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3D NAND Flash Explained

D Flash Rod Connecting Layers Graphic

 

Although NAND flash storage is the leading storage format used in solid state drives, or SSDs, there is one concern that has long worried engineers and OEMs—its size. NAND flash storage devices have to be small, but they also have to be powerful. In some instances, capacity has been limited by the need to keep the device as small as possible. Fortunately, a solution has been found: 3D NAND flash. This format uses space on NAND flash storage cards more efficiently, so that it is possible to boost capacity without compromising the need to keep the device small. Here is what you need to know.

 

A Primer on NAND Flash

NAND flash is a non-volatile form of storage that is common in SSDs. It doesn’t require power to store data, which is a large part of its attraction. NAND flash storage is also a more affordable form of storage than magnetic storage devices, and since it doesn’t involve any moving parts, it experiences fewer failures.

 

With NAND storage, data is stored on small cells on the device. Each cell can hold a specific amount of data, depending on the type of NAND flash being used. The type of NAND flash that is the most expensive, but also considered the most reliable for industrial applications, is SLC (single-level cell) flash. The type of NAND flash that is the most affordable, but generally only used in consumer products, is TLC (triple-level cell) flash. MLC (multi-level cell) flash is the middle ground between the two options.

 

3D NAND Flash vs. Planar NAND Flash

When NAND flash was initially introduced, the design was planar. Cells were positioned across the surface of the device side by side. In order to accommodate as many cells as possible without increasing the overall size of the flash memory card, manufacturers shrank the cells. This caused a problem with cross-cell interference. Further, the amount storage a device could manage was still limited.

 

3D NAND flash is the solution. With 3D NAND, cells are stacked on top of each other, using vertical space in addition to horizontal space. As a result, more storage capacity is available without the need to shrink cells so much that they experience interference. 3D design is solving past problems with flash storage, creating even greater flexibility for this type of storage.

 

If you are interested in how 3D NAND flash could work for your industrial grade storage needs, contact Delkin. We’re available to answer questions about our products and to provide assistance in choosing the right kind of memory for your application.

 

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