Macronix: we can build 3D NAND cheaper than all the rest

Macronix, a Taiwanese semiconductor firm, is to build 48- and 96-layer 3D NAND – and it thinks it can cut industry prices by up to a third.

Macronix is a small player in the NAND market and also makes NOR flash and ROM products. It will start production of 96-layer 3D NAND at the end of 2020, and will use 12-inch wafers and output 128Gbit and 256Gbit product, according to a Digitimes report.

Macronix has researched 3D NAND technology for some time. Company founder Miin Wu thinks Macronix could cut 3D NAND prices by up to a third, an EE Times report in September 2018 said.

This involves making 3D NAND with a new architecture that offers a 30 per cent lower cost/bit. Macronix will initially make ordinary 3D NAND at the rate of 50,000 wafers/month. 

When that business is established it will introduce the new architecture, a Single-Gate, Vertical Channel (SGVC) scheme. Existing 3D NAND uses a Gate All Around architecture. 

SGVC features a smaller cell size and pitch scaling capability which enables fewer stacking layers to reach a specific density. That means a lower cost/bit.

SK Hynix, the semiconductor giant, is looking at 512Gbit and 1Tbit densities in its 3D NAND products. Macronix’s focus is on lower density products and lower prices.