Toshiba has announced that the company has begun shipping samples of its third-generation 3D NAND flash memory chips. The technology allows packing 64 layers of flash cells for an increased capacity by 65 percent in comparison with the previous generation technology using just 48 layers.
Toshiba To Produce 1TB 3D Flash Memory Chip
According to Computerworld, the new chips are part of the BiCS flash product line. The third-generation 3D NAND flash technology leads to a reduction of cost-per-bit and increases memory capacity per silicon wafer. The new Toshiba flash memory chips can store 3 bits of data per cell, leading to the ability to store 64 GB or 512 gigabits (Gb) per chip.
According to company's website, BiCS FLASH is a three-dimensional (3D) flash memory stacked cell structure that is suitable for applications requiring performance and high capacity. Among its applications include enterprise and consumer solid state drives (SSD). Toshiba has already a wide range of offering included in its own SSD portfolio.
The Japanese company continues to refine its BiCS FLASH offerings, as a 3D flash memory leader. Toshiba's BiCS flash lineup also includes a 64-layer 256 Gb (32 gigabyte) offering, in addition to the new 512 Gb chip. The 64-layer 256 Gb chip is already in mass production.
The company announced recently that construction has begun on a new memory-focused R&D center and a new state-of-the-art semiconductor fabrication facility called Fab 6, at Yokkaichi Operations in Mie Prefecture, Japan. Company's BiCS flash memory products will be manufactured by the Fab 6 new fabrication facility.
The company has scheduled mass production of the new 512 Gb chip devices for the second half of 2017. Thanks to this new technology, Toshiba will also be able to create a 1 TB chip for enterprise and consumer SSDs. This will be the next milestone in the BiCS flash development roadmap.
A 1 TB product with a 16-die stacked architecture in a single package is expected to become the industry's highest capacity chip. It will provide a memory capacity equivalent to 16 of the 64 GB chips. Samples of the 1 TB chip are scheduled to begin shipping in April.
Toshiba Still Undecided About Selling Its Memory Business
Toshiba is the company that invented NAND flash in the early 1980s. Last month, the Japanese tech giant announced that it's considering selling off its memory business, including the 3D BiCS technology line, as the company struggle to cope with a massive impairment loss in its U.S. nuclear power unit. However, on Friday, Feb. 24, the company announced that it is still undecided about the sale of its memory business.
SK Hynix, Micron and Foxconn are among the companies bidding to purchase Toshiba's memory business. Toshiba had planned to sell off less than 20 percent of the memory business' shares, when the move was first announced in January. However, at a board meeting on Feb. 23, the company said that it might approve the sale of a more than 50 percent stake.
The Japanese electronics giant's fundraising ability and solvency are presently in doubt because of a huge loss related to the nuclear plant purchase and a $1.9 billion accounting scandal. These financial problems are greatly affecting the growth of its memory business.