16nm and 3D - Futuristic Flash
Everyone was buzzing about second-generation 20nm Micron flash, L85, at LSI's AIS event. The same is true for Toshiba's second-generation 19nm flash, A19. This is flash though, and the next generation is always around the corner. Micron is already talking about 16nm NAND flash for future SSDs. We're not sure how many NAND die moving from 20nm to 16nm will add to each wafer, but reducing the manufacturing cost for the most expensive part in an SSD is always a good thing.
Samsung has its own ideas about NAND. Samsung's future is vertical. Stacked 24 cell layers high, V-NAND promises to increase performance and reduce power consumption; all while dipping below the company's current 19nm process.
In his The Memory Guy blog, Jim Handy created one of the best 3D NAND information repositories via a series on the subject. If you are interested in learning about 3D NAND and Samsung's new V-NAND, head over for a read.
By shifting from planar 2D NAND to a 3D technology, the pressure is instantly removed from lithographic scaling. Cost reduction is no longer solely determined by shrinking the horizontal patterns on the surface of the chip. Instead, it becomes a factor of how many transistors you can make in a single vertical string.
Although Samsung and Micron have new NAND in production, I don't expect to see 16nm until 2015 or Samsung V-NAND until Samsung SSD Global Summing mid-2014 (as long as neither company runs into issues).