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Western Digital announces breakthrough 64-layer 3D NAND tech

Wed 27 Jul 2016


Western Digital has unveiled the world’s first 64-layer 3D NAND technology, which it promises will deliver bigger and significantly faster SSD flash memory solutions in the future.

Alongside Toshiba, the American storage firm has developed the 3D NAND technology which counts an impressive 64 layers of vertically-stacked storage. The product is named BiCS3, continuing from the previous BiCS2 generation, and stores up to 3-bits-per-cell – the industry’s smallest. WD says that this capability allows for much improved capacity, as well as boosted performance and reliability.

WD has already started production, but it is expected to still take a while for the new technology to reach the market. The company noted that while volume shipments would begin in late 2016, ‘meaningful commercial volumes’ would not be recorded until the beginning of 2017.

The first deployment of BiCS3 will be in 256 gigabit capacity, and will offer capacities ranging up to half a terabit on a single chip.

‘The launch of the next generation 3D NAND technology based on our industry-leading 64-layer architecture reinforces our leadership in NAND flash technology,’ commented Siva Sivaram, executive vice president of WD’s memory unit. ‘Together with BiCS2, our 3D NAND portfolio has broadened significantly, enhancing our ability to address a full spectrum of customer applications in retail, mobile and data centre,’ he added.

The BiCS3 development follows WD’s take over of SanDisk, which was completed in May this year. The acquisition was arranged to extend WD’s global reach in the storage market, and enhance its product offering, particularly in the fields of rotating magnetic storage and non-volatile memory (NVM).

For the time being, the largest SSD available on the market is Samsung’s 15.36TB 3D NAND which retails at a tasty $9,690 (approx. £7,400). The memory chip, which started shipping in March, is designed exclusively for use in data centres and industries demanding huge speed and capacity.


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