SK Hynix Outs Engineering Samples of Terabyte-Level Solutions Based on a 128-Layer 4D NAND

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The era of Terabyte (TB) memory is arriving with the innovative development of NAND Flash technology. SK hynix delivered thefirst  samples of its solution products based on its 128-layer 4D NAND (chip’s logic circuitry is placed underneath the flash cells adding a layer).

SK hynix delivered the engineering samples of its Terabyte-level high-density solutions based on the 128-layer 1Tb (Terabit) CTF (Charge Trap Flash) based 4D NAND Flash to major customers this month. These include 1TB UFS 3.1, 2TB cSSD (client SSD), and 16TB E1.L eSSD (enterprise SSD). SK hynix succeeded in the mass production of the 128-layer 1Tb TLC NAND for the first time in the industry in June 2019. A small chip size of the SK hynix’s 4D NAND allows ultra-low power and ultra-thin solution products of TB level of capacity.

In November this year, SK hynix provided engineering samples of its 1TB UFS 3.1, based on the 128- layer 1Tb 4D NAND, to major smartphone manufacturers. As the number of chips required to realize 1TB product has halved compared with using 512Gb NAND, the 1TB could be produced with a package thickness of only 1mm, which is optimal for ultra-thin 5G smartphones. Smartphones equipped with this product are expected to be mass-produced around the second half of the next year.

This product adopted a new feature called Write Booster, which is the industry’s new standard, and SK hynix’s in-house controller and firmware, doubling the sequential write performance. Thanks to this, one 4K UHD film of 15GB (gigabyte) can be downloaded in only 20 seconds. 

2TB SSD targets slim laptops and gaming PCs that require higher specifications. In this product, the 128-
layer 1Tb TLC NAND Flash which realized a data transfer rate of 1,200Mbps (Megabits/sec) at only 1.2V is combined with SK hynix’s own controller where Hardware Automation technology was applied, delivering the best performance in PCIe Gen3 platforms. The 2TB sample delivered to customers this time realized the industry’s best power efficiency by lowering 6W in the previous 96-layer SSD product to 3W. After customer qualification, this product is expected to be used by major PC manufacturers from the first half of 2020.

Meanwhile, SK hynix’s 16TB eSSD in new standard E1.L form factor, based on the cost competitive 128-layer 1Tb TLC NAND, is a PCIe standard product supporting the latest NVMe 1.4 protocol. It is expected that the mass-production of this product will begin from the second half of next year. This product can store more than 1,000 4K UHD movies of 15GB each. Moreover, by applying SK-hynix’s in-house controller and firmware, this product features a sequential read of 3,400MB/s and a sequential write of 3,000MB/s.

“128-layer 1Tb 4D NAND boasts the industry’s highest density, best performance, and even cost competitiveness,” said Vice President Han Joo Na, Head of NAND Development Strategy. “By accelerating the business of 128 layer NAND solutions, which provides high productivity and investment efficiency, SK hynix is reinforcing its competitiveness of the NAND business.”

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