Sunday, December 28, 2014

3D NAND.... what we know

3D NAND/ VNAND .... what we know

Lots of things are unclear in NAND technology. But we know at least 3 things today.

1) 3D NAND is a complex, expensive replacement to planar NAND that all vendors have committed to. It may or may not be cost effective.... it may or may not lead to increased performance and endurance... but its coming.

2) Samsung is shipping 3D NAND in multiple SSD applications from consumer to enterprise. Exact volumes are unknown, but we are talking million+ SSDs next year... not thousands. While current die size and array efficiency seems to be a challenge for cost, this leadership gives Samsung huge learning advantage

3) No one else is planning 3D NAND shipments for revenue until 2H 2015 at earliest. All are committed... but new technologies take time to ramp AFTER they are proven. And Sandisk, Micron, Toshiba, Intel, Hynix have not proven anything yet.

What we don't know for sure (but have good estimates for)

1) Samsung cost per bit for 3D NAND
2) Competitors cost per bit for Planar
3) Hynix ramp plans
4) Sandisk confidence in the technology
5) 3D capital equipment investments required
6) Percentage of bits shipped on 3D each year
7) Time to install capacity to make 3D dominant technology
8) Timing for post NAND/Post 3D NAND technologies
9) NAND and SSD Market leaders in 2016