Micron announced a triple-bit-per-cell (TLC) version of its 16nm NAND flash memory. The new TLC memory takes up 28 percent less space and is targeted towards applications where cost per GB is the most important consideration, such as USB flash drives and consumer solid state disks. Micron says key customers have already begun to integrate the 16nm TLC NAND into their latest products. It will be interesting to see if Micron's TLC has better long-term reliability than the TLC offered by Samsung.
Today, Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq:MU) announced a new addition to its expansive portfolio of flash storage products, providing a purpose-built solution for cost-sensitive consumer applications seeking high performance and reliability. The new TLC NAND is built on their 16-nanometer (nm) process and delivers a balanced set of features for applications like USB drives and consumer solid state drives. The market appetite for TLC is projected to be strong throughout 2015, constituting almost half of the total NAND gigabytes shipped.
Micron's 16nm process—recognized by TechInsights as the Most Innovative Memory Device and 2014 Semiconductor of the Year—is a mature and proven storage technology, making it an excellent foundation for a reliable TLC design. TLC, or triple-level cell, is a technology that fits three bits in every flash data cell, creating greater cost and size efficiency.
Customers of the technology will benefit from Micron's extensive design support team, who act as trusted advisors to ensure smooth qualification and optimal end-solution performance. Key flash customers and ecosystem partners worldwide have already begun working to integrate this new NAND with their latest designs, ensuring quick adoption in end applications.
"Our new TLC NAND technology meets the ever-rising demand for reliable high-capacity storage," said Kevin Kilbuck, director of NAND planning at Micron. "We see 16nm TLC as an excellent solution for 2015 consumer applications as we drive toward 3D NAND TLC production in 2016."
The new TLC part adds to Micron's comprehensive portfolio of flash products, which spans four process generations and multiple technologies to ensure focused solutions for almost any application imaginable—everything from consumer and mobile to enterprise, embedded, and automotive markets. The new 16GB TLC NAND is in production and available now. Micron has been sampling multiple partners, which will enable consumer SSD solutions based on this technology to come to market this fall. Micron also expects to release its own TLC-based client SSD in that timeframe.