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NAND Market Hits Speed Bump

SemiConductor Engineering By:MARK LAPEDUS
June 21, 2017

Transition from planar to 3D NAND is harder and more time-consuming than expected.

"NAND flash memory’s transition from 2D to 3D technology has enabled enterprise SSD capacities already exceeding that of enterprise HDDs," according to Forward Insights. "The introduction of QLC (four-bit-per-cell) technology is expected to drive SSD capacities even higher."

"Generally, the move to 64-/72-layers has been challenging due to the increased capex intensity and slower yield ramp," said Greg Wong, an analyst with Forward Insights. "The yields are improving. Could they be better? Yes, but I don’t see it as being a showstopper."

"Increasing the number of layers is getting more challenging, but there’s at least four to five more generations to go for 3D NAND," Wong said. "You also get a huge jump in bits per wafer going from 2D to 3D NAND, but a lesser one going from one 3D NAND generation to the next. If you just relied on 3D-to-3D NAND conversions, it may not be enough to meet the demand. So there may be a need for some capacity increases beyond 2018."

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