3D NAND Flash Application Considerations
3D NAND flash is an advanced architectural development in flash storage that enables memory cells to be stacked vertically in multiple layers. This is a more sophisticated design and is a great solution for high density mass storage. By building multiple layers, larger geometries can be used to deliver higher reliability and higher density. It is estimated that about fifty-percent of bits manufactured will be 3D by mid-2017.
One strong advantage of 3D NAND is that it has a low cost per GB, making it an ideal application for client SSD’s and consumer products that require high density mass storage. 3D TLC NAND can be faster to program/write while using less power compared to Planar/ 2D MLC. The storage capacity is more than twice as high with 3D NAND compared to Planar/2D MLC, with the highest mono die density for 3D at 512GB vs. 128GB for 2D MLC, equating to packaged densities up to 4TB for 3D.
There are some industrial application considerations for which 3D is not well suited, including lower capacity requirements below 32GB. High endurance and long life cycle application requirements will continue to best be served by the 2D flash solutions. This includes single level cell (SLC) technology which will continue to be only available with 2D planar NAND.
It’s exciting to note the evolution of flash storage technology and the capabilities of 3D NAND flash, and the direction the industry is going with flash architecture. As further improvements are made to the capabilities of 3D NAND performance, endurance and overall maturity, this technology should become more applicable in a wider range of industrial applications as well.