The history of 3D NAND flash memory

This is the second of four posts in our NAND flash ecosystem blog series.

Toshiba invented NAND flash in 1987 (aka 2D or Planar NAND). So for the best part of 30 years, 2D NAND has been used. But now 3D NAND is replacing 2D.

Why is 3D taking over? Well, the ever increasing demand for solid state drives (SSDs) and other storage solutions that go into datacenters and our mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, has contributed to the increasing demand for 3D NAND flash memory.
3D NAND flash is a type of flash memory in which the memory cells are stacked vertically in multiple layers. Flash manufacturers developed 3D NAND to address challenges they encountered in scaling 2D/planar NAND technology to achieve higher densities at a lower cost per bit.

The 3D NAND flash memory market accounted for $5.2 billion in 2015 and forecasts that the global market is anticipated to grow over $39 billion by 2022, with a CAGR of 33.7% from 2016 to 2022.

Below is a brief history regarding the 3D NAND timeline.


The history of 3D NAND

Year Details
2012 Samsung created 3D NAND – the first 3D NAND Flash memory chip, V1 – 850 PRO

–  This was the first V-NAND SSD using 32 Layer SLC

2014 – Dec Samsung ships 3D NAND V2

–  850 EVO using 32 Layer MLC

2015 Samsung created 3D NAND V3
2016 – March Samsung transitions to 48-layer

–  850 PRO using MLC and 850 EVO using TLC

2016 – August Toshiba ships 48-layer TLC in iPhone 7

–  NAND die packaged with Apple custom controller

2016 – Sept Hynix Ships 36-layer in LG V20 – UFS embedded
2016 – Dec Intel/Micron shipping 3D NAND in enterprise

–       Micron starting client SSD shipments

Read the other posts in the series:

Aisling Foley, Marketing Manager