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Comparing 2-D and 3-D NAND performance and longevity

How will 3-D NAND compare with 2-D in terms of performance and longevity?

The performance of 3-D NAND compared to 2-D NAND is noticeably faster on both IOPS and throughput . A big chunk...

of that increase comes from the parallelism of so many chips packed densely together. The performance promise of 3-D NAND is up to 10 times that of 2-D NAND. It's not there yet, but it's getting there.

Performance tests and ratings from the manufacturers demonstrate noticeably faster write times than equivalent 2-D NAND, higher throughput, as well as IOPS. None of the differences move the needle dramatically… yet. But they are noticeably better at a competitive -- albeit higher -- price.

The longevity is where 3-D NAND shines over 2-D NAND. The advantage is considerable, easily beating 2-D NAND wear-life by a minimum of 2X. One of the primary reasons is that 3-D NAND is based on much larger die sizes (40 nm vs. 10 to 19 nm.) That means there is a much lower bit error rate (BER) per KB of data.

That reduced BER decreases the robustness required of the error-correcting code. The larger die size also means lower voltage is required to read the state of any given cell increasing the PE cycles or wear-life considerably. Wear-life increases so much more in fact, that Samsung is providing a 10-year warranty on their V-NAND 3-D NAND solid-state drives (SSDs).

Next Steps

A closer look at 3-D NAND cost, capacity

How does 3-D NAND flash work?

What is the future of NAND flash?

This was last published in October 2014

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