Samsung starts mass producing 16GB flash memory chips

by: Gary SimsApril 11, 2013

samsung 128gb flashFlash memory has come a long way over the last 30 years or so and Samsung’s recent announcement that it has started to mass produce 16GB flash memory chips demonstrates how dependent we are today on this clever little invention.

I remember watching a science show when I was but a teenager (no comments about my age please) that demonstrated some of the first flash memory. Back then the capacity of flash memory was just a few kilobytes, but now a single flash memory chip is capable of holding 16GB of data.

Technically Samsung has announced the mass production of a 128-gigabit (Gb), 3-bit multi-level-cell (MLC) NAND memory chip using a 10 nanometer (nm)-class production process. What that means in simpler terms is that Samsung can now reliably make a 16GB flash chip that is small and dense. That is 16GB per chip, by combing several chips into one module Samsung will now expand its supply of 128-gigabyte (GB) memory cards.

These new chips are 3 bit MLC or triple-level-cell (TLC) meaning that each cell in the memory chip can hold 3 bits of data. There is quite a lot of discussion on the Internet about the various merits of single-level-cell, multi-level-cell and triple-level-cell flash memory, with the main thrust being that SLC is more reliable (over time) while MLC and now TLC is cheaper. Samsung don’t seem to be worried about the long term endurance issues of its TLC chips as the company is looking to increase the production volume of its SSDs with densities over 500GBs and forecasts a wider adoption of SSDs in desktop systems and further use of SSDs in notebooks.

Although Samsung doesn’t specifically mention it, there is also the possibility of using such memory in Android devices allowing handset and tablet manufacturers to squeeze even more storage memory into the same physical space.

In terms of performance Samsung say that the new devices have the  highest density in the industry and offer the highest performance level at 400 megabits-per-second (mbps) data transfer rate based on the toggle DDR 2.0 interface.

  • Ivan Myring

    Is this memory as in RAM or storage

    • Prox

      SLC, MLC & TLC memory is storage. DDR is the RAM interface.

  • PuzzledObserver

    How many bits are there in the Multi-Level-Cell? And Why Triple Level Cell cannot be called Multi-Level-Cell? I know how to count. May be I should lead the committee overseeing the design of these memory types?

  • i’m sure the triple level chips would last long with a bit of… tlc.

  • Amine Elouakil

    3 bits = less reliable, but it drives costs down

  • Mark Jones

    I think they used 8gb chips, 8 of em to make one 64gb microsd card. If you can now get 16gb chips, you are doubling the capacity to 128gb. Does that mean 128gb micro sd cards will be produced this month?