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Toshiba, SanDisk unveil 256Gb 48-layer BiCS NAND flash memory chip

Toshiba Corp. and SanDisk Corp. have formally introduced their first vertically stacked triple-level-cell (TLC) NAND flash memory IC [integrated circuit] with 256Gb capacity. The new 3D BiCS [bit cost scalable] NAND flash memory will be mass produced next year.

Toshiba’s new 256Gb (32GB) 48-layer BiCS flash device features 3-bit-per-cell TLC (triple-level cell) architecture and can be used for a wide range of applications, including consumer SSDs, smartphones, tablets, memory cards, and even enterprise SSDs for data centers. Earlier this year Toshiba introduced 128Gb 48-layer BiCS NAND flash device featuring MLC 2-bit-per-cell architecture.

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Three-dimensional NAND flash features higher performance, longer endurance and lower per bit costs (once yields reach commercially viable levels) compared to traditional planar NAND flash memory used today. Numerous peculiarities of Toshiba’s/SanDisk’s BiCS 3D NAND architecture, such as U-shaped NAND string, enable maximum array efficiency and minimize actual chip sizes compared to competing 3D NAND architectures.

“From day one, Toshiba’s strategy has been to extend our floating gate technology, which features the world’s smallest 15nm 128Gb die*3,” noted Scott Nelson, senior vice president of TAEC’s Memory Business Unit. “Our announcement of BiCS FLASH, the industry’s first 48-layer 3D technology, is very significant in that we are enabling a competitive, smooth migration to 3D flash memory – to support the storage market’s demand for ever-increasing densities.”

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Toshiba will mass produce BiCS 3D flash memory at an all-new manufacturing facility at Yokkaichi Operations. The construction of the building was completed recently and the two companies are expected to start moving in equipment in the coming weeks.

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KitGuru Says: It took Samsung about a year to introduce TLC 3D V-NAND memory after it initiated mass production of MLC 3D V-NAND memory. Toshiba formally introduced its TLC BiCS 3D NAND memory only several months after it announced its MLC BiCS 3D NAND chips. While Toshiba seems to be rather aggressive when it comes to development of new memory chips, it should be noted that the company will not initiate mass production of the BiCS 3D flash earlier than in 2016.

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