SK Hynix develops industry's first 72-layer 3D NAND

SK Hynix has successfully developed a 72-layer 256 Gigabit Triple Level Cell (TLC) 3D NAND flash, leapfrogging rivals Samsung and Toshiba.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

SK Hynix has successfully developed a 72-layer 256 Gigabit TLC 3D NAND flash chip, the company announced.

It will allow one chip to hold 32 Gigabytes of memory.

It makes it the most advanced, ahead of rival Samsung Electronics, which currently produces 64-layer 3D NAND. Japanese counterpart Toshiba is preparing to ship its 64-layer 3D NAND.

SK Hynix moved to 72-layer from the 48-layer it is currently supplying. The South Korean chip giant said the latest chips have 30 percent higher production rate compared to the 48-layer and stacks 1.5 more cells to increase memory capacity. Reading and writing speeds are 20 percent higher.

The firm began supplying 36-layer 128 Gigabit 3D NAND in the second half of last year. It began production of 48-layer 256 Gigabit last year in November, skipping the 64-layer within 6 months.

SK Hynix is preparing to supply the new chip for Solid-State Drives and new smartphones, it said.

According to Gartner, the NAND flash market is expected to be worth $46.5 billion this year and will rise to $56.5 billion by 2021. Also according to the market research agency, 3D NAND accounted for 18.8 percent of NAND supply last year but will take up 43.4 percent this year and 66.2 percent in 2018, becoming dominant over conventional 2D NAND.

SK Hynix has put a bid for Toshiba's memory unit, as the Japanese conglomerate is attempting to sell the business to make up for losses in its nuclear operation.

SK Hynix is second to Samsung in DRAMs but fifth in NANDs globally, and is increasing the ratio of the profitable NANDs that are in high demand from phones and servers.

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