NEO Semiconductor is a high-tech company focused on developing architectures for 3D NAND flash and other advanced memory technologies. 3D NAND Flash Memory is a non-volatile memory that does not require power to retain data. It is widely used to store data, video, and music in our everyday life. The products include memory cards, USB drives, solid-state drives, smartphones, cameras, game consoles, data centers, etc. With its high density and low cost, 3D NAND flash memory has become the driving force for AI, 5G, and the cloud computing era.
X-NAND: World's Fastest 3D NAND Flash Memory Architecture
NEO Semiconductor’s X-NAND is a revolutionary 3D NAND flash memory architecture. Traditional 3D NAND flash memory has 2 to 4 planes in Y-direction, but X-NAND can increase the number of planes to 16 to 64 without increasing chip size. This reduces the bit line delay to only 1/4 to 1/32 and allows 4 to 32 times more data to be transferred in parallel. The results are drastic increases in the performance of 3D NAND flash memory.
Most Innovative Flash Memory Startup Award Winner- FMS 2020
NEO Semiconductor and X-NAND were recognized at the Flash Memory Summit 2020 conference with a Best of Show Award for “Most Innovative Flash Memory startup” for a high-performance solution that can uniquely lower cost across all tiers of SSD technologies.
What Is NAND Flash Memory?
NAND flash memory is a kind of non-volatile memory chip, which means that when computer devices of all kinds power down, the data is still there. It is widely used in smartphones, solid-state drives, USB drives, cloud, and data center storage. With smartphones, you use NAND flash memory to store thousands of photos, videos, music, and apps. Even though we don’t notice it, we are using NAND flash memory everywhere around us.
3D NAND Flash Memory
NAND Flash memory migrated from 2D to 3D process in 2014. This solved the ‘shrinkage’ bottleneck of the process technology. By building layers like a ‘skyscraper’, the density can keep increasing without process limit. Currently, 3D NAND flash has reached 176 layers and experts predicted the layers will reach 800 in the future.
3D NAND Flash Memory
of NAND Flash Memory
However, the advantages of multiple-level cells come with a price. Storing multiple bits per cell significantly slows performance because multiple read and write cycles are required to access data. For example, QLC requires 4 more read and 8 more write cycles than SLC when accessing data. Similarly, next-generation PLC will offer 5 times slower reads and 16 slower writes than SLC. This becomes a huge bottleneck for the future of NAND flash memory.
Why NAND Flash Memory
Speed Is So Critical?
Modern 5G, AI and IoT applications require very high-speed communications for huge amounts of data. This data is stored in the NAND flash memory of smartphones, robots, IoT devices, computers, cloud servers, and data centers. So, NAND flash memory speed determines data access and storage speeds. Unfortunately, each generation NAND flash memory becomes slower, creating bottlenecks for applications.
With that issue in mind, NEO Semiconductor focused its efforts on solving the performance bottlenecks. In 2018, the company made a breakthrough in 3D NAND architecture named X-NAND which can achieve SLC speeds with QLC densities. Traditional NAND flash memory has 4 planes due to the limitations of page buffer layout size. X-NAND’s innovative architecture allows the number of planes to increase to 16 to 64 planes without increasing the page buffer size. This drastically increases parallelism and reduces the bit line capacitance to achieve very high read and write speeds without increasing the chip cost.
X-NAND Offers Superior Performance
Compared with traditional NAND flash memory, X-NAND provides astonishing higher speed for both read and write operations. X-NAND random read and write speeds is 3X faster and sequential read and write speeds are 15X and 30X faster, respectively.
X-NAND is a circuit design change using the existing processes of 3D NAND flash memory technologies. This provides a drop-in solution for the next NAND flash memory products.