Friday, December 30, 2016

QLC or 96L 3D NAND... which is better

As we look into the future, one question is:
"What is the best way to scale costs in 3D NAND?"... more layers or more bits per cell?

The assumption is that we will keep adding layers, use string stacking as needed. We also will go to QLC or 4Bits per cell. We will do both. In reality companies have to decide where to focus efforts and jumping to increased layers and QLC at the same time might be difficult to engineer and market.

String stacking adds wafer cost and die size. QLC could control both but will limit write and potentially read performance even lower than TLC. Going from 64L to 96 adds theoretical 50% more bits. Going from TLC to QLC adds theoretical 33% more bits.

Cost estimates based on a 768Gb die in 2018 production are available with scenarios favoring one or the other based on yields and die size estimates. Details are available with all the numbers and yields and cost.... but most scenarios show that QLC will need design changes to prevent reduced performance to stay competitive.

MKW Ventures Consulting, LLC

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Top 5 NAND and NVM Myths for the New Year

Top 5 NVM and NAND Myths for the New Year

1) NAND prices are dropping and SSDs will be cheaper per GB than HDDs soon.
REALITY: NAND prices were dropping … now flat to going up. HDD prices are dropping. SSDs are still 5-7x more expensive per GB.... and the gap really isn't closing very fast. NAND prices over time will drop 25% per year and HDD prices will drop 10-15%. No crossover coming soon. Whether consumers will take a 256GB SSD over a 1TB HDD will be decided in 2017... place your bets (I have mine placed and can tell you what is happening)

2) NAND SSDs have instant on capability
REALITY: NAND SSDs do boot faster. 50% faster to be exact. But it still takes significant time from power off. Are consumers willing to pay for 20-30 seconds of time per day? NVMe 3DXP and RRAM SSDs will boot even faster. It will take 10 seconds for them vs 15 for a NAND SSD and 30 for an HDD. Boot times

3) 3D Xpoint will replace NAND in next 2 years:
REALITY: 3D Xpoint and the technology behind it are faster and have advantages. But we always knew that new technologies ramp much slower than original commits from the inventor. Sometimes they never ramp. 3D Xpoint is behind Intel’s original schedule (but actually is matched to Micron’s original schedule), so be patient. NAND is lower cost today and tomorrow but RRAM and 3DXP will give it some competition 3 years from now (See my article on RRAM Cost)

4) 3D NAND will cut costs dramatically
REALITY: 3D NAND will reduce costs by 25% per year over planar. Which is exactly the trend for Planar for the last 10 years (FYI: DRAM costs dropped 30% per year). So 3D lets memory cost scale like it always has scaled… assuming companies have a successful, mature 3D NAND Process. TLC 3D Ramp is the big thing in 2017. I have exact bit% and cost numbers as well.

5) Multiple New companies will enter NAND/NVM market
REALITY: New companies will be <3% of the market 3 years from now. NAND is hard, 3D NAND is really hard, getting it cost effective is nearly impossible. Give credit to the existing companies that contribute >99% of the NAND bits, they evolved and do a great job. New companies in China have huge advantage in capital, but until they get technology from a current industry leader, they won’t have a decent technology. If they sign a JV with Micron, Hynix, WD… that would be different (call me about whether that is going to happen)

3D NAND, TLC, More SSDs in 2017… it will be interesting

MKW Ventures Consulting, LLC

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Update on FMS 2016 Predictions Part 1

At Flash Memory Summit (FMS) 2016, I was on a panel making predictions. its been over 3 months... Update part 1

SSD cost/GB drop 25% per year (On track!) 
Prices 25% or more  (Off track for now... but just wait... )
TLC becomes dominant in all SDDs 
Client and Enterprise/Datacenter (On track! ... Most SSDs in development today for both enterprise and Client are TLC)
Cloud/Hyperscale becomes dominate SSD market (On track. They are building tons of SSDs that are not counted in most market statistics)
Formfactors cost optimized for SSD applications
M.2 for all applications (On track. Client is there, Datacenter is work on implementations)
BGA for Phone/ultramobile, Notebooks (On track … Multiple Example Notebooks from multiple SSD vendors in 2017. Then market acceptance in 2018+)

SCM memory has multiple suppliers and technologies for >$1B market (On track … in 2018/19 ... but the winner might not be who you were expecting)

Mark Webb

Monday, November 28, 2016

3D Xpoint, Optane, RRAM Status and Forecast

Predictions for 3DXP and RRAM were presented at FMS in August 2016.

All the predictions are holding. We  are even getting updates on 3DXP delays and potential products

3DXP costs, RRAM costs, why they are great and whether they can compete with NAND.

All the details are here. call for more information!


MKW Ventures Consulting, LLC

Business of NAND: Markets, costs, forecasts ... presentation available

I presented this presentation at FMS in August 2016. So far, the predictions are holding up...

3D NAND is growing methodically

3D Xpoint hype continues... products are getting delayed. RRAM and other competitors catching up.

SSDs are slowly encroaching in on HDDs... but we are years from SSDs outselling HDDs.

Enterprise is the best SSD application, but the volumes are relatively low so client SSDs dominate unit sales

We can make a SSD on a 16x20 BGA chip. Now we just need to get PC OEMs to adopt them. All the speed and lower cost in a space less than 1/3 the size of a small M.2

Costs, volumes, company revenues and more!

See presentation here

MKW Ventures Consulting, LLC

Monday, July 25, 2016

FMS 2016: Status and Forecast for New NVM Technologies

FMS 2016: Status and Forecast for New NVM Technologies

We have been predicting the replacement for NAND since NAND was first invented.

We update the status of major NVM technologies.

Cost for 3DXP, RRAM vs DRAM and NAND
market size
milestones to look for if these are to replace existing memory technologies.

Will these technologies impact the cost and performance of our storage and memory systems?

Will 3DXP match NAND on Cost or DRAM on performance?

Contact us for more information

Mark Webb
Mark AT mkwventures DOT com

FMS 2016: The Business of NAND

The Business of NAND- Trends, Forecast and Challenges

NAND and SSDs continue to be among the fastest changing markets in technology.

New memories
New SSD architectures
Increased SSD adoption rates
Some businesses shrinking at a fast rate and being replaced by new opportunities

We will present on all of these areas in an invited talk at Flash Memory Summit 2016.

What will the cost of NAND and SSDs be in 2018.
Will 3D NAND replace Planar NAND
What is the SSD architecture and Who will make the controllers?
Will HDDs have a future
What are the challenges that will impact the roadmap for the next 5 years.

Come to the presentation and find out. Follow up with Mark and Rahul after the session for more detailed discussion.

Mark Webb
MKW Ventures
mark AT mkwventures DOT com