Micron Technology: Producing the world’s first 232-layer NAND is a timely move. Here’s why

It is made to cater the most data-intensive use cases from client to cloud.
27 July 2022

Micron Technology cuts expenditure by 30%, warns of tougher times. Source: ThirdUnit/Shutterstock

  • Since Micron Technology is a leader in storage and memory, its 232-layer NAND proves its capability to drive the performance of storage solutions. 
  • The 232-layer NAND is made to address the challenges in storage that arise from the world creating an increasing amount of data.

NAND flash memory is a nonvolatile, solid-state storage media that has profoundly altered the tech industry over the 35 years of its existence. It is in fact now in most things around us, and is fundamental to the way data is stored in the modern world. Micron Technology, a leader in storage and memory, just began the production of the industry’s first 232-layer triple-level cell (TLC) NAND flash memory chip, possibly redefining the performance of storage solutions.

The 232-layer NAND, featuring the industry’s highest areal density, delivers higher capacity and improved energy efficiency over previous generations of Micron NAND. It is, as Micron Technology puts it, “to enable best-in-class support of the most data-intensive use cases from client to cloud.” Micron’s executive vice president of technology and product Scott DeBoer reckons that the company’s 232-layer NAND is a watershed moment for storage innovation.

To put into context how NAND has changed the way we use computers, smartphones wouldn’t be as small and compact as they are without NAND. According to experts, all new NAND today is modeled as 3D NAND–except for the NAND storage needed for legacy applications. That is because NAND is made on wafers–a very expensive commodity.

That said, the latest innovation by Micron Technology is also the first proof of the capability to scale 3D NAND to more than 200 layers in production. Basically, as the world generates more data, customers must expand their storage capacity and performance while reducing energy consumption and meeting more stringent environmental sustainability requirements. 

Micron’s 232-layer NAND technology therefore provides the high performance storage necessary to support advanced solutions and real-time services required especially in data center and automotive applications. It is also well suited for responsive, immersive experiences on mobile devices, consumer electronics and PCs.

Micron extends NAND leadership with the next-generation 232-layer NAND technology that will enable faster, higher-capacity storage solutions.

Micron extends NAND leadership with the next-generation 232-layer NAND technology that will enable faster, higher-capacity storage solutions. Source: Micron Technology

Micron Technology also shared that its latest technology node enables the introduction of the industry’s fastest NAND I/O speed ‒ 2.4 gigabytes per second (GB/s) ‒ to meet the low latency and high-throughput needs of data-centric workloads such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, unstructured databases and real-time analytics, and cloud computing.

That speed represents a 50% faster data transfer than the fastest interface enabled on Micron’s 176- layer node. On top of that, Micron 232-layer NAND also delivers up to 100% higher write bandwidth and more than 75% higher read bandwidth per die than the previous generation. “These per-die benefits translate to performance and energy efficiency gains in SSDs and embedded NAND solutions,” the memory chip giant said in a statement today.

The 232-layer NAND is also the world’s first six-plane TLC production NAND, which means it has the most planes per die of any TLC flash and features independent read capability in each plane. “The combination of high I/O speed, read and write latency, and Micron’s six-plane architecture provides best-in-class data transfers in many configurations. This structure ensures fewer collisions between write and read commands and drives system-level quality-of-service improvements,” it added.

DeBoer highlights how such groundbreaking technology required “extensive innovation, including advanced process capabilities to create high aspect ratio structures, novel materials advancements and leading-edge design enhancements that build on our market-leading 176-layer NAND technology.”

To put it simply, the breakthrough capabilities of this NAND by Micro Technology will enable customers to deliver more innovative solutions in data centers, thinner and lighter laptops, the latest mobile devices, and across the intelligent edge. Currently, Micron’s 232-layer NAND is in volume production in the company’s Singapore fab. The company said it is initially shipping to customers in component form and through its Crucial SSD consumer product line.