New NAND flash paves the way for super cheap, extra large SSDs

SK hynix NAND
(Image credit: SK hynix)

SK hynix has developed new 4D NAND flash with a huge 238 layers, paving the way for rapid and capacious new SSDs, the company has announced.

Unveiled on stage at Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, the new memory chip is described as the “world’s first 238-layer 512Gb TLC 4D NAND” and is expected to enter mass production in the first half of 2023. 

Compared with the previous 176-layer model, the new NAND is said to offer 50% faster data transfer speeds (at 2.4Gb/sec), 21% greater energy efficiency for data reads and a 34% increase in overall productivity.

The arrival of the 238-layer product will see SK hynix snatch the record for world’s highest NAND stack from rival manufacturer Micron, whose latest model features a measly 232 layers.

238-layer 4D NAND flash

NAND flash is a type of non-volatile memory that features in all kinds of storage devices, from memory cards, USB sticks and portable drives to SSDs for servers and client devices.

The general trend in NAND flash development is towards a reduction in cost per capacity and an increase storage density, effectively eliminating the last remaining use cases for traditional hard disk drives. The arrival of the 238-layer product from SK hynix marks another step in this journey.

Unlike other NAND products on the market, the latest chips in the company’s range feature a “4D” architecture, whereby the logic circuits are placed beneath the storage cells. SK hynix says this design allows for a “smaller cell area per unit, leading to higher production efficiency”.

“SK hynix secured global top-tier competitiveness in perspective of cost, performance and quality by introducing the 238-layer product based on its 4D NAND technologies,” said Jungdal Choi, Head of NAND Development at SK hynix. 

Perhaps contrary to expectation, the new 238-layer NAND will first make its way to client devices, which will give content creators and PC gamers cause for excitement. Only later will the new chip come to smartphones and high-capacity servers.

SK hynix also revealed it is developing a 1Tb 238-layer product, which will double the storage density of the latest chip when it arrives next year. “We will continue innovations to find breakthroughs in technological challenges,” added Choi.

Via Blocks and Files

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.