China’s YMTC confirms lead in 3D NAND flash memory

Technology News |
By Peter Clarke

Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. Ltd. (Wuhan, China), has produced and deployed a 232-layer NAND flash memory ahead of rivals, according to Tech Insights.

Intellectual property and product analysis company Tech Insights commented: “At their current rate of innovation, YMTC is poised to be the uncontested global NAND flash technology leader before 2030.”

‘Tear-down’ specialist Tech Insights has found an example of an YMTC (Xtacking 3.0) 232-layer 1TBit triple-level cell memory in a 2Tbyte solid-state drive from HikVision/HikSemi. The memory has a simplified manufacturing process with up to six asynchronous multi-plane independent (AMPI) operations and center-of-die X-decoder, Tech Insights said.

The SSD is from HikVision while HikSemi is reponsible for packaging up eight 1Tbit die from YMTC into a 1Tbyte component. The component is markted HikSemi.

Tech Insights tear down reveals a YMTC die – named EET1A – that measures 12.6mm by 5.4mm with an in-plane word-line pitch of 48nm and bit-line pitch of 39mm. This compares with a 12.0mm by 5.0mm die and 58nm and 39nm, respective pitches, on the previous 128-layer 512Gbit device from YMTC.

YMTC was founded in July 2016 and has made rapid progress in developing 3D NAND flash arguably overtaking its rivals – Samsung, SK Hynix, Micron Technology and Kioxia, Western Digital – back in 2020 (see China’s YMTC takes lead in 3D-NAND memory). YMTC was in discussions to supply Apple with 3D NAND flash for iPhones although that arrangement has reportedly been under scrutiny by US authorities and may have been prevented (see Advanced logic, memory, YMTC come under China export controls).

Micron announced mass production of its 232-layer NAND flash memory in July 2022 (see Micron ships 232-layer NAND flash memory). SK Hynix announced its 238-layer NAND flash at the Flash Memory Summit in 2022 with mass production scheduled to start in 1H23. Tech Insights said Samsung is still preparing to mass produce its 8th generation V-NAND Memory which will feature 2xx layers, after sampling V-NAND with more than 200 layers in mid-2021.

Regardless of whether YMTC can sell to Apple or others in the west, or not, the latest find from Tech Insights shows YMTC achieving technical firsts despite Covid-19 lockdowns, geo-political challenges and sanctions.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

China’s YMTC takes lead in 3D-NAND memory

Advanced logic, memory, YMTC come under China export controls

Micron ships 232-layer NAND flash memory



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