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Green Memory in the News

3-D is Key to Next-Generation NAND Flash

Oct. 2. 2013
Three-dimensional technologies will smooth the way for the next frontier in flash memory as production of 3-D NAND accelerates much more quickly than initially anticipated, according to a Flash Dynamics brief from IHS Inc., a leading global source of critical information and insight.

Global share from 3-D NAND of overall flash memory shipments is projected to increase marginally to 0.4 percent by year-end, but the years ahead will propel the market in leaps and bounds.

For instance, a solid jump to 5.2 percent is projected in 2014, and then 3-D NAND makes a spectacular surge in production to attain 30.2 percent of total flash memory shipments in 2015.

From there, 3-D NAND enlarges its market to 49.8 percent—virtually half of the entire flash memory market. And by 2017, NAND produced via 3-D methods will account for the majority of total flash memory shipments, equivalent to 65.2 percent.

While the NAND industry is currently in the process of moving to the next lithography, there is widespread agreement that just one or two generations may be left before planar NAND hits its theoretical limit. As lithographies go down further, performance and reliability may become too degraded for NAND to be used in any but the very lowest-cost consumer segment.

As a result, the most promising next-technology replacement will move focus away from miniaturization, which has traditionally concentrated on shrinking NAND cells in the xy dimensions. Instead, the shift will be toward increasing density via layering. This will be the most cost-effective way of pushing NAND to the next level because most of the same equipment can be used, minimizing expenses while maximizing returns on investment.   more