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back to article NAND flash chips to beat shrink wrap cash trap with 3D stack

Stacked 3D NAND chips will make up the majority of the flash chip market by 2017, eclipsing today's dominant chip-shrinking tech as flash makers cram ever-greater capacities into a smaller footprint, according to beancounters IHS. The tech analysts have produced a chart showing stacked or 3D NAND taking up just over two-thirds …

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Headmaster

".......using conventional planar semiconductor technology reaches its theoretical limit..........."

I feel that it is not simply nitpicking to wish to modify that sentence such that it reads as:

".......using conventional planar semiconductor technology based on silicon reaches its theoretical limit..........."

The limit here is after all being imposed by the physical-chemistry of that specific material - ie its crystal structure and consequent inter-atomic distances.

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This sort of reads as a bunch of analysts are guessing that the future will be 3D NAND and here's a graph proving it.

The graph doesn't prove anything. I think we can all agree that NAND shrinking has currently hit a road block. 3D NAND seems a practical way around this road block (until next time) but I didn't see any proof in the article that 3D NAND (one of many solutions) will prove the most popular and will make it into X many devices by such and such a date.

The graph may turn out to be right but I'd be interested to know what the analysts are using to produce these figures.

Perhaps I'm just being picky too.........

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Well it is guesswork, but it seems obvious from the article this is based on the fact that the next lithography generation will be as small as flash can practically go. So rather than follow to the next generation after that they'll stay on the same generation and be forced to go 3D. So as more foundries hit that limit and go 3D, more of the flash chips on sale will be 3D.

The graph does avoid the "what if they run into problems making 3D cheap enough?". If that happens, flash prices will stop falling because we'll be stuck with a fixed capacity of 2D flash rather than knowing that Moore's Law will give us 4x more capacity in the same flash chip every two years. 3D can't possibly be as cheap as using a smaller process, since more steps are required, so either way it is safe to assume that flash prices won't fall as quickly a few years from now as we've got used to happening in the past.

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