Western Digital plans to begin mass production of 162-layer BiCS6 3D NAND, which could be used in PCIe 5-spec SSDs by the end of this year . The company is also developing more than 200 layers of NAND for data center storage, PLCs, and ways to bond multiple 3D NAND wafers together to increase the number of layers.
Together with partner Kioxia, Western Digital has just given us a glimpse of their roadmap for NAND development in the next few years. The company plans to launch its sixth-generation BiCS soon, which will feature 162-layer TLC and QLC structures.
That might not sound that impressive considering rivals like Micron have had 176-layer NAND for a while, but Western Digital claims they will make chips even smaller by using a new material to shrink the size of memory cells . This will allow them to make cheaper storage devices that perform just as well. Mass production of BiCS6 3D NAND is scheduled to begin in late 2022, and Western Digital plans to use the chips in products ranging from cheap USB drives to PCIe 5.0 solid-state drives .
Western Digital also talked about their upcoming BiCS+ flash memory with more than 200 layers, which will be available in 2024. Compared to BiCS6, it features 55% more bits per wafer, 60% faster transfer speed and 15% faster write speed. It’s worth noting that BiCS+ is only used for SSDs in data centers , as the company plans to offer a different grade of 2xx-layer NAND, dubbed BiCS-Y, for consumer storage.
Western Digital also shared that they are working on multiple technologies to increase density and capacity, including PLC, and they plan to build NAND with more than 500 layers in the next decade.
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