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Green Memory in the News

IHS Inc. : NAND Flash Moves into the Next Dimension, as 3-D Manufacturing Technology Overtakes the Market

Oct. 3. 2013
Samsung XP941 M.2 PCIe SSD Review (512GB) - New Ultra Standard Exceeds 140K PCMark Vantage Score El Segundo, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2013)-With conventional semiconductor manufacturing technology soon to reach its limit in the NAND flash segment, suppliers of these memory chips are set to adopt 3-D production techniques in order to boost the capacity of their devices.

By 2017, nearly two-thirds-or 65.2 percent-of all NAND memory chips shipped worldwide will be produced using 3-D manufacturing processes, up from less than 1 percent this year, according to a Flash Dynamics brieffrom IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS). The share of the overall NAND market accounted for by 3-D technology is set to jump to 5.2 percent in 2014, and then surge to 30.2 percent of total flash memory shipments in 2015. In 2016, 3-D NAND will enlarge its market share to 49.8 percent-representing about half of the entire flash memory market, as presented in the attached figure.

"There's widespread agreement that just one or two generations may be left before NAND flash made using conventional planar semiconductor technology reaches its theoretical limit," said Dee Robinson, senior analyst, memory and storage for IHS. "As lithographies shrink further, performance and reliability may become too degraded for NAND to be used in anything but the very lowest-cost consumer products. Because NAND suppliers are compelled to continue building products with higher densities and lower prices, they will migrate to 3-D manufacturing quickly in the coming years."

A major factor driving NAND makers to keep improving their products is demand from products like media tablets and smartphones. These devices are demanding higher capacity and less expensive storage of content, including pictures, music and video.

Another dimension of flash manufacturing

Historically, NAND flash makers have employed miniaturization to increase the capacity and reduce the costs of their products. Miniaturization is the process of shrinking the NAND flash cells with each successive technology generation, allowing suppliers to fit more bits on each silicon wafer.

With 3-D technology, the emphasis shifts away from miniaturization and toward increasing density by layering NAND flash cells on top of each other. This will be the most cost-effective way of pushing NAND to the next level because most of the existing manufacturing equipment can continue to be used, minimizing expenses while maximizing return on investment. more

Source:4-traders, Hispanic Business News, Evertiq

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