Western Digital will mass-produce the sixth-generation 162-layer BiCS NAND this year

Previously, Micron announced its NAND flash memory plan, saying that it will launch the industry’s first 232-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory, and is preparing to start production of the flash memory chip in late 2022, which will be used in various products including solid-state drives. Recently, another large storage company, Western Digital, also announced its own NAND flash memory plan.

According to TechPowerup, Western Digital is cooperating with Kioxia, and the sixth-generation 162-layer BiCS NAND jointly developed by the two parties will be mass-produced this year. At present, other manufacturers have advanced to 176 layers, but Western Digital’s 162-layer BiCS NAND can provide the same capacity. Western Digital says its flash memory chips are smaller in size than rivals, an advantage that means more chips can be made per wafer.

According to Western Digital, the sixth-generation BiCS NAND can provide a capacity of 100TB per wafer, an increase from 70TB in 2020. Western Digital and Kioxia plan to increase the number of stacked layers called BiCS+ to more than 200 layers by 2024, and a 500-layer stacked NAND flash will appear by 2032. The first use of BiCS+ NAND flash memory will be used in data center products, which will increase the transmission speed by 60% compared to the current sixth-generation 162-layer BiCS Flash, and the capacity per wafer will also increase by 55%.

In fact, at the beginning of last year, Western Digital and Kioxia announced the cooperation to develop the sixth-generation 162-layer BiCS Flash. According to Kioxia at the time, compared with the fifth-generation technology, the horizontal cell array density of the sixth-generation technology has increased by 10%. Combined with 162-layer stacked vertical memory, the chip size can be reduced by 40% compared with 112-layer stacking technology. By adopting an array CMOS circuit layout and four-way simultaneous operation, the performance is improved by nearly 2.4 times compared to the previous generation, and the read latency is improved by 10%. I/O performance is also improved by 66%.