The storage and memory market is constantly evolving, and all major manufacturers are looking for ways to increase production efficiency, achieve higher performances and reduce costs. Samsung has now commenced mass production of its 96-layer 3D NAND memory chips, bringing a bunch of improvements.
The 96-layer NAND will come with a completely new interface and lower latency for performance improvements. It should also lower the total energy consumption of the memory chips. According to the company, 256 GB of its new, fifth-generation 96-layer NAND can achieve transfer speeds of 1.4 Gbit, which is a massive 40 percent improvement compared to the previous generation, which used 64 layers. Response time for writing data has been improved by 30 percent, and the read response times have also been brought down by 50 microseconds.
The faster interface results in more power consumption, but this is compensated by reducing the voltage from 1.8 to 1.2 volts. In other words, the total energy consumption of 96-layer NAND should be fairly similar to that of 64-layer memory, if not a little bit better.
At first, 96-layer chips will be used for TLC products with a capacity of 256 Gbit (32 GB) per memory chip. It’s likely that we’ll start seeing 96-layer NAND pop up in SSDs soon. Samsung also states that it’s working on larger dies, including 1 Tb (128 GB) QLC memory.
The Korean company definitely seems to have succeeded in its mission for a more efficient production, as Samsung claims to have improved production efficiency by over 30 percent. The height of the individual memory layers has also been decreased by 20 percent, meaning that the 96-layer NAND doesn’t take up much more physical space than the previous generation.
It’s likely that once the improved NAND hits the market in consumer products, prices of SSDs using these chips will go down. Other memory manufacturers are working on similar improvements as well.