In August 2013 Samsung announced its V-NAND, the first production 3D NAND, kicking off a big change in the way that NAND flash will be manufactured. This new technology raises a number of important questions:
- What exactly is a 3D NAND?
- Why does the industry need to go to a 3D topology?
- How the heck do they make such a product?
To answer these questions I assembled a series of articles posted as weekly segments on The Memory Guy blog during the fourth quarter of 2013. The different sections are listed below, with hot links to each section.
Each of these is a topic that is complex enough to warrant its own post, so for the nine Fridays I published a post to explain each one in depth. I hope you find it engaging and informative.
SanDisk and Toshiba, in separate announcements, both today disclosed their next-generation process technology.
The companies introduced their new “1y” processing node that, according to SanDisk, produces 19nm x 19.5nm cell, versus the earlier “19nm” process (or “1x”) that used a 19nm x 26nm cell.
The graphic for this post (click to enlarge) was presented during SanDisk’s May 5th Analyst Day and compares the 24nm process to the 19 x 26nm process, moving to the 19 x 19nm process, and eventually to “1z” which neither company is yet revealing. After the 1z process SanDisk believes Continue reading “SanDisk & Toshiba Move to Next Process Node”
Every so often I run into someone who asks about the discrepancy between various analysts’ NAND market share rankings and SanDisk’s shipments. After all, SanDisk is a leading producer of flash memory and has captive manufacture through its joint venture with Toshiba. Yet, most market share rankings leave SanDisk out.
What’s going on here?
Owing to a long-standing convention SanDisk’s NAND chips aren’t counted since they are sold as “Systems” (with a controller.) The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) set that rule up, and most analysts Continue reading “Why Most NAND Rankings Ignore SanDisk”
The trade press has recently carried reports of a NAND shortage which The Memory Guy finds to be very premature. True, NAND prices are not at their lowest point – today NAND can be found for 38 cents per gigabyte, up from a low of 31 cents in July. But does this constitute a shortage? No, not really.
One of the key indicators of a shortage is a crossover between spot and contract pricing – during an oversupply spot pricing is lower than contract pricing since OEMs and suppliers both place excess product on the market and compete on price. During a shortage the opposite is true – suppliers don’t have any Continue reading “Is there a NAND Shortage? Not quite.”
In a surprise announcement Toshiba has said that it will immediately cut NAND flash production by approximately 30%. The company explains that this is being done “to reduce inventory in the market and improve the overall balance between supply and demand.” Toshiba’s release implies that this move is expected to improve prices, which have dropped as low as $0.31/GB recently.
By common measures of market share, which typically leave out SanDisk (for reasons too complex to discuss here) Toshiba holds a share of roughly 30% of the NAND flash market. By cutting its output by 30% Toshiba would be reducing overall NAND supply by 10%. If we were to include SanDisk, then that percentage would decrease to about 7.5%. Either one of these is significantly more than Continue reading “Toshiba to Cut NAND Production by 30%”
The Memory Guy was a little surprised to see the advertisement in this post’s graphic. It was from an April 8 newspaper ad for Fry’s Electronics.
It’s a little early to see NAND selling for this little: The original price of $21.99 for a 32GB USB flash drive comes to $0.69/GB, and the price after the rebate of $16.99 means that the price per gigabyte of the flash is only $0.53!
At the time the lowest spot market pricing for MLC flash on the InSpectrum spot price website was $0.53, and $0.47 for TLC. According to DRAMeXchange MLC is selling for as little as $0.48.
That’s not a lot of margin for Patriot or Fry’s when you add in the cost of t Continue reading “How Cheap is Flash?”
Today Intel divested itself of a portion of the assets of IMFT, the joint venture NAND flash manufacturing arm it shares with Micron Technology. This is an effort by Intel to groom the business to better suit Intel’s evolving vision of its role in the NAND flash business.
Objective Analysis issued an Alert to our clients giving the “What, When, Why, and Where” of this deal. The Alert can be downloaded for free from the Objective Analysis Reports page.
One memory chip was so important that it was presented three times at this week’s International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) and that was the Toshiba/SanDisk 128Gb NAND flash. This chip was shown by Eli Harari in Monday’s keynote, then was featured twice in the Wednesday afternoon Nonvolatile Memories session – once by Toshiba and once by SanDisk.
The NAND chip, measuring 170.6mm², is said by both companies to be the densest NAND available. Compared to the Intel/Micron 64Gb 20nm NAND at 118mm², the device gives twice the bits in a 45% larger die area, so the companies’ claim rings true, since the only other NAND makers: Samsung and Hynix, have processes that fall far behind at 27nm and 26nm respectively.
Continue reading “Inside SanDisk’s & Toshiba’s New 128Gb NAND Chip”
Micron Technology and Intel announced today (6 December, 2011) that the two companies are sampling a 128 gigabit (that’s 16 gigabytes) NAND flash chip manufactured by the company’s IMFT joint venture.
This is a doubling of the capacity of the 64Gb chip the companies announced in April, but they assure us that the size of the die hasn’t doubled, and the accompanying photo supports this. Intel tells us that the die will fit into standard BGA and TSOP packages. Continue reading “Micron, Intel, Introduce 128Gb NAND Chip”