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[Tech Day 2022] Expanding Storage Solutions with NAND Flash Technology

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Since becoming the first company to develop and manufacture V-NAND in 2013 – and changing the memory industry in the process – Samsung has quickly established itself as a market leader with a reputation for developing highly effective TLC SSDs. Now, 10 years since introducing V-NAND to the world, Samsung is proud to now launch V-NAND’s 8th generation (V8). During that time, NAND flash has seen massive growth thanks to the four core values that define Samsung’s V-NAND products. The first, bit growth, is essential for AI, autonomous driving, 5G, and cloud services, all of which require greater productivity. The second, performance, relates to our increased need for speedy performance the more we utilize devices in our daily lives. The third value is power consumption, addresses the need for longer battery life, while the fourth, quality, is especially important because the higher the quality of the product is, the more time and effort are saved in terms of quality assurance. These values directly relate to TCO (total cost of ownership) and have had a direct hand in NAND flash’s growth. Today, V-NAND stacks are 10 times higher than they were when Samsung first entered the market, jumping from 24 to 236 layers, while bit density is 15 times greater. V-NAND speeds have nearly doubled in recent years, starting with V2 TLC, and I/O speeds are three times faster. Both 1Tb and 512Gb V8 V-NAND options have emerged to meet growing market demand. And now, Samsung is preparing the industry’s highest capacity 1Tb TLC for mass production available to customers by the end of the year .
The yearly increase in bit growth and high-performance trend graph of Samsung Electronics V-NAND
The yearly increase in bit growth and high-performance trend graph of Samsung Electronics V-NAND
Combining value and performance with TLC The industry has officially entered the “cell over peripheral” (COP) era – a crucial moment for the development of high-density products. Entire peripheral arrays need to be fit underneath cell arrays, which is challenging because a 512-cell array shrinks faster than a peripheral one. Samsung has managed to overcome those challenges and improve bit density by 42% by developing the industry’s highest bit density 512 TLC solution. Samsung’s goal in achieving this is not only to provide the industry’s best bit density, but also products that perform at the highest level. Samsung has already achieved a top-level V8 I/O speed of 2.4Gbps – a 20% increase over V7 . With data centers increasingly relying on technologies like AI and machine learning, these high-speed interfaces are becoming more important than ever.
Each new generation of NAND inevitably brings a rise in energy consumption. With energy efficiency becoming increasingly important in the industry, Samsung is addressing this issue with technical improvements to V8. The company successfully reduced read and write power consumption by roughly 14% and is determined to continue leading the industry in low-power products. For V9 V-NAND, that means massively improving bit density, decreasing power demands, and maintaining I/O speeds with a more advanced multi-hole scheme. Driving new markets with QLC With TLC’s growth rate slowing down, Samsung has been hard at work preparing for the transition to QLC (quad-level cell). Its efforts are redefining the limits of QLC performance. V7 QLC read speeds have risen 2.1 times compared to V5, and Samsung’s introduction of TLC buffering technology has reduced TLC writes by 10%. Samsung is applying those incredible advancements to the development of V9 QLC, opening the door for more than 80% greater bit density. V9 QLC will be a truly high-speed interface with significantly improved I/O speeds in the range of 2.4Gbps. It will also open the door to a new market with TLC-comparable performance and help expand NAND’s overall growth.
Samsung Electronics V-NAND QLC bit density, read throughput, IO speed improvement trend graph
Samsung Electronics V-NAND QLC bit density, read throughput, IO speed improvement trend graph
Samsung plans to begin mass production of V9 QLC by 2024 and will continue to offer products that meet the demands of both the QLC and TLC markets. This will help ensure that customers have a solution for any challenge they may face. Unlocking a future beyond 1,000 stacks Since the development of V-NAND, its bit density has continued to grow. That growth will stall unless the industry eventually finds a way to create stacks exceeding 1,000 layers . Drawing from its industry-leading expertise, Samsung has set its sights on developing 1,000-layer stack technology by 2030. It already possesses the industry’s most advanced etch technology and will continue to enhance it to address the stack challenge while working closely with its partners. Samsung has also taken steps to optimize stacks and boost cell performance. This includes efforts to lower stack height to tackle issues related to mold leaning that come with increasing thickness. It also involves developing new technology to prevent cell current decreases and addressing interference among cells caused by slimming unit molds. In addition, Samsung has been preparing an I/O speed roadmap for PCIe based on its 1,000-layer technology, and is exploring new ways to increase power optimization ratios while reducing power consumption .
Performance Roadmap
IO Speed
Samsung Electronics V-NAND input-output speed roadmap
Samsung Electronics V-NAND input-output speed roadmap
Write power
Samsung Electronics V-NAND write power improvement trend graph by generation
Samsung Electronics V-NAND write power improvement trend graph by generation
Maximizing product integrity Quality management will always be vital for success. Whereas, the focus was mainly on cell array management in the pre-V-NAND world, the goal in the V-NAND era was to create the industry’s highest-quality cell array using the HARC process. Now, as we enter the COP era, quality management of peripheral arrays has become just as important. This is an area where Samsung, as the only company to combine foundry, logic, DRAM and NAND , holds a clear advantage. Drawing from its technical expertise in both foundry and logic, Samsung aims to take peripheral array management to new heights. Samsung has gathered vast amounts of data from data centers, enterprise SSDs, mobile, automotive, and other applications, and is using such data to build unparalleled data science inspection technologies covering everything from quality control to deep learning-based anomaly detection and characteristic optimization. These technologies have helped Samsung improve defect rates in various products by 80% . Having immediate control over data has also allowed Samsung to continuously enhance its NAND solutions’ quality, ultimately achieving the highest level of quality in the industry . Samsung is ready to usher in a new era of NAND innovation by listening closely to its customers, understanding their needs, and providing solutions to support their success. Doing so will not only help customers grow their business and advance their technologies, but will also ensure that they are prepared for what will come.

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