Western Digital (WD) has begun manufacturing the third generation of its 3D NAND flash chips, which increases the number of layers from 48 to 64 and will allow it to double capacity.

Pilot production of the new 64-layer chips has already started in WD’s Yokkaichi, Japan joint venture fabrication plant; initial shipments are expected in the fourth quarter of this year with “meaningful commercial volumes” beginning in the first half of 2017.

screen shot 2015 08 04 at 5.10.00 pm Toshiba

Toshiba’s 48-layer 3D NAND chips.

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