Micron and Intel unveil 3D NAND flash

Today Micron Technology, Inc., and Intel Corporation unveiled their 3D NAND technology, what the companies say is the world’s highest-density flash memory. Flash is the storage technology used inside light weight laptops, fast data centers, and nearly every mobile device. Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: MU) specializes in advanced semiconductor systems, while Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) designs and builds essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices.

Brian Shirley, vice president of Memory Technology and Solutions at Micron Technology, commented on the development, “Micron and Intel’s collaboration has created an industry-leading solid-state storage technology that offers high density, performance and efficiency and is unmatched by any flash today. This 3D NAND technology has the potential to create fundamental market shifts. The depth of the impact that flash has had to date, from smartphones to flash-optimized supercomputing, is really just scratching the surface of what’s possible.”

Rob Crooke, senior vice president and general manager, Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, Intel Corporation, said, “Intel’s development efforts with Micron reflect our continued commitment to offer leading and innovative non-volatile memory technologies to the marketplace. The significant improvements in density and cost enabled by our new 3D NAND technology innovation will accelerate solid-state storage in computing platforms.”

One particularly remarkable aspect of this technology is in the foundational memory cell itself. Intel and Micron opted for a floating gate cell, a universally utilized design perfected over years of high-volume planar flash manufacturing. This is the first time a floating gate cell has been used in 3D NAND, which was a designed to enhance performance, quality and reliability.

According to the companies, this new 3D NAND technology stacks flash cells vertically in 32 layers to create a 256Gb multilevel cell (MLC) and 384Gb triple-level cell (TLC) die that fit inside a standard package. These capacities can power gum stick-sized SSDs with more than 3.5TB of storage and standard 2.5-inch SSDs with greater than 10TB. Since capacity is created by stacking cells vertically, the individual cell dimensions can be larger. This is expected to improve both performance and endurance, while making even the TLC designs well-suited for data center storage.

T3D NAND key features:

Large Capacities: Three times the capacity of existing 3D technology, up to 48GB of NAND per die, allowing three-fourths of a terabyte to fit in a single fingertip-sized package.

Reduced Cost per GB: First-generation 3D NAND is built to be more cost efficient than planar NAND.

Speed: High read/write bandwidth, I/O speeds and random read performance.

Less power consumption: New sleep modes enable low-power use by cutting power to inactive NAND die (even when other die in the same package are active), dropping power consumption significantly in standby mode.

Smart: Innovative new features improve latency and increase endurance over previous generations, while making system integration easier.


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Tracy Venkatesh

Tracy Venkatesh

Tracy Venkatesh has spent twenty years working and interacting with a socioeconomically diverse population in both the private and public sectors, and has held positions in multiple verticals including content development, healthcare, customer relations management, defense and law enforcement.

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