Toshiba and Sandisk announced plans to build a 16-17 nm NAND memory chip manufacturing plant together. The companies are in a joint venture called Flash Forward that’s currently making 19 nm NAND chips found in SSDs of Corsair, Plextor, OWC, Mushkin and in SSDs of both brands themselves. Together they invest a whopping amount of $4 billion in factory in the Japanese city Yokkaichi.
The companies recently announced they started producing second generation 19 nm toggle NAND that will likely find its way in drives to be released in the near future. Production of the 16-17 nm chips will start in the next fiscal year which means we won’t see drives using chips from this factory anytime soon.
All NAND manufacturers are currently looking for new ways of scaling NAND, so get more chips from the same wafer. This makes the chips cheaper but results in more technical challenges to overcome.
Yesterday we reported that Samsung has started mass production of 3D NAND and that another company is developing RRAM which should become a successor to NAND as we know it all. All companies are searching for ways to make NAND cheaper, more reliable and increase the performance of the chips. As Toshiba is developing multi-layer (3D) BiCS NAND, it’s likely that this fab will produce this type of NAND, in order for Toshiba and Sandisk to remain competitive to e.g. Samsung with their 3D NAND technology.
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