SK Hynix, the local South Korean rival to Samsung (semiconductor), announced the start of production of the world’s first 128-layer NAND chips which is a triple-level cell (TLC), 1-terabit part.
This is the fundamental building block for SSD (solid state drives) and doing so will allow Hynix, the fifth largest chip maker, to improve its forecasts for year’s end.
The company leapfrogged rivals by using a proprietary four-dimensional (4D) NAND technology, an extraordinary feat given that it announced its 96-layer chip only in November 2018.
The chip maker also confirmed that it has improved the bit productivity per wafer, reduced the manufacturing process needed to churn these chips out and started work on an even denser, 176-layer chip.
This translates into cheaper production costs and ultimately (and hopefully), a cheaper price tag for the end user.
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No corners cut
The previous generation of ultra cheap SSD devices was made possible by the arrival of 3D NAND Flash. The ADATA Ultimate SU650, the Silicon Power Ace A55 or the Team Group L5 Lite owe their affordability to this technology.
With a full six months before the lucrative Christmas period, we can expect the 1TB SSD barrier to fall below $50 in the US (about £40, or AU$70) as a glut of chips (due to excess inventory) and SK Hynix’s deliberate attempts to capture marketshare push down prices even further.
The current price champion is the Pioneer 1TB SSD which can be had for $82.50 (about £65, or AU$118) when purchased in packs of 10 from Amazon. Hopefully we'll see even lower prices soon.
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