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SK hynix Proclaims 238 Layer NAND

Because the 2022 Flash Reminiscence Summit continues, SK hynix is the most recent vendor to announce their subsequent era of NAND flash reminiscence on the present. Showcasing for the primary time the corporate’s forthcoming 238 layer TLC NAND, which guarantees each improved density/capability and improved bandwidth. At 238 layers, SK hynix has, at the least for the second, secured bragging rights for the best variety of layers in a TLC NAND die – although with mass manufacturing not set to start till 2023, it’s going to be some time till the corporate’s latest NAND exhibits up in retail merchandise.

Following carefully on the heels of Micron’s 232L TLC NAND announcement last week, SK hynix is upping the ante ever so barely with a 238 layer design. Although the distinction in layer counts is basically inconsequential once you’re speaking about NAND dies with 200+ layers to start with, within the extremely aggressive flash reminiscence business it offers SK hynix bragging rights on layer counts, breaking the earlier stalemate between them, Samsung, and Micron at 176L.

From a technical perspective, SK hynix’s 238L NAND additional builds upon the essential design of their 176L NAND. So we’re as soon as once more a string stacked design, with SH hynix utilizing a pair of 119 layer decks, up from 88 layers within the earlier era. This makes SK hynix the third flash reminiscence vendor to grasp constructing decks over 100 layers tall, and is what’s enabling them to supply a 238L NAND design that holds the road at two decks.

SK hynix’s NAND decks proceed to be constructed with their charge-trap, CMOS underneath Array (CuA) structure, which sees the majority of the NAND’s logic positioned underneath the NAND reminiscence cells. In response to the corporate, their preliminary 512Gbit TLC half has a die dimension of 35.58mm2, which works out to a density of roughly 14.39 Gbit/mm2. That’s a 35% enchancment in density over their previous-generation 176L TLC NAND die at equal capacities. Notably, this does imply that SK hynix will likely be ever so barely trailing Micron’s 232L NAND regardless of their whole layer rely benefit, as Micron claims they’ve hit a density of 14.6 Gbit/mm2 on their 1Tbit dies.

SK hynix 3D TLC NAND Flash Reminiscence
  238L 176L
Layers 238 176
Decks 2 (x119) 2 (x88)
Die Capability 512 Gbit 512 Gbit
Die Measurement (mm2) 35.58mm2 ~47.4mm2
Density (Gbit/mm2) ~14.39 10.8
I/O Pace 2.4 MT/s

(ONFi 5.0)
1.6 MT/s

(ONFI 4.2)
CuA / PuC Sure Sure

Talking of 1Tbit, in contrast to Micron, SK hynix isn’t utilizing the density enhancements to construct larger capability dies – at the least, not but. Whereas the corporate has introduced that they are going to be constructing 1Tbit dies subsequent yr utilizing their 238L course of, for now they’re holding at 512Gbit, the identical capability as their earlier era. So all different elements held equal, we shouldn’t count on the primary wave drives constructed utilizing 238L NAND to have any larger capability than the present era. However, if nothing else, at the least SK hynix’s preliminary 238L dies are fairly small – although whether or not that interprets in any respect to smaller packages stays to be seen.

Moreover density enhancements, SK hynix has additionally improved the efficiency and energy consumption of their NAND. Like the opposite NAND distributors, SK hynix is utilizing this upcoming era of NAND to introduce ONFi 5.0 assist. ONFi 5.0 is notable for not solely rising the highest switch fee to 2400MT/second – a 50% enchancment over ONFi 4.2 – nevertheless it additionally introduces a brand new NV-LPDDR4 signaling technique. Because it’s primarily based on LPDDR signaling (in contrast to the DDR3-derrived mode in ONFi 4.x), NV-LPDDR4 provides tangible reductions within the quantity of energy consumed by NAND signaling. SK hynix isn’t breaking their energy consumption figures out to this stage of element, however for general energy consumption, they’re touting a 21% discount in power consumed for learn operations. Presumably that is per bit, so it is going to be counterbalanced by the 50% enchancment in bandwidth.

This week’s announcement comes as SK hynix has begun transport samples of the 238L NAND to their clients. As beforehand talked about, the corporate isn’t planning on kicking off mass manufacturing till H1’2023, so it is going to be a while earlier than we see the brand new NAND present up in retail merchandise. In response to SK hynix, their plan is to start out with transport NAND for client SSDs, adopted by smartphones and high-capacity server SSDs. That, in flip, will likely be adopted up with the introduction of 1Tbit 238L NAND later in 2023.

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