With current technology and component miniaturization, manufacturers have realized that it is difficult to increase density horizontally, which is why they turned to vertical scaling technologies, which roughly consist of stack layer after layer to increase density. Samsung pioneered 3D NAND memory, called V-NAND (Vertical NAND), and its development has reached such a point that they already have 1,000 layers in sight.
Samsung to launch 176-layer V-NAND in PCIe 5.0 this year
Samsung intends to start producing consumer SSDs powered by its seventh generation V-NAND memory with 176 layers and, according to the company, the smallest NAND memory cells in the industry. The interface of this new flash memory has a data transfer rate of 2000 MT / s, which allows the manufacturer to build ultra-fast SSDs with PCIe 4.0 and even PCIe 5.0 interfaces.
The drives will use a brand new controller optimized for multitasking with huge workloads, so a successor to the Samsung SSD 980 Pro should demonstrate strong performance in workstation applications.
Eventually, Samsung will introduce data center grade SSDs based on its new 176-layer V-NAND memory. It makes sense to expect the new drives to deliver improved performance and higher capacities to match the next generation of the PCI-Express interface.
They already have 200-layer chips and 1,000 layers are in the spotlight
While 176-layer V-NAND chips are already in mass production, Samsung has already built the first samples of its eighth generation V-NAND with over 200 layers. The manufacturer announces that it will start producing this new memory according to market demand; Companies typically introduce new types of NAND devices every 12-18 months, so we could make more or less reasoned guesses from Samsung’s timeline for those 200+ layered chips: late 2022 or early 2023.
Samsung faces several challenges in its quest to increase the number of layers. Making NAND cells small (and with thinner layers) requires the use of new materials to reliably store charges, and etching hundreds of layers is also an engineering challenge. Since it is neither feasible nor economical to etch hundreds of layers (build a 1000-layer 3D NAND wafer in one pass), manufacturers use techniques such as string stacking, which is also difficult to achieve. in large volumes.
Finally, flash memory manufacturers must ensure that their 3D NAND batteries are thin enough to accommodate PC-oriented devices and smartphones; As a result, they can’t just increase the number of layers ad infinitum, although Samsung has previously said it believes 1,000-layer chips are perfectly achievable.
Earlier this year, SK Hynix said it was considering 3D NAND with over 600 layers, so Samsung is certainly not the only company focusing on that. It’s impossible to predict when we’ll see the development of 1,000-layer V-NAND chips, and it’s likely that, as manufacturers no longer strive to double the density every year, it will likely take 5-10 years to get tangible news on it.