Micron has just announced its next generation 3D NAND. With 176 layers, the new chip offers a 37% improvement over its closest competitor, Kioxia / Western Digital’s 112-layer BiCS5.
The company says the new NAND will improve both read and write latency by more than a third compared to the previous generation’s 96-layer floating-gate NAND, which could be faster and cheaper solid-state drives.
The manufacturer also claims to offer a die that is about 30% smaller than competing offerings and gets a whopping 1.6 gigatransfers per second (1600 MT / s) on the Open NAND Flash interface bus – a double digit improvement over previous generations.
And here’s the kicker: The 3D NAND chips are already being produced in volume production and shipped to customers, including in Micron’s own Crucial SSD product lines.
What the announcement ultimately means for the end user is more energy-efficient, faster, smaller, and cheaper SSD designs. Meanwhile, for the data center audience, the new chips will deliver sustainability improvements, which is especially beneficial with write-intensive use.
The 100 TB ExaDrive DC SSD, the largest solid-state drive on the market today, will likely use 64-layer SLC NAND, explaining its dazzling $ 40,000 price tag. In comparison, the cheaper ExaDrive NL 64TB The same company will likely use 96-layer TLC NAND chips, bringing the price down to just $ 10,900 – less than half the cost per TB.
Micron’s new technology can either mean more SSD for your money (e.g. 100TB for $ 10,000) or a much lower price. Ultimately, the company wants to achieve aggressive, industry-leading cost savings that will hopefully reach the end user.
That means hard drive vendors such as Seagate, Toshiba or Western Digital may want to look back to the data center / nearline market. Micron’s new chips can usher in a new generation of extremely high-capacity 3.5-inch SSD drives at relatively low entry points to replace existing spinning drives.