SK hynix develops world’s first 72-layer NAND chip
Mon 10 Apr 2017
Korean flash manufacturer SK hynix has designed a 72-layer 3D NAND chip offering 256Gb capacity.
Based on the firm’s triple-level cell (TLC) arrays and proprietary technologies, the new memory chip follows on from SK hynix’s 48-layer chip, which has been in mass production since November 2016. The latest chip has seen SK hynix enhance its manufacturing process to reach a 50%-layer count improvement in less than half a year.
The company claims that the latest chip features better circuit design and two times faster internal operation speed, as well as a 20% higher read-write performance over its 48-layer 3D NAND chip.
SK hynix plans to sell the chips into the SSD, smartphone and other mobile device markets. Mass production is expected to begin later this year.
‘With the introduction of this industry’s highest productivity 3D NAND, SK hynix will mass produce the 256Gb 3D NAND in the second half of this year to provide this to worldwide business clients for optimum use in storage solutions,’ said Jong Ho Kim, VP and head of marketing at SK hynix.
While the number of layers in the new SK hynix chip is impressive, the capacity has been criticised. Semiconductor producer Toshiba has already released a shorter 64-layer flash chip which offers 512Gb capacity, as too have Western Digital and Samsung.
SK hynix believes that 3D NAND will see a dramatic increase in demand with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), big data and cloud storage. The company cited recent findings from Gartner which forecasted the global NAND flash market revenues to total $46.5 billion in 2017, reaching $56.5 billion by 2021.
SK hynix is currently the fifth-largest NAND flash producer, with a 10.3% share in the worldwide market. It is also the second biggest in the DRAM market. The company hopes to acquire Toshiba’s chip business – which currently sits at number two in the global NAND market.