponding counterpart with double the storage capacity of one terabit is also planned for 2023.