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Contributing to the information-intensive society through our products

The semiconductor memory and solid-state drives (SSDs) that Toshiba Memory supplies are integrated into a wide range of products and used throughout society. For example, smartphones and cars use semiconductor memory, while data centers employ SSDs to store large volumes of cloud data. SSDs are also found in tablet computers. All of these are essential to our daily lives.

By increasing the speed and capacity of semiconductor memory and SSDs, Toshiba Memory continues to contribute to reducing energy consumption, and saving resources for products where such memory and SSDs are utilized.

Examples of fields that Toshiba Memory products contribute to

Examples of fields that Toshiba Memory products contribute to

Product Case Studies: Three-dimensional (3D) flash memory BiCS FLASH™

With the recent data explosion, the capacity of storage systems mainly in data centers has been rapidly increasing. In response, in 2007 Toshiba Memory devised a world-first* 3D-layer structure for flash memory that was expected to sharply increase capacity. Further development of it led to a product called BiCS FLASH™ 3D flash memory.

* https://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2015_03/pr2601.htm

BiCS FLASH™ is flash memory with a new structure in which cells are vertically stacked. Previously, technologies used for NAND flash memory were advanced in the direction of fine processing. This means the spaces between cells in a memory chip were narrowed to reduce their size as well as increased the bit capacity per memory cell, where many pieces of information are put in one cell. If NAND flash memory is compared to a house, fine processing creates as many rooms (cells) in the same land area as possible by reducing the size of each room, while increasing the bit capacity per memory cell puts many people (information) in the room. In this case, however, the smaller the room, the closer to the neighbor, which poses a risk that the noise in the next room may be heard or people may overflow due to the room being too small. This is also same as inside the memory chip. When the cell is too small, an error is likely to occur due to interference between the electrons that serve as data.

In contrast, stacking is a 3D flash memory technology for achieving greater storage capacity that can replace fine processing, which is considered to be approaching its limit for conventional NAND flash memory. A useful analogy is building a multilevel condominium on the same land area, instead of a house. Multi-layering increases the number of cells that can occupy the same floor area, allowing the package to hold more information. In addition, stacking cells vertically creates spaces in the horizontal direction, significantly reducing interference between electrons and enabling high-speed data processing.

Thanks to its improved read/write speed, BiCS FLASH™ requires less power to process the same amount of data compared to conventional NAND flash memory. Also, increasing the memory capacity per chip by boosting the number of stacked cells will result in resource saving. In this way, BiCS FLASH™ contributes to increase capacity, and reduce space for storage products in which it is installed. Its 96-layer product has approximately 1.4 times the memory capacity per unit area of the previous generation (64-layer) owing to further optimization of the circuit technology and process.


Product Case Studies: SSD (Solid State Drive)

SSD is a storage product that uses semiconductor memory (NAND flash memory) as a storage element. Since an SSD has no mechanical moving parts, it is superior to an HDD in terms of data read/write performance, resistance to shock and vibration and quiet operation. It also has superior power consumption in standby mode.

Structure of an SSD


The XG5 series of client SSDs are NVM Express™ (NVMe™) SSDs equipped with 64-layer, 3-bit-per-cell TLC (triple-level cell) BiCS FLASH™ with a maximum capacity of 1,024 GB*1. These SSDs deliver 3,000 MB/s sequential read*2 and 2,100 MB/s sequential write*2. They are also more efficient than the previous XG4 series (installed 2D NAND), and reduce active write power consumption by 40%*3. These features enable devices that integrate them to be more power efficient, smaller and lighter.


*1 Definition of capacity: Toshiba Memory defines a gigabyte (GB) as 1,000,000,000 bytes. Some computer operating systems, however, report storage capacity using powers of 2 for the definition of 1 GB = 230 bytes = 1,073,741,824 bytes and therefore shows less storage capacity. Available storage capacity will vary based on file size, formatting, settings, software and operating system,  or other factors. Actual formatted capacity may vary.

*2 Toshiba Memory survey based on sequential read and write speeds of 128KiB units, using 1,024GB models under Toshiba Memory test conditions. Read and write speed may vary, depending on the host device, read and write conditions, and file size. Toshiba Memory defines a megabyte (MB) as 1,000,000 bytes and a kibibyte (KiB) as 210 bytes, or 1,024 bytes.

*3 It is a comparison of typical active write power. Toshiba Memory survey, using 1,024 GB models under Toshiba Memory test conditions.

[Note]

PCIe® is a registered trademark of PCI-SIG.

NVMe™ and NVM Express™ are trademarks of NVM Express, Inc.

Other product names and services listed in the above may be used as trademarks or registered trademarks by the respective companies.

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