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

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