NAND Flash Memory Roadmap
DRAM devices are critical electronic components and still contribute about 45.4 billion USD, or 10% of revenue to the overall semiconductor industry. Moore's law has allowed DRAM density to increase exponentially over the last 40 years due mainly to continuous linewidth reductions.
However, scaling is only one means to tackle DRAM’s three critical technical challenges: Increased bandwidth requirements, reduced power consumption, and reduced cost per bit. Bandwidth of the Input/Output is a key consideration, and I/O standards are set by JEDEC. Any company may freely manufacture products designed to a JEDEC standard.
NAND Flash has become an increasingly important part of today’s technological society with USB flash drives, smartphones, digital cameras, tablet PCs and iPads becoming a more and more integrated part of society on which we rely on. As a result, revenues are rising rapidly.
The three largest markets for NAND Flash are smartphones, solid state drives (SSDs) and tablets in that order. Smartphones alone consume over a quarter of the world’s flash, an amazing ramp-up considering the first iPhone was released in 2007. SSDs are seeing significant consumer demand, but also in the large data server market as people migrate their information storage to the cloud and the cost of ownership of enterprise SSDs is dropping below their HDD equivalents.
Advanced logic technology platforms are all now based on FinFETs. Intel lead with the introduction of its 2nd generation FinFET in their 14 nm technology. In order to catch up to Intel, the foundries paused scaling so they could manage risk during their 1st generation FinFET insertion. The Samsung 14LP and TSMC 16FF platforms are effectively on 20 nm class design rules, whereas Intel 14 nm overscaled from 22 nm class design rules. This has allowed Intel to overtake the foundries in routed gate density, by a significant factor. The foundries will be ahead of Intel to introduce a 10 nm platform, and we will soon see how much of a density lead the foundries take back, before Intel releases their 10 nm technology.
There is intense demand for even lower power, higher performance, at lower cost. This is due to continued strength in mobile and cloud, but also due to a projected explosion in AI-based computing and 5G connectivity as drivers for market growth. To meet this demand, logic technology node scaling plans are accelerating, rather than slowing down, with 7 nm technology just around the corner.
Fully-Depleted SOI technology has risen as an alternative technology for non-high performance applications, particularly where value-added features such as high-performance analog, RF, and embedded NVM are more important than cost and density. 28 nm class FD-SOI has hit the market and we expect to see more innovative designs on a 22FDX technology platform from Globalfoundries.
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