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Toshiba and SanDisk to start production of new 3D NAND Flash chip

Toshiba and SanDisk have announced they began production of the world’s first 256-gigabit, 3-bit per cell TLC, 48-layer BiCS (Bit Cost Scalable) flash chips. This news comes in after the partnership announcement made by both companies earlier this year in March when they began working on the 128-gigabit 3D NAND Flash chips in a new shared plant in Yokkaichi, Japan used exclusively for the research, development and production of 3D NAND storage solutions.

The new 256-gigabit flash chip uses 15nm lithography and it is expected for the final product to be competitively thin, making resulting products ideal for smartphones, tablets and laptop storage solutions, primarily Solid State Drives.

The main improvements will likely be seen in reliability and endurance mainly due to the 48-layer architecture.

Toshiba 3D NAND Chip
Toshiba’s new BiCS 256-gigabit 48-layer MLC 3D NAND Flash Chip

“From day one, Toshiba’s strategy has been to extend our floating gate technology, which features the world’s smallest 15nm 128Gb die. Our announcement of BiCS FLASH, the industry’s first 48-layer 3D technology, is very significant in that we are enabling a competitive, smooth migration to 3D flash memory – to support the storage market’s demand for ever-increasing densities.” said Scott Nelson, the senior VP of TAEC’s Memory Business Unit.

An arms race has begun between the main Flash memory manufacturers to get the most out of the ever cheapening NAND Flash technology, including Samsung which already launched proprietary chips after a 10-year research cycle. It will be interesting to follow where it will lead and what future limitations and hurdles may the manufacturers encounter.