A New Competitor On The Horizon: Yangtze Memory Technologies Co.
However, I am not sure how much overall effect they will have?China's Tsinghua Unigroup has a subsidiary called Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC) that is trying to break into the 3D NAND market. As a late entrant to the market, their roadmap is significantly behind the competition and requires them to pull off a series of very fast paced technology iterations to catch up. They developed 32-layer 3D NAND in 2017 and are currently sampling 64-layer 3D NAND with mass production planned for late 2019. From there they plan to skip the 96L node and jump to 128L in 2020 to catch up with the more established players. The key difference that sets YMTC's NAND apart is a novel manufacturing method they branded Xtacking: rather than place peripheral control circuitry under the flash memory array (as first implemented by Intel and Micron, and on the roadmap for everyone else), YMTC fabs the two parts of the chip on entirely separate wafers. They claim to be able to bond together finished peripheral and array wafers in a single process step. Their 64-layer 3D NAND is the first demonstration of this technology.
Aside from allowing for a competitively small overall die size, YMTC's Xtacking design has a few other consequences that will help them catch up. By fabricating the peripheral circuitry and memory array separately, YMTC is able to somewhat decouple the development of the two designs and iterate a bit more quickly. The peripheral circuitry can also be fabbed on a traditional logic process instead of a memory process—they're currently using a mature and thus very cheap 180nm logic process. YMTC is planning to make extremely high IO speeds a hallmark of their 3D NAND through the use of many planes per die. They are hoping to reach 3Gb/s from a single die, while the existing 3D NAND players are just starting to move beyond 1Gb/s.
If cost per bit were to drop 30%, but some of this were due to QLC would imply 3D TLC actually increases in price slightly.NAND bit cost are currently forecasted to fall by up to 30% in 2019 by comparison they fell 50% this year. Some of this is going to be from QLC production however.
The last little while was an anomaly in NAND prices so far historically in which we saw the price spike and stagnation followed by a huge collapse during end of this year. Price fall will likely slow and but still fall consistently as we return to the norm. Prior to the last little bit the general trend was roughly half the price or 2x the capacity over 2 years.During Boxing Day, I bought one 1TB and two 2TB SSDs for my laptop and workstation.
Samsung 970 EVO 1TB at: $277
Samsung 970 EVO 2TB at: $538
I plan to use one 2TB for Windows in my workstation. As for Linux, I can install it in the 2nd 2TB SSD or return the 2TB and use the 1TB for now and then upgrade to 2TB a year later. I wonder if using the 1TB now and upgrade a year later could save some money. My analysis is that even I could save some money by upgrading to 2TB later, I won't save that much unless the 2TB SSD drop a lot a year later.
I wouldn't think so because QLC is extremely unlikely to command that large of a market share to off set all other gains by end of this year. Maybe in the very long majority productions shifts to QLC and even TLC gets pushed up to "premium" but that won't be happening in a years span no matter how aggressively they ramp.If cost per bit were to drop 30%, but some of this were due to QLC would imply 3D TLC actually increases in price slightly.
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