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Western Digital Announces 96-Layer 3D NAND, Including Both TLC and QLC

Accepted submission by takyon at 2017-06-30 16:22:56

Western Digital has announced that it will begin production of 96-layer 3D NAND in 2018 []. It will make triple-level cell and quad-level cell NAND with die capacities ranging from 256 Gb to 1 Tb. QLC NAND is predicted to have 100-150 program/erase cycles (endurance) compared to about 1000 for TLC:

Given such endurance, it is logical to expect 3D QLC NAND to be used for primarily removable storage as well as for ultra-high capacity datacenter drives for the so-called near-WORM (write once read many) storage applications. For example, Toshiba last year discussed a QLC-based datacenter SSD with 100 TB capacity for WORM apps.

Western Digital plans to begin sampling of select 96-layer BiCS4 3D NAND configurations in the second half of this year, but the manufacturer does not specify which dies will sample when. As for mass production, Western Digital intends to start volume manufacturing of their 96-layer 256 Gb 3D NAND in 2018, with other dies to follow later. Based on Western Digital's announcements made earlier, the company will gradually introduce more sophisticated BiCS4 96-layer configurations in 2018 and 2019, before moving to BiCS5 sometimes in 2020. That said, it makes sense to expect the highest capacity BiCS4 ICs to ship later rather than sooner.

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