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Toshiba Readies World's First 256GB, 48-Layer BiCS Flash

The new 256 GB device is suited for diverse applications, including consumer SSDs, smartphones, tablets, memory cards, and enterprise SSDs for data centers.

On the heels of Intel-Micron's July 28 introduction of 3D XPoint memory processors, Toshiba America Electronic Components has unveiled its own new generation of multi-level memory chips: the BiCS flash, a three-dimensional (3D) stacked cell structure flash memory.

BiCS (Bit Cost Scalable) flash is considered within the industry as one of the most promising candidates for future ultra-high-density storage devices.

Toshiba is billing the new chip, introduced Aug. 3, as the world's first 256GB, 48-layer BiCS flash device. It also deploys a 3-bit-per-cell TLC (triple-level cell) architecture. Sample shipments will start in September, the company said.

BiCS flash is based on a leading-edge 48-layer stacking process that surpasses the capacity of mainstream two dimensional NAND flash memory while enhancing write/erase reliability endurance and boosting write speeds.

The new 256GB device is suited for diverse applications, including consumer solid-state drives (SSDs), smartphones, tablets, memory cards, and enterprise SSDs for data centers.

Since unveiling the prototype BiCS flash technology in June 2007, Toshiba has continued development toward optimization for mass production. To meet expected demand in the flash memory market in 2016 and beyond, Toshiba is proactively encouraging migration to BiCS flash by rolling out a product portfolio that emphasizes large capacity applications, such as SSDs (solid-state disks).

"Toshiba's strategy has been to extend our floating gate technology, which features the world's smallest 15nm 128GB die," Scott Nelson, senior vice president of TAEC's Memory Business Unit, said in a press statement. "Our announcement of BiCS flash, the industry's first 48-layer 3D technology, is very significant in that we are enabling a competitive, smooth migration to 3D flash memory–to support the storage market's demand for ever-increasing densities."

Toshiba has a long-standing commitment to flash memory, and is currently readying for mass production of BiCS flash in the new Fab2 at Yokkaichi Operations, its production site for NAND flash memories. Fab2 will be completed in the first half of 2016.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...