Samsung reportedly plans to leapfrog to 430-layer NAND in 2025

Samsung office
Samsung office

Samsung is planning to bypass the 300-layer 3D NAND level and go straight to 430-layer flash after a 290-layer product planned for next year.

According to Korea’s Hankyung media outlet, Samsung will start producing 290-layer NAND later this month. Up until now, Samsung’s highest layer count was 236 in its version 8 V-NAND technology. 

The report, translated from Korean, tells us that the 290-layer product will be version 9 of Samsung’s technology and utilize two stacks of strings of NAND to reach the 290-layer level. The report doesn’t reveal the layers in each string but, generally, a stringstack of two components has equal layer counts – suggesting two 145-layer strings will be used.

The need for string stacking arises because, as the layer count in a string increases, the difficulty of etching vertical holes through the many layers increases – to the point that the holes become malformed and don’t function as they should.

Updated 3D NAND layer technology table of the NAND suppliers

Samsung will then move to a 430-layer triple-stringstacked technology with its v10 V-NAND, which we think will involve 3x 145 layers as the starting point. Samsung is moving straight to 430 layers from 290 because it thinks that there will be a need for AI inferencing workloads to take place at edge IT sites. These will need fast access to large data sets and 430-layer technology will enable flash drives with more capacity than are available now in less physical space.

Competitors have generic plans to move up to the 400- and 500-layer levels, but nothing specific.

Kioxia/Western Digital is producing 218-layer BiCS8 product with an intention to reach the 300-layer level next year. Micron is at the 232-layer level now with an intention to get to the 300 level next year as well. SK hynix will also introduce a 321-layer product next year while the plans of its Soldigm subsidiary, currently at 192 layers, are not known. YMTC, battling with US export restrictions, is at the 232-layer level now, using a twin stringstack. Hankyung reports that it intends to produce a 300-layer level product in the second half of this year, which would make it the first NAND fabricator to cross the 300-layer level.