Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC) has announced that it's developed its new 128-layer 1.33 Tb QLC 3D NAND memory chip, the X2-6070. The new chip is based on its Xtacking architecture which enables it to run with super high I/O while maximising the density of its memory arrays. YMTC has also unveiled its plan for a 128-layer 512 Gb TLC chip, the X2-9060, designed to meet more diverse application requirements.

We first reported on the China-based company YMTC entering its 3D NAND memory chips into production back in 2018, when it unveiled its Xtacking Architecture at the Flash Memory Summit. While it didn't disclose technical details of its announcement, it did state the Xtacking architecture has the capability to run the I/O with speeds of up to 3 Gbps. Fast forward to 2019, and it announced that it planned to start volume production of its 64-layer 3D NAND which we also reported on.

Using its Xtacking architecture at the forefront of production, both the new X2-6070 and X2-9060 feature its updated 2.0 variant which YMTC claims to bring more benefits to flash memory. Both the X2-6070 and X2-9060 are claimed to deliver up to 1.6 Gb/s of I/O performance and operate with a Vccg voltage of 1.2 V. YTMC has stated that the X2-6070 QLC based chip will be first used in consumer-grade SSDs, with the aim to then deliver its capabilities into Enterprise focused drives.

YMTC X2-6070 128-Layer QLC 3D NAND memory chip

The QLC based X2-6070 has 128-layers and more than 366 billion effective charge-trap memory cells. Each memory cell has 4-bit of data, which equates to 1.33 Tb of storage capacity. Everything is proportionate to cost, and it seems like YMTC, which is newer than most to 3D NAND stacking, could again improve its Xtacking architecture in the future.

We expect that YMTC, who is part of the Tsinghua Unigroup in China, is using the XMC fab in Wuhan China to produce its wafers for its 3D NAND. Tsinghua acquired XMC back in 2016, and while we haven't had it confirmed, it is likely to be producing its wafers at the XMC fab, which is one of China's largest semiconductor fabrication plants which also uses the Xtacking architecture.

YMTC hasn't released official specifications or data sheets about the X2-6070 QLC and X2-9060 MLC memory chips, nor has it stated when it is likely to be integrated with its controller partners (or which controllers support it).

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  • eek2121 - Monday, April 13, 2020 - link

    We desperately need competition in the flash storage space. Manufacturers have been very careful about controlling product to stop prices from dropping. They've even cut production in order to boost prices. Even if this is China specific, it's possible to import finished products from China.

    I have a beef with China for many reasons, but DRAM and NAND flash are two technologies that need far more competition.
  • HuskerTX - Monday, April 13, 2020 - link

    SSD prices have dropped by 66% in the last 2 years, I am not sure what you want? You can get an NVMe SSD for less than $0.10/GB. When prices went up late last year it was because most SSD/NAND manufacturers were barely holding on. Hynix profit margin dropped from 52% to 10% YoY in 2019. If prices continued on that path, you would have less competition and prices would stagnate.
  • HuskerTX - Monday, April 13, 2020 - link

    Which, BTW, Intel has EOLed all TLC-Based consumer SSDs primarily because there was almost no margin in it last year. So one less MAJOR competitor....
  • Slash3 - Monday, April 13, 2020 - link

    The last year has been pretty wonky for storage prices. I bought two 2TB MX500 SSDs in November 2018 for $212 each, the same drive right now is priced at $240 each.

    Same for drives like the 860 EVO, Intel 660p or Crucial P1. They've been hovering around $100-$125/TB for 12-18 months.
  • whatthe123 - Monday, April 13, 2020 - link

    Product coming out of China isn't going to help global competition. Nobody is going to risk security and stability by dealing with Tsinghua for slightly better QLC density. Even Huawei is having trouble building trust back in overseas markets.
  • nandnandnand - Monday, April 13, 2020 - link

    Well over 200 exabytes of NAND is shipped annually at this point, and the demand keeps going up. Even if the Yangtze NAND doesn't make it out of China, it will be consumed domestically, meaning slightly lower prices globally.
  • watzupken - Monday, April 13, 2020 - link

    Product coming out of China may not directly help global competition, but you need to remember that China is one of the biggest consumer that manufacturers are supplying. If they have a local source which they can purchased from that is secure (i.e. US can't threaten to cut off their supply) and cheaper, other manufacturers such as Micron, SK Hynix and Samsung are going to see a significant demand slump.
  • whatthe123 - Monday, April 13, 2020 - link

    US can't cut off the supply of NAND. Even if they tried the worst they could do is hurt Micron's distribution, meanwhile it would just drive up profit for SK and Samsung. Barring a world war there's 0 risk to memory manufacturers from the US trying to game the market.
  • peevee - Monday, April 13, 2020 - link

    Who did they steal the tech from?
  • albertmamama - Monday, April 13, 2020 - link

    Micron probably.

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