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SanDisk: NAND is at the crossroads

Posted: 20 Aug 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NAND  SanDisk forecast  lithography  MRAM 

In his keynote at the Flash Memory Summit, SanDisk Corp. founder, chairman and CEO Eli Harari made some bold predictions about the NAND business.

Harari further warned that the NAND industry is at the "crossroads," as there is a "disconnect" between future capacity requirements and demand.

Here are Harari's predictions:

1. Recovery seen. NAND is moving towards a path towards recovery after a downturn. Current supply/demand picture is in better balance.

2. ASPs do not fall as fast as before. Annual price reductions for NAND will be around 40 per cent from 2010 to 2013. This compares to annual price reductions for NAND at about 60 per cent from 2005 to 2009.

3. Multi-bit rules. Market embraces 3-bit-per-cell and 4-bit-per-cell in the 2009 to 2015 timeframe. Currently, 2-bit-per-cell is mainstream.

4. Managed NAND. The key to NAND are the controllers, which manage the operations in various applications like solid-state drives. There is a shift from raw NAND—or discrete components—to managed NAND.

5. Universal memory hype. Beyond NAND, there are no viable alternative universal memory technologies—yet. The so-called flash replacements—ferroelectric RAM, MRAM, phase-change and others—are still not viable.

6. 3D or bust? In the universal memory race, there could be one exception: 3D read/write technology. SanDisk and Toshiba are working on a 3D technology that could replace NAND, "assuming there are material breakthroughs. That transition (to 3D) is years ahead of us."

7. 450mm in limbo? NAND fabs will not make the transition from 300mm to 450mm fabs. The capital costs are too high.

8. EUV on the bubble. Right now, leading-edge NAND is made using 193-nm immersion lithography in the fab. Vendors could see a "complex" transition to extreme UV lithography.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times





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