Samsung recently unveiled new 3D flash memory technology that should allow them to construct denser, faster, and longer-lasting solid state drives for computers.
One of the biggest things to have come about within the past decade is digital memory storage. Hard drives, flash drives, and solid-state drives all helped create this world where phones could carry your entire digital music library and a keychain device could potentially countless books, documents, photos and videos. With this development, people now want more storage, faster download speeds, and sturdier portable devices.
Recently Samsung announced at the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, that the idea of 512GB smartphones and lightning fast data transfer speeds may very well be right around the corner. The company introduced the first solid-state drive using their new 3D flash memory architecture just last week actually. While the initial product lineup that’s entering mass production soon doesn’t exactly move much past where the memory market already takes place, it’s still a promising start of what this technology can do tomorrow that makes it a game changer.
If this were to be successful, it would virtually change everything we currently know about the flash memory market. Using the same charge trap architecture that allowed Samsung to jumpstart ahead of other compact flash card makers in 2006, the company is moving from the common two-dimensional planar technology of today to a vertically integrated channel structure.
Executive vice president and general manager of Samsung Semiconductor’s Research and Development Center, E.S. Jung, explained that interference between memory cells has become an increasing problem as components have dropped below 20 nanometers, which is basically what is considered to be less than a quarter the width of a human hair.
In order to combat these interference issues, Samsung turned the technology “sideways” at first stacking eight cells on top of each other for some of its 2011 solid-state memory products. Those NAND flash memory chips now are giving way to V-NAND, or vertical-NAND, which involves drilling hundreds of millions of channel holes into a chip the size of a human fingertip.
The enterprise-class flash drive announced recently features 2.5 billion 20-nanometer channels tunneling through 24 layers of memory material. Samsung celebrated the new technology’s 40:1 aspect ratio by showing off a half-inch-wide, 20-inch-long wooden dowel — and then inviting the audience to imagine 2.5 billion of those dowels standing side by side. Jung compared the new V-NAND technology to being a jet plane overtaking and soaring beyond a NAND car driving rapidly toward a cliff.
He noted that V-NAND will read and write at twice the speed of NAND, will be at least double the density, consumes only half the power and will last 10 times longer than today’s chips. Samples of the new solid-state drive, which comes in 480- and 960-gigabyte capacities, already are shipping to computer manufacturers.
Earlier in the conference, Marvell Semiconductor Vice President of SSD Iri Trashanski told summit attendees that cost per gigabyte of flash memory stood at $12 in 2007, already has dropped to 60 cents per gigabyte in today’s one-terabyte devices and is expected to drop to 30 cents per gigabyte in 2016, when solid-state memory chips will offer up to two terabytes of storage each.