By 2023, the global digital storage devices market is forecast to reach $141 Billion USD, fed by the ever-increasing amount of data being processed through digital services. This market includes drives used to store, exchange, and retrieve data, such as magnetic drives, optical drives, solid state drives, and of course flash memory drives.

Market drivers can be simply stated, but not as simply addressed: we want to store more data, more reliably, more efficiently, and in a smaller amount of space. These seemingly conflicting demands continue to drive innovation in digital storage, with recent 3D NAND memory products in the 9X-Layer range, for example.

Continuing to look at the 3D NAND space, the latest offerings we have found or are expecting to find, are: Samsung 92L 3D NAND, Toshiba 96L 3D NAND, Micron 96L, YMTC 32L 3D NAND, and SK hynix 4D (PUC) 96L NAND. Even the product descriptions hint at the wide range of approaches being taken by the industry leaders in the storage devices market. Manufacturers are creating solutions using different numbers of layers, different node sizes, different bonding and packaging technologies – combinations of incremental modifications to help them win the race to the next product.

With the DRAM market still booming, all the major DRAM players such as Samsung, SK Hynix, Micron and Nanya are eager to develop and release their next new successfully-scaled-down generation. The top 3 DRAM manufacturers have already jumped into the sub-20 nm technology node, by introducing offerings such as 1X nm in 2017 and 2018, like Samsung's 1X and 1Y LPDDR4X, DDR4 and 1X GDDR6 for the component, mobile and graphics card applications. DRAM down-scaling will continue within a few years.

In terms of emerging memory technologies, we continue to monitor a number of technologies and their major developers, including:

  • MRAM, STT-MRAM (In-Plane MTJ, p-MTJ): EverSpin, Crocus, Avalanche Tech, Sony, TSMC, Samsung, Micron, etc.
  • PCRAM (XPoint): Micron, Samsung, Intel, IBM, etc.
  • ReRAM (OxRAM, CBRAM/M-ReRAM): Crossbar, Panasonic, Adesto, SK hynix, TSMC, etc.
  • FeRAM: Cypress, Rohm Semiconductor, Celis, Kentron, etc.


And in R&D, vendors also are working on the next technology generations, which are 256 and 512 layers. “It is kind of a race,” said Jeongdong Choe, an analyst at TechInsights. “It’s a race for the highest number of stacks.”
- Semiconductor Engineering

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