SK Hynix is joining the small list of companies that mass producing 3D NAD flash chips, with mass production scheduled to start later this year. The South Korea company plans to initially mass produce 36-layer 3D NAND flash chips amd contimue with 48-layer products from next year. NAND-based flash memory retains data without power, and 3D NAND flash memory stacks memory cells vertically to maximize storage capacity in a small area.
"We have developed 24-layer 3D NAND flash chips and completed the preparation for mass production at the end of last year. The first to be mass produced will be the 36-layer products. Also, we will start preparing the mass production of the 48-layer 3D NAND flash memory chips from the end of this year so we can have cost competitiveness next year," SK Hynix said during the conference call after its Q1 earnings release earlier this week.
Rival Samsung Electronics is expected to produce 48-layer 3D NAND flash chips later this year, while Intel and Micron are also jumping into the race.
In addition to 3D NAND flash chips, the SK Hynix will release 16 nm TLC-based NAND flash chips and increase its share to the latter half of 10 percent in Q2 and 40 percent by the end of the year. Also, it will launch TLC-based Solid State Drive (SSD) chips and expand its share to 20 to 30 percent in Q3.
SK Hynix will also unveil a late-10 nm DRAM sample product in June next year. Currently, Samsung Electronics is about to mass produce late-10 nano DRAM products.