Toshiba uses through-silicon vias to boost 3D NAND efficiency

When it comes to storage, we hardware enthusiasts tend to focus on faster, cheaper, and more reliable stuff. Enterprise buyers like those things, but companies with large data centers also like power efficiency. Toshiba's BiCS 3D TLC NAND flash memory with through-silicon via (TSV) technology claims to reduce power consumption for storage applications that must provide low latency, high throughput, and high IOPS per watt in applications like enterprise SSDs. To our knowledge, this is the first market-ready NAND flash product to use through-silicon vias in its structure.

TSVs are vertical electrical connections that pass through silicon dies. The company claims this fabrication approach can help improve power efficiency and increase bandwidth. Toshiba says its TSV BiCS flash chips offer twice the energy efficiency of its current flash chips built using wire-bonding technology, which links stacked dies to a package's pins using thin wires connected to the edges of dies in a 3D stack. The tradeoff with TSVs is increased manufacturing complexity and cost, which means devices with these chips will likely be pricier than other forms of NAND. Until now, TSVs have usually appeared in stacked DRAM , like the HBM stacks on AMD's Fiji and Vega high-end desktop graphics cards.

Toshiba will initially offer TSV NAND products with 512 GB and 1 TB capacities and 1066 Mbps interfaces. The chips measure 14 mm by 18 mm. The eight-stack 512 GB chips are 1.35 mm thick, and the 16-stack 1 TB chips are 1.85 mm thick. The company says it started shipping prototype BiCS 3D TLC flash chips with TSVs to manufacturing partners last month, and it expects product samples to start shipping before the end of the year. The company will have prototypes on display at the 2017 Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California in the second week of August.


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