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NAND Flash Revenue Undergoes 8.3% QoQ Growth in 1Q20 in Light of Surging Demand from Data Centers, Says TrendForce

According to the latest investigations by the DRAMeXchange research division of TrendForce, NAND Flash bit shipment in 1Q20 was relatively on par with 4Q19. The overall ASP of NAND Flash products also climbed during the period. As a result, the global NAND Flash revenue for the quarter went up by 8.3% QoQ to US$13.6 billion.

In 1Q20, demand for enterprise SSDs exceeded supply because cloud service providers' procurement for data centers had been growing progressively since 4Q19. Also, inventories of NAND Flash suppliers mostly returned to normal during the period. Consequently, most NAND Flash products for the major applications experienced a rise in contract prices. As for the impact of COVID-19 during the Lunar New Year, TrendForce's investigations at the time found that the server supply chain managed to make a better recovery than the supply chains for notebook computers and smartphones. The impact of the outbreak on the storage demand from the cloud services sector was thus quite limited. On the other hand, the production of notebooks and smartphones was affected by logistical problems and breakage in the component supply chain. Because of this, notebook and smartphone manufacturers have gradually resumed production since March.

Western Digital Reports Fiscal Third Quarter 2020 Financial Results

Western Digital Corp. (Nasdaq: WDC) today reported fiscal third quarter 2020 financial results. "I joined Western Digital a little over a month ago because I have strong conviction in the digital transformation that is reshaping every industry, every company and how all of us live our daily lives," said David Goeckeler, Western Digital CEO. "While I couldn't have anticipated the unprecedented series of events that have transpired, I'm very proud of how the company has responded to an extremely dynamic environment with dedicated focus both on our employees' safety as well as delivering our market leading technology to our customers. As the only company in the world to provide a broad array of NAND flash, Solid State Drives (SSD) and Hard Disk Drives (HDD) solutions, I'm confident our innovation will drive significant new value for customers around the world."

We generated $142 million in cash from operations during the fiscal third quarter of 2020 and ended the quarter with $2.9 billion of total cash and cash equivalents. We returned $149 million to shareholders through dividends and used $212 million to reduce debt. On February 13, 2020, we declared a cash dividend of $0.50 per share of common stock, which was paid to shareholders on April 17, 2020. Going forward, we are suspending our dividend to strengthen our reinvestment in growth and innovation and to support our ongoing deleveraging efforts. We will reevaluate our dividend policy as leverage ratios improve.

Western Digital Announces WD Purple QD101 Ultra Endurance microSDXC Cards

Western Digital on Tuesday (27/04) announced availability of its WD Purple QD101 line of ultra-endurance microSDXC cards for use as internal storage in surveillance devices, such as smart security cameras. The card implements 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory, is capable of 500 P/E cycles, and 256 TBW for its top of the line 512 GB variant. The card is particularly useful as a failsafe storage device for cameras in case their link to the NVR server is severed, and is rated for 24x7 operation. The card comes in capacities of 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB. The card is now shipping to NVR and smart camera manufacturers.

Western Digital Spells Out Which Specific HDD Models Use SMR

Western Digital on Thursday (23/04) released an updated statement about the company's stand on SMR (shingled magnetic recording) being used on certain internal hard drives, including certain client-segment WD Red models recommended by the company for NAS applications, without proper disclosure on the product's marketing materials or data-sheets. It's surprising to note that SMR is being used not in some of the higher-capacity models (8 TB or higher) as previously thought, but rather lower-capacity ones, 6 TB or lower, including a 2 TB 3.5-inch drive, and a 1 TB 2.5-incher.

Perhaps SMR is being used in these lower-capacity drives to reduce the number of platters, by cramming in more data per recording surface. As on 22nd April (when the list was internally compiled by Western Digital), there are 9 client-segment hard drives that use SMR, four of which are from the company's WD Red family, two each from the WD Blue 3.5-inch and WD Blue 2.5-inch families; and one from the 2.5-inch WD Black family. Among the WD Red series drives with SMR are the 2 TB WD20EFAX, the 3 TB WD30EFAX, the 4 TB WD40EFAX, and the 6 TB WD60EFAX.

Western Digital Defends DM-SMR on WD Red HDDs, Points Users to WD Red Pro or WD Gold

Western Digital gave its first response to allegations of the company implementing SMR (shingled magnetic recording) on its WD Red internal hard drives without properly documenting it. The WD Red series is extensively marketed as being "NAS optimized," which caused many NAS and RAID DAS enthusiasts to pick it up for home-office use, only to discover that the company's implementation of drive-managed SMR (DM-SMR) makes them effectively unfit for RAID use, as DM-SMR is vital for some of the higher-capacity WD Red models to achieve their nameplate capacity, while coming at a heavy cost of random write performance.

"SMR is tested and proven technology that enables us to keep up with the growing volume of data for personal and business use. We are continuously innovating to advance it. SMR technology is implemented in different ways - drive-managed SMR (DMSMR), on the device itself, as in the case of our lower capacity (2 TB - 6 TB) WD Red HDDs, and host-managed SMR, which is used in high-capacity data center applications. Each implementation serves a different use case, ranging from personal computing to some of the largest data centers in the world.," Western Digital writes.

Kingston Technology Leads Channel SSD Shipments in 2019

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, today announced its SSD business continues to grow at a strong rate following an astounding 2019. SSD demand through Q1 2020 remained high due to continued growth in the client, enterprise and OEM sectors. Since 2019, Kingston has broadened its SSD portfolio with three new client SSDs, five data center-specific drives - two of which achieved VMware Ready status - and launched its first U.2 NVMe PCIe solution.

Market share data for 2019 from analyst research companies Forward Insights and TRENDFOCUS showed Kingston in a strong leadership position. Forward Insights ranked Kingston in first place in worldwide channel SSD shipments with 18.3 percent market share, ahead of semiconductor manufacturers Western Digital and Samsung (16.5 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively). According to Forward Insights, almost 120 million SSDs were shipped in the channel in 2019.

Seagate Guilty of Undisclosed SMR on Certain Internal Hard Drive Models, Too: Report

Earlier this week, Western Digital was in the line of fire when it emerged that several of its WD Red family of "NAS-optimized" hard drives allegedly employ some form of shingled magnetic recording (SMR), a physical-layer data writing technique that maximizes density at a heavy cost of random write performance that effectively makes the HDDs unfit for use in RAID volumes, and in turn most NAS applications that commonly employ RAID and encourage end-users to build RAID volumes for data redundancy. A new report by Blocks & Files finds that the issue is more widespread than previously thought, and that even Seagate employs it without disclosure on certain models.

Several of Seagate's higher capacity Barracuda desktop internal hard drives use SMR without disclosing it in their data-sheets. These include the 8 TB ST8000DM004, and 5 TB ST5000DM000. Both these drives are sold under the Barracuda Compute brand, which markets "home servers, entry-level DAS, and desktop computers" among its use-cases. Seagate does market its Archive and Exos lines of HDDs are employing SMR, but mention of the technique is buried in their data-sheets, and not prominently in product marketing or packaging. Archive and Exos are targeted at bulk cold storage setups where capacity is more important than performance. Meanwhile, Toshiba has confirmed that its Desktop HDDs too employ SMR. The company's MQ04 2.5-inch and DT02 3.5-inch HDDs employ "managed SMR" (i.e. use conventional recording and switch to SMR as the platters are running out of space).

Some Western Digital WD Red HDDs Allegedly Use SMR, A Big Nono for NAS and RAID

Western Digital launched the WD Red line of hard drives and solid state drives specifically for NAS applications. The rigors of NAS involves not just near 24x7 uptime, but also the ability to work in RAID volumes, as most NAS servers ease the process for end users to set up RAID volumes for data redundancy. Data Storage-focused tech publication Blocks & Files alleges that some WD Red HDDs are shipping with shingled magnetic recording (SMR), a physical-layer data recording technique that makes the drive unfit for RAID, and in turn unfit for most serious NAS setups.

SMR is a recording technique that aims to achieve higher data density per platter, by partially overlapping tracks, by taking advantage of write tracks being wider than read tracks. Think of it as trying to cram a little more than one line of text per ruling, in a ruled notepad. The biggest trade-off with cramming in more data using SMR is a heavy loss in random write performance. The controversy of Western Digital shipping SMR WD Red drives came to light when Alan Brown, a network administrator with the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory, noticed that a brand new WD Red HDD kept getting kicked out of RAID arrays during resilvering (rebalancing of data with the addition of a new disk to an existing RAID array).

Western Digital Announces the WD Gold Series U.2 NVMe Enterprise SSDs

Western Digital is enabling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to easily transition to NVMe storage and dramatically improve application performance with a new addition to its portfolio of data center NVMe SSDs: the first enterprise-class NVMe SSD in the WD Gold family. Industry analyst firm IDC expects NVMe unit shipments to reach more than 79 percent of the market by 2023. With advancements in multi-core, multi-threaded CPUs, legacy storage technology has become a bottleneck to maximum application performance.

Shipping in early cQ2 2020, the new WD Gold NVMe SSDs will be available in four capacities to channel partners and end customers. The WD Gold NVMe SSD is designed to be the primary storage in servers delivering superior response times, higher throughput and greater scale than existing SATA devices for enterprise applications. WD Gold NVMe SSDs complement recently launched WD Gold HDDs by providing a high-performance storage tier for applications and data sets that requires low latency or high throughput.

Driven by Strong Demand from Data Center Clients, 4Q19 NAND Flash Revenue Grows 8.5%, Says TrendForce

According to the DRAMeXchange research division of TrendForce, 4Q19 NAND flash bit shipment increased by nearly 10% QoQ thanks to demand growth from data center clients. On the supply side, contract prices made a successful rebound due to shortages caused by the power outage at Kioxia's Yokkaichi production base in June. In sum, 4Q19 NAND flash revenue reached $12.5 billion, an 8.5% increase QoQ.

The stronger-than-expected 4Q19 performance from the demand side helped improve supplier inventory back to normal levels. In response, NAND suppliers were able to reduce their allocations to the wafer market and instead focus on shipping products with comparatively higher margins.

Western Digital Samples World's First 20TB SMR and 18TB CMR Hard Drives

Western Digital announced that it has started shipping the industry's highest-capacity HDD samples to enterprise OEMs and hyperscale customers worldwide. The 20 TB Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR HDDs and 18 TB Ultrastar DC HC550 CMR HDDs, first previewed in June 2019, and announced in September 2019, feature its first-ever commercial implementation of energy-assisted magnetic recording technology on a nine-disk platform, enabling customers to more efficiently provision and scale their data center environments with unmatched total cost of ownership.

With zettabyte-scale data growth, the need for higher-capacity data storage across a broad spectrum of applications and workloads can be reliably met only with high Capacity Enterprise HDDs. The industry-leading capacities of Western Digital's Ultrastar 20 TB SMR and 18 TB CMR HelioSeal HDDs enable customers to deploy up to 22 percent fewer racks and reduce their TCO by up to 11 percent, along with the corresponding reductions in power consumption, cooling costs, and data center infrastructure needs when compared with today's 14 TB CMR HDDs.

Western Digital Unveils WD Blue SN550 M.2 NVMe SSD

Western Digital unveiled the WD Blue SN550 line of M.2 NVMe SSDs. A successor to the WD Blue SN500, the SN550 is updated with a new controller that utilizes PCI-Express 3.0 x4 (compared to just x2 on the SN500). Designed in-house by WD and SanDisk, the controller is based on the same architecture as the one that drives the WD Black SN750, but is DRAM-less, and has fewer flash channels. Speaking of which, WD deployed 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash, and wants the drive to compete in pricing with QLC NAND-based drives such as the Crucial P1. The 250 GB variant is priced at USD $54, the 500 GB variant $65, and the 1 TB variant $99.

All three variants take advantage of the increased PCIe bandwidth to offer sequential read speeds of up to 2,400 MB/s (the SN500 capped out at 1,700 MB/s). Write speeds vary, with the 250 GB variant offering up to 950 MB/s, the 500 GB variant up to 1,750 MB/s, and the 1 TB variant up to 1,950 MB/s. Endurance figures (TBW) of the three variants are rated at 150 TB for the 250 GB variant, 300 TB for the 500 GB variant, and 600 TB for the 1 TB variant. An interesting design choice with these drives is pushing the NAND flash chip and the controller as far apart on the PCB as possible, for less concentration of heat. All three models are backed by 5-year warranties.

Western Digital Unveils Ultrastar DC SS540 SAS SSD: up to 3DWPD, 2.5M Hours MTBF

Western Digital Monday unveiled the Ultrastar DC SS540, an enterprise SSD with the SAS 12 Gbps interface and the endurance of a tank. Built in the 2.5-inch form-factor with 15 mm thickness, the drive comes in capacities ranging from 800 GB all the way up to 15.36 TB. The 800 GB, 1.6 TB, 3.2 TB, and 6.4 TB variants offer endurance of 3 drive-writes per day (DWPD), while the 960 GB, 1.92 TB, 3.84 TB, 7.68 TB, and 15.36 TB models offer 1 DWPD endurance.

Under the hood, the drive uses 3D TLC NAND flash, and depending on the model, sequential read speeds range between 1,985 MB/s to 2,130 MB/s, sequential writes between 1,024 MB/s to 2,109 MB/s. Random access performance, which is more relevant to enterprise environments, ranges between 237,000 to 470,000 IOPS reads, and 88,133 to 240,000 IOPS writes, depending on the model. MTBF on all models is rated at 2.5 million hours.

Western Digital Announces Financial Results for First Quarter Fiscal Year 2020

Western Digital Corp. today reported revenue of $4.0 billion for its first fiscal quarter ended October 4, 2019. The operating loss was $129 million with a net loss of $276 million, or ($0.93) per share. Excluding certain non-GAAP adjustments, the company achieved non-GAAP operating income of $235 million and non-GAAP net income of $101 million, or $0.34 per share.

In the year-ago quarter, the company reported revenue of $5.0 billion, operating income of $686 million and net income of $511 million, or $1.71 per share. Non-GAAP operating income in the year-ago quarter was $1.1 billion and non-GAAP net income was $906 million, or $3.04 per share. The company's first fiscal quarter of 2020 was a 14-week fiscal quarter, compared to a 13-week fiscal quarter for the year-ago quarter.

WD Introduces Storage Optimized for Public Safety, AI and Smart City Deployments

Western Digital Corp., today addressed head-on the need to optimize storage for video and AI analytics at the network edge. The increased use of smart cameras and ever-rising video resolutions are driving the requirement for on-camera storage. Western Digital introduced the WD Purple SC QD101 Ultra Endurance microSD card designed specifically for equipment makers, resellers and installers in the mainstream security camera market. In addition, the company announced a compelling new addition to the hard disk drive portfolio, WD Purple 14 TB HDD for surveillance, which is compatible with wide range of security systems.

According to IHS Markit Technology, global professional video surveillance camera shipments are expected to grow from 140 million to 224 million between 2018 and 2023, and those with onboard storage are expected to grow by an average of approximately 17 percent per year. 4K-compliant cameras are expected to grow from 3.6 percent of all network cameras shipped in 2018 to over 24 percent by 2023, and the up to 5.7X increase in bits generated by 4K vs.1080p video illustrates a fast-growing demand for more storage.

Western Digital Introduces Next-Level Storage Solutions for NAS Environments

Western Digital today introduced an array of purpose-built storage solutions for small businesses and home offices leveraging NAS environments. The solutions include the first-ever WD Red SSDs, which enhance performance and caching abilities in a hybrid NAS environment, as well as a 14 TB capacity for the WD Red and WD Red Pro HDDs.

With the increase in virtualization, 10GbE (10 Gigabit Ethernet) and higher connectivity speeds are becoming an essential feature set in modern NAS systems. To help minimize a performance bottleneck, SSD speeds are crucial. To fully support the requirements of these environments, storage device durability, speed and capacity remain heavily in demand. Building on the proven reliability of Western Digital's WD Red product portfolio, the solutions are built to transform pain points to profits for the end user. When utilized as a caching solution in a NAS system, the WD Red SA500 SSD helps to boost performance while the new higher capacity WD Red and WD Red Pro HDDs offer more storage space in the same NAS device.

Western Digital Announces Sale of IntelliFlash Business and Intention to Exit Storage Systems

Western Digital Corp. today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its IntelliFlash business to DDN, a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and multi-cloud data management. In addition, Western Digital and DDN have agreed to expand their existing partnership through a multi-year strategic sourcing agreement, under which DDN will increase its purchase of Western Digital's HDD and SSD storage devices.

This announcement is part of Western Digital's strategic intention to exit Storage Systems, which consists of the IntelliFlash and ActiveScale businesses. The company is exploring strategic options for ActiveScale. These actions will allow Western Digital to optimize its Data Center Systems portfolio around its core Storage Platforms business, which includes the OpenFlex platform and fabric-attached storage technologies.

"As we look to the future, scaling and accelerating growth opportunities for IntelliFlash and ActiveScale will require additional management focus and investment to ensure long-term success," said Mike Cordano, president and chief operating officer. "By refocusing our Data Center Systems resources on our Storage Platforms business, we are confident that the Western Digital portfolio will be better positioned to capture significant opportunities ahead and drive long-term value creation."

Western Digital Unveils WD_BLACK Gaming Storage Lineup

Western Digital unveiled a full fledged lineup of WD_BLACK series gaming storage devices. With it, the company is branching out WD_BLACK as its new brand targeted at the gaming crowd, both PC and console. The WD_BLACK brand is a divergence from the company's classic Western Digital Caviar Black line of premium internal hard drives. The brand had a rebirth of sorts with the WD_BLACK SN750 M.2 NVMe SSDs. Its designers are launching several new products, including the WD_BLACK P10 portable hard drive, the WD_BLACK D10 external desktop hard drive, the WD_BLACK P50 portable SSD, and Xbox One variants of the P10 and D10.

The WD_BLACK P10 is a pocket-size portable hard drive with a single USB 3.1 cable needed for both power and connectivity. It comes in 2 TB, 4 TB, and 5 TB capacities. Its Xbox One variant has the Xbox One decal on its body, and includes a 2-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. The WD_BLACK D10 is meant to sit on your desk with its separate power and host-connectivity cables. It also puts out USB type-A high current ports to recharge your wireless gaming peripherals. The base variant of the WD_BLACK D10 comes in 8 TB capacity, while the D10 Xbox One edition comes with 12 TB capacity and a 3-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Lastly, there's the WD_BLACK P50. This portable SSD encloses an NVMe drive that serves up sequential transfer rates of up to 2000 MB/s by utilizing USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20 Gbps) interface. A single cable handles power and host connectivity. It comes in capacities of 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB.

Western Digital to Deliver 18TB CMR and 20TB SMR HDDs in the First Half of 2020

Addressing the TCO requirements of data center customers, Western Digital announced its nine-disk mechanical platform, which includes energy-assisted recording technology and maintains the company's areal density leadership while delivering the highest capacity available. The company will sample the 18 TB Ultrastar DC HC550 CMR HDD and the 20 TB Ultrastar DC HC650 SMR HDD to select customers by the end of 2019 with production ramp expected in the first half of 2020.

This rapid ramp and availability of the 20 TB SMR drive following a technology preview in June 2019, supports a growing ecosystem and the continued industry adoption of SMR. Western Digital estimates that 50 percent of its HDD exabytes shipped will be on SMR by 2023. "At Dropbox, we are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency and power in our data centers," said Akhil Gupta, vice president of engineering at Dropbox. "We're excited to see SMR drives reach a 20 TB capacity point, which will enable us to power collaboration and deliver long-term value to our customers."

Western Digital Announces Technology Leadership Transition

Western Digital Corp. today announced that Martin Fink, executive vice president and chief technology officer, will be transitioning to retirement and moving to an advisory role with the Company. Mr. Fink will continue to report to Steve Milligan, chief executive officer, and advise Mr. Milligan and the executive team on matters relating to data center architectures, including RISC-V. Dr. Siva Sivaram, executive vice president, Silicon Technology and Manufacturing, has been appointed to the newly created role of President, Technology and Strategy, effective immediately. In this expanded strategic role, Dr. Sivaram will oversee Western Digital's key technology initiatives and corporate strategy.

Dr. Sivaram has more than 35 years of experience in semiconductor technology and manufacturing. Prior to joining Western Digital in 2016 following the acquisition of SanDisk, he held executive positions at Intel and Matrix Semiconductor. Additionally, he was the founder and CEO of Twin Creeks Technologies, a solar panel and equipment company.

"Siva has been instrumental in leading the ongoing development of our 3D flash memory and other next generation technologies," said Steve Milligan, Western Digital chief executive officer. "Looking to the future, I am confident that with Siva's expertise, we will be well positioned to further strengthen Western Digital's leading technology position and innovative product portfolio."

Western Digital Launches Two New Families of UltraStar NVMe SSDs

Western Digital today announced two new 96-layer 3D flash NVMe SSD families, the Ultrastar DC SN640 and Ultrastar DC SN340. Both are purpose-built for either mixed-use-case workloads or very read-intensive applications, respectively. The new Ultrastar drives help meet the evolving, and increasingly specific workload demands placed on data centers today, while building a strong, flexible foundation for the zettabyte-scale era of the future. Leveraging Western Digital's in-house SSD controller designs, firmware development and vertical integration, these new solutions underscore the company's strengths in developing innovations that allow customers' data to thrive, from edge to core to cloud.

NVMe is having a great impact on enterprises and what they can do with data, particularly for real-time analytics, M2M and IoT, and emerging technologies like composable infrastructure. Data center customers understand the nature of their data streams and application workloads and are realizing that today's general-purpose architectures are inefficient and can carry resource and cost overhead.

Western Digital Announces Financial Results for Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2019

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today reported revenue of $3.6 billion for its fourth fiscal quarter ended June 28, 2019. The operating loss was $381 million with a net loss of $197 million, or ($0.67) per share. Excluding certain non-GAAP adjustments, the company achieved non-GAAP operating income of $158 million and non-GAAP net income of $50 million, or $0.17 per share.

In the year-ago quarter, the company reported revenue of $5.1 billion, operating income of $843 million and net income of $756 million, or $2.46 per share. Non-GAAP operating income in the year-ago quarter was $1.3 billion and non-GAAP net income was $1.1 billion, or $3.61 per share.

Western Digital Unveils 10TB Ultrastar DC HC330 Hard Drive

While Helium-filled HDDs continue to push the capacity envelope, air-based solutions, too, are seeing great advancements to help fulfill the world's hunger for data and growing performance demands. Our R&D teams are pushing the boundaries of what's possible for HDDs while continuing to drive lower $/TB. Today Western Digital is excited to add the 10 TB Ultrastar DC HC330 HDD to its DC HC300 family.

The new Ultrastar DC HC330 is based on our proven and mature HC300 family of products, and if you have already qualified other capacity points in this family, you now have a very simple migration path, and best possible TCO within the HC300 family with the 10 TB HDD product. Furthermore, at 10 TB, the Ultrastar DC HC330 provides you with the same capacity as our previous Helium-based 10 TB, but uses fewer disks and heads to deliver even better value.

Toshiba, WD NAND Production in Yokkaichi Hit With Power Outage: 6 Exabytes of NAND Production Affected

In another episode of the "so timely considering market projections for NAND pricing" news, Toshiba and Western Digital have disclosed expected impacts following an unexpected, 13-minute power outage on June 15th, that affected the companies' joint manufacturing facilities in Yokkaichi, Japan. Western Digital announced a loss of almost 6 Exabytes of NAND production - Toshiba is expected to have lost anywhere between 6 Exabytes and 9 Exabytes themselves, since they usually have their factories working closer to full capacity. Return to standard manufacturing rates is expected to only occur by mid-July.

Damage includes impacted wafers that were being processed, the facilities, and production equipment, hence the need for an extended inoperability period to seriously assess damages and required reinvestment. 35% of the world's NAND supply is produced at this Yokkaichi Operation campus (which includes six factories and an R&D center), so this outage and NAND flash loss is likely to impact the global markets. Whether or not this is enough to move the needle from oversupply to undersupply is as of yet unknown, but it is unlikely so - although pricing changes are expected after Q3 and Q4 orders have been settled (whose pricing has already been settled and can't be subject to change). Loss of confidence in the Toshiba and Western Digital manufacturing venture, however, could help offset some of that pricing increase. Obviously, companies have insurance policies that cover them in case of such unexpected events - should they fall squarely out of the control of said companies.

NAND Manufacturers Accelerate Deployment of 120/128 Layer 3D NAND Fabrication

A report from DigiTimes pits NAND manufacturers as accelerating their 120/128 layer 3D NAND technologies, aiming for volume production as early as 2020. Even as SK Hynix has begun sampling its 96-layer 4D NAND flash in March, Toshiba and Western Digital already had plans to introduce 128-layer technology, built on a TLC (Triple Level Cell) process technology so as to increase density while avoiding yield issues present with current QLC (Quad Level Cell) implementations.

The decision to accelerate deployment of the next generation of NAND comes from the fact that the market still faces an oversupply of NAND flash, mostly driven by the mature process of 64-layer NAND technology. With new technologies, higher ASPs and lower production scales are sustainable, which should enable supply to reduce enough so as to increase pricing of NAND-based technologies - and allow manufacturers to somewhat reset asking prices for new NAND chips.
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