Toshiba, SanDisk to mass produce high-power '3D' memory

May 14, 2014
A SanDisk memory card is displayed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, on February 16, 2010

Japan's Toshiba is teaming up with US chip giant SanDisk to produce a "3D" memory chip they hope will allow users to save up to 50 hours of ultra-high definition video.

In a deal worth a reported 500 billion yen ($4.84 billion) the companies will build a factory to make consisting of several layers of semiconductors stacked together to give as much as a terabyte—1,000 gigabytes—of storage.

That is around 16 times bigger than the largest 64-gigabyte Toshiba memory currently available in and tablet devices.

Toshiba will demolish its existing plant in Japan to build a new facility that will house production apparatus using technologies from both firms and which the firms hope will start operating in 2016, a statement said.

"In about five years (from the planned start of the factory), we would like to produce one-terabyte products," said a Toshiba spokeswoman.

The plan comes at a time of increasing competition among the world's technology firms to meet demand for ever-higher capacity for consumers increasingly using mobile devices such as smart phones, tablet computers and .

The spread of high-definition video, with so-called 4K screens at the leading edge, is boosting demand for computing memory to store content.

"Small, high-capacity memories can of course be applied to smartphones, but they could also be used for wearable devices," the Toshiba spokeswoman said.

Manufacturers have traditionally competed with regular chips by trying to make the physical object smaller.

Toshiba, along with major rivals such as Samsung, believe they are reaching the physical limit, and are shifting toward 3D memories, where layering—effectively a third dimension—is used to boost the capacity of objects the same size.

Yasuo Naruke, Toshiba senior vice president, said in a statement: "Our determination to develop advanced technologies underlines our commitment to respond to continued demand (for) flash memory."

SanDisk president and chief executive Sanjay Mehrotra said the plant "will advance our leadership in memory technology into the 3D... era".

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2 / 5 (2) May 14, 2014
If you want to have a reason to consume huge gobs of memory, figure out a way to do truly immersive 3D TV. Something like Star Trek's holodeck. I'm not convinced 4K won't turn out to be another barely whelming success, like stereo 3D TV.

Seems our computing infrastructure is being increasingly influenced by videos. Not just storing them, but the fat pipes necessary to transport them.
3.3 / 5 (4) May 14, 2014
The news release isn't clear that this is probably NAND memory technology & not DRAM. NAND memory chips have already reached the smallest possible cell limit of 15 nanometers & is literally up against a stone wall to make 15 nm NAND cells smaller, hence comes the idea for stacking 15 nm cell size chips.

The problem this technology will be up against is increased power requirement of 20 times the power consumption of 18-20 nanometer technology, this is because heat sinking with 15 nm cells is not nearly as efficient & heat generated will result in frequent breakdown.

Other technology such as RRAM & MRAM is already vastly more efficient at a fraction of the power consumption, of course the present cost for these memory chips is 2-3 times for Flash NAND but Crossbar has just recently announced a process for production of resistive RRAM that competes on price for Flash NAND & begins production later this year.

Heads up Tim Cook, buy Crossbar & be light years ahead of Samsung.

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