SK Hynix’s first 238-layer memory boasts 50% faster SSD speeds, but c’mon it’s not really 4D is it?

SK Hynix can be considered an everyday hero with its latest 238-layer 4D NAND Flash memory announcement. Why? Because it’s promised to bring the new Flash memory straight to consumer SSDs for our home installations.

Competitor, Micron, on the other hand, recently announced that its own new 232-layer memory will be limited to enterprise machines at launch. In short, the memory solution of the common people will be more impressive than what the corpos will pack.

Enter the world’s first 512Gb (that’s gigabit, not gigabyte) triple level cell (TLC) 4D NAND flash memory – arriving on our desks sometime in early 2023. SK Hynix has aimed for the tallest NAND stack ever designed, following the company’s successes with its 176-layer NAND memory solution in late 2020.

Although it has 62 layers on its predecessor, the design still manages to fit into an impressively minimal form factor. In fact, it’s the smallest NAND product we’ve seen, although SK Hynix has managed to improve the power efficiency, data transfer rates and overall productivity of the current standard.

A press release from SK Hynix (opens in new tab) Overall productivity of the new design has increased by 34% over the previous generation 176-layer model, along with 50% faster data transfer rates of 2.4Gb per second over the previous 1.6Gbps. It also promises 1TB versions next year – that’s a whopping 128GB of storage on a single small chip.

The company has made some steady improvements compared to its last generation leap, with its 176-layer technology citing only a 33% increase in data transfer. (opens in new tab) speeds over its 128-layer technology.

‘When you think about it, everything is 4D’ – probably the marketing department of SK Hynix

What may stumble some of you is where SK Hynix gets off with the use of the term 4D (opens in new tab). Does the company really think there is a magical fourth dimension that will help them create more efficient technology? Of course not. The terminology refers to the use of charge trap flash (CTF) designs in their layering, placing the peripheral circuitry below the cell stack, rather inventively known as periphery under cell (PUC) technology.

This is by no means something new; Samsung, Toshiba and Western Digital have all been using this method for a while. What’s new is how many layers the company has managed to capture in such a small space.

We’ll have to wait and see if 2023 is the year when SSD cooler demand skyrockets, but until then we can only thank SK Hynix for putting the average PC gamer first, rather than reaching first. for servers, like Micron is (opens in new tab).

Leave a Comment