SK hynix kick-starts mass production of world’s first 1Tb 4D NAND flash

By Song Su-hyun
  • Published : Jun 26, 2019 - 16:20
  • Updated : Jun 26, 2019 - 16:20

SK hynix announced Wednesday it has started mass-producing 1-terabit NAND chips using its proprietary 4D platform to offer the industry’s largest memory storage capacity.

According to the South Korean memory chip maker, the world’s first 128-layer triple-level cell 4D NAND chips with 1Tb storage will be released in the market in the second half of the year. 

The world’s first 128-layer 4D NAND chip by SK hynix, offering the largest memory storage of 1 terabit, is slated for shipments in the second half of this year. (SK hynix)

(SK hynix)

The company highlighted that the 128-layer 4D NAND flash has become available for commercial use just eight months after the chipmaker announced the 96-layer predecessor last year, due to its efficient research and development efforts and investments, despite a slowdown in the memory market.

The 128-layer TLC 4D NAND chip offers the industry’s highest vertical stacking with more than 360 billion NAND cells -- each of which stores 3 bits -- per chip. It increases bit productivity per wafer by 40 percent compared to the 96-layer 4D NAND.

With four-plane architecture in a single chip, this product has achieved a data transfer rate of 1,400 megabits per sec at 1.2 voltage, enabling high-performance and low-power mobile solutions and enterprise solid state drives, according to the chipmaker.

With the 128-layer 4D NAND technology, the number of NAND chips needed for a high-end 5G-enabled smartphone will be halved, which could help manufacturers design thinner phones. It would be possible to build a 2-terabyte 5G-enabled smartphone with just 16 128-layer 1Tb 4D NAND chips.

Other competitors have provided 96-layer 1Tb NAND chips using the quadruple level cell technology. However, it is the first time that SK hynix has started offering 1Tb memory storage with the industry’s mainstream TLC technology.

To achieve this, SK hynix applied innovative technologies -- such as ultra-homogeneous vertical etching technology, high-reliability multilayer thin-film cell formation technology and an ultrafast low-power circuit design -- to its own 4D NAND platform that was successfully developed last year. 

(SK hynix)

The company’s 4D platform technology has enabled stacking 32 more layers on the existing 96-layer NAND by reducing the total number of manufacturing processes by 5 percent, it said.

As a result, SK hynix could cut down the technology transition cost from 96 to 128 layers by 60 percent.

“SK hynix has secured the fundamental competitiveness of its NAND business with this 128-layer 4D NAND,” said Executive Vice President Oh Jong-hoon.

“With this product, with the industry’s best stacking and density, we will provide customers with a variety of solutions at the right time.”

By Song Su-hyun (