Recently, SK Hynix has announced that it starts sampling its 96-layer 4D NAND flash chips to its clients. These new samples include 1TB, Quad Level Cell (QLC) memory die, targeting next-generation and high-capacity QLC-based SSD products. Now, read this post to learn some details of this SK Hynix 96-Layer 4D NAND flash.

SK Hynix Starts Sampling 96-Layer 4D NAND Flash

SK Hynix Inc., a South Korean memory semiconductor provider, offers dynamic random-access memory chips and flash memory chips. And it is the world’s largest memory chipmaker and the world 3rd-largest semiconductor organization.

Last year, it introduced its new 96-layer 4D NAND flash technology, aimed at completing with similar 96-layer 3D NAND flash technologies of other storage technology providers. Its purpose was to allow transiting seamlessly to QLC flash technology with good enough reliability for most mainstream consumers.

Now, it has started sampling the long-awaited 1 TB 96-layer QLC NAND flash chip. In the following part, we will show you this memory.

SK Hynix 96-Layer 4D NAND Flash

The QLC technology can store four bits into a single flash cell, which means 33% more bits can be stored into a flash drive that has the same number of cells. With the 96-layer memory chips, the next-generation products can provide higher density.

Besides, the new 1TB chip will enable SSD makers to build higher capacity drives and take advantages of QLC’s higher bit density to bring down storage costs.

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The chip is based on the charge trap flash (CTF) design with the peripheral circuits under cells (PUC) architecture. The chip is officially named “4D NAND”. Here the logic including address decoding, page buffers, etc. is under the memory layers to cut down on the memory’s die size.

According to manufacturers, the usage of this architecture enables it to reduce die area of the chip by over 10% compared to the competition.

Like other SK Hynix’s 3D-V5 devices, the 96-layer 4D QLC NAND memory uses a 1.2 Gbps Toggle 3.0 I/O interface, which is faster than 3D-V4 generation products. Meanwhile, this new chip also features a 64 KB page size (the smallest area of the flash memory that can be written in a single operation) with 18 MB block size (the smallest area of the flash chip that can be erased in a single operation).

Compared to its predecessors, that further speeds up the performance of the new 3D-V5 devices. At last, the SK Hynix 96-Layer 4D QLC NAND uses quad-plane architecture.

Wallace Kou, chief executive of Taiwan-based solid-state drive firm Silicon Motion said that this company was impressed by the NAND’s performance and the sample of SK Hynix 96-layer 4D NAND flash met client SSD product requirements.

Plans of SK Hynix

SK Hynix is developing its own QLC software algorithm and an in-house designed controller/firmware next year. At the same time, it plans to launch its own QLC-based SSDs when demand for enterprise QLC NAND is expected to become meaningful, according to Han Joo Na, SK Hynix VP and head of NAND development strategy office.

Han Joo Na also states “In particular, we intend to establish a solid position in the market for high-density eSSD, which is replacing hard disk drives (HDD), with NAND Flash solutions as large as 16TB (terabytes) or larger.”

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