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Is 3D the Future of Data Storage for SanDisk?

As the world's data storage continue to skyrocket, industry leaders are struggling to keep up with demand. While external drives, large-scale data centers and cloud-based storage all make great solutions, they too are limited. However, a recent partnership between SanDisk and Toshiba is hoping to revolutionize data storage with the introduction of their 256-gigabit, 3-bit-per-cell, 48-layer 3D NAND chip. While that's certainly a mouthful, many industry experts believe that this new innovation could be the next big thing in the data storage niche.

While the 48-layer 3D NAND chip is already making headlines around the industry, and rightfully so, it's the first 3D chip to hit the market. In fact, Toshiba released the original 48-layer 3D chip, utilizing V-NAND technology, back in March 2015. These early chips only boasted 128 gigabits, or 16 gigabytes, of storage capacity.

Both the 16 gigabyte and the newer, 256-gigabit chips are based on a new concept known as vertical flash stacking technology, the chips literally feature memory cells that are stacked on top of each other vertically. This is complementary to the previously used method of aligning memory cells side-by-side, and the end result is a chip that is able to offer up to 100 times the capacity as conventional chips without taking up any additional real estate on the motherboard.

Guruswamy Ganesh, vice president of corporate engineering with SanDisk, explained the need for advanced storage technology by saying: "We are constantly trying to increase the capacity as with each day passing there is more data being generated that needs to be stored. On an average there are 1.4 billion photos being uploaded on social networking sites each day. This is the amount of data we are dealing with right now and will increase to about 40,000 Exabytes by 2020. In this backdrop the focus will be on 3D technology, which will be the next revolutionary concept in terms of storage. The technology basically will create more capacity as the storage would be in 3D layers so the same GB will be able to accommodate more data."

SanDisk and Toshiba aren't alone in the race to introduce and produce 3D flash technology. In fact, Intel and Micron recently announced their development of 3D XPoint technology, which is touted as 1,000 times faster than NAND-based technology.

Dr. Siva Sivaram, executive vice president of SanDisk's memory technology division, introduced the new chip by saying: "We are pleased to announce our first 3D NAND chip targeted for production. This is the world’s first 256 Gb X3 chip, developed using our industry-leading 48-layer BiCS technology1 and demonstrating SanDisk’s continued leadership in X3 technology. We will use this chip to deliver compelling storage solutions for our customers."


According to press releases by SanDisk, the 256-Gb X3 chip will be featured in a variety of new devices, including those meant for consumer and enterprise use, within the year. For more information on SanDisk, please visit their official website at www.sandisk.com. To find out more about Toshiba's role in the project, please visit their official website at www.toshiba.com.

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