Micron announced the industry’s first 3D NAND memory device with 232 layers on Thursday. The company intends to use its new 232-layer 3D NAND products for a variety of applications, including solid-state drives, and expects to begin mass production of such chips in late 2022.
Micron’s 232-layer 3D NAND device has a raw capacity of 1Tb and a 3D TLC architecture (128GB). The chip is based on Micron’s CMOS under array (CuA) architecture and stacks two arrays of 3D NAND on top of each other using the NAND string stacking technique.
The CuA design, combined with 232 layers of NAND, will significantly reduce the die size of Micron’s 1Tb 3D TLC NAND memory, allowing Micron to price devices featuring these chips more aggressively or simply increase its margins.
Micron did not specify I/O speeds or the number of planes in its new 232L 3D TLC NAND IC, but it did state that the new memory will outperform existing 3D NAND devices, which will be especially useful for next-generation SSDs with a PCIe 5.0 interface.
Speaking of SSDs, Micron’s executive vice president of technology and products, Scott DeBoer, stated that the company has worked closely with developers of in-house and third-party NAND controllers (for SSDs and other NAND-based storage devices) to ensure proper support for the new type of memory (and make sure those upcoming drives end up in our best SSDs list).
“We optimized [232-layer 3D NAND] technology around what we need to make the world’s fastest managed NAND and both datacenter and client SSD products,” said DeBoer. “The combination of controllers, both internal and external, has been a strong element of our vertical product integration focus to ensure that we have optimized NAND and controller technology for what we need to deliver future leadership products.”
Among the benefits of its 232-layer 3D TLC NAND are Micron mentioned lower power consumption compared to previous-generation nodes, which will be another advantage given Micron’s historical focus on mobile applications and relationships with device makers.
Given that Micron will begin production of 232-layer 3D TLC NAND devices in late calendar 2022, we can expect SSDs powered by the new memory to arrive in 2023.