Samsung has stolen a march on its rivals by beginning mass production of high-capacity 256Gbit 3D Nand flash chips, just weeks after SanDisk and Toshiba said they were starting pilot production of comparable products.
Samsung Electronics said that it has begun mass production of 256Gbit 3D Vertical Nand (V-Nand) flash memory, constructed from 48 layers of 3-bit multi-level cell arrays, which are set to find their way into solid state drives (SSD) in the near future.
The firm was the first to market with 3D Nand flash chips two years ago, but the latest chips are the third generation of the technology and now offer double the density, enabling 32GB to be stored on a single chip.
"With the introduction of our third-generation V-Nand flash memory to the global market, we can now provide the best advanced memory solutions, with even higher efficiency based on improved performance, power use and manufacturing productivity, thereby accelerating growth of the high-performance and the high-density SSD markets," said the president of Samsung's memory business, Young-Hyun Jun.
The move comes just a week after SanDisk and Toshiba announced the start of pilot production of their jointly developed 256Gbit 3D Nand technology in September, with products based on those chips set to arrive sometime in 2016.
Samsung plans to produce its third-generation V-Nand throughout the remainder of 2015, with the aim of accelerating adoption of terabyte-level SSDs.
The firm is now introducing SSDs with densities of 2TB and above for consumers, but also aims to expand high-density SSD shipments into the enterprise and data centre markets with products using the NVMe standard, connecting to the PCI Express bus for higher performance, as well as the more traditional SAS interface.
Meanwhile, Intel and Micron are shipping rival 256Gbit 3D Nand flash, based on a different process that combines up to 32 layers of memory cells. The two firms also recently unveiled a new memory architecture that blurs the boundaries between RAM and storage, called 3D XPoint (3D cross-point).
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