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3D NAND industry-wide adoption still shaky

Posted: 05 Dec 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3D NAND? 2D NAND? memristor?

"What we've run into with regular NAND is that it's getting far too difficult to shrink on the normal two directions you have on silicon," he says. "The idea of the 3D NAND is if you can't shrink anything anymore, how do you go vertically?"

3D NAND, in the short term, would push the cost of conventional NAND downward but ultimately replace it. However, because 3D NAND is not in mass production yet, there are still unanswered questions, says Handy. "Everybody is expecting new error modes to pop up, they just don't know what they are."

Ultimately, he says, price is going to dictate adoption of 3D NAND; it needs to be cheaper to make than regular NAND. "The whole point in going to 3D is to lower the price."

Wang says 3D NAND is not the only technology that might meet demand for non-volatile memory. Other emerging memory types include memristor, which was first conceived in the early 1970s. "Memristor is a promising next-generation memory that has the potential to be faster and have lower power-consumption than current NAND flash memory," he says. However, it will be several years before mass production is possible.

Another contender is magnetoresistive random-access memory (MRAM), which has been in development since the 1990s. Unlike conventional RAM, data in MRAM is not stored as electric charge or current flows, but by magnetic storage elements.

For now, conventional NAND components will maintain their cost advantage at the chip level through at least 2015, says Wang, as it will take time for customer understanding and controller optimisation to catch up. "3D NAND will have limited application traction, with select segments within SSDs representing the greatest near-term opportunity."

- Gary Hilson
??EE Times

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