Samsung now producing 20nm-class, 64-gigabit 3-bit NAND flash memory

Posted on October 13, 2010


This announcement by Samsung has some downstream impacts with device development, especially mobile. Samsung is a vertically integrated manufacturer, from base components to LCD screens. as a mobile handset manufacturer this could be a leg up on performance and give them an edge on the market in some instances (as previous market data suggests that handset value is a choosing priority over carrier performance).

Also, do not lose sight of the BADA OS and where samsung may be heading over the midterm with that strategy.

All in all, this is pretty cool stuff!

I thought I would start with a little background on what NAND is.

NAND Flash is Non-volatile memory that enables sequential access to memory cells, uses silicon more efficiently than NOR flash resulting in lower cost per gigabit, achieves faster write speed than NOR flash, suitable for mass data storage.

NAND Flash architecture is one of two flash technologies (the other being NOR) used in memory cards. It is also used in USB Flash drives, MP3 players, and provides the image storage for digital cameras. NAND is best suited to flash devices requiring high capacity data storage.

The availability of storage density as high as eight gigabytes (64Gb) in a single chip will trigger widespread acceptance of Toggle DDR-based high-performance flash in UFDs and SD cards, as well as smart phones and SSDs, while replacing previous four gigabyte (32Gb) devices in the market.

One thing

Computerworld – Samsung is now mass producing the industry’s first 3-bit-per cell, 64Gbit NAND flash chip, which uses circuitry that’s about 14% smaller than before. The new chips pack twice as many bits as Samsung’s current NAND flash offering.

The NAND flash also offers better performance by applying Toggle DDR (Double Data Rate) 1.0 specifications to the new chips. Samsung had been producing 30nm-class NAND chips using SDR (Single Data Rate)-based specifications.

The company claimed it is the first to begin production the new class of flash memory using 20 nanometer (nm) class circuitry. The flash chips will be used to create high-capacity USB flash drives, SD memory cards, as well as smart phones and solid-state drives (SSDs).

Until this year, multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash enabled up to 2-bits of data to be written to a memory cell. Single-level cell (SLC) NAND has always been considered “enterprise-class” quality because of its higher native life expectancy and performance. However, more sophisticated wear-leveling software in drive controllers has enabled MLC memory to be used in higher-end products.