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Western Digital begins shipping consumer-grade flash based on 96-layer BICS4 3D NAND

  Western Digital is continuing to increase its production of 96-story BICS4 3D NAND, which has been used in various retail storage devices for a year or so, but has not been shipped to the consumer market. Now that BICS4 is in sufficient supply, it is expected to become its most representative flash memory in the second half of this year. Since most of WD's capacity has now been transferred to BICS4, the company is finally ready to release consumer SSDs based on its latest NAND.

Western Digital (and Toshiba)'s BICS4 was officially launched in 2017 as a 3D NAND flash memory device with 96 valid word lines (or layers). The family includes TLC and QLC 3D NAND devices with capacities ranging from 256 Gb to 1 Tb. Initially, Western Digital produced 256 Gb 3D TLC NAND for a variety of retail storage devices (such as USB drives, memory cards, etc.), but so far the company has expanded its BICS4 lineup. The current product has met the requirements for manufacturing SSD.

In the company's quarterly earnings conference call earlier this week, Western Digital's CEO Stephen Milligan pointed out that the company "has begun to ship 96-layer 3D flash memory, BICS4 technology NVMe civilian SSD can already appear in the market."

But so far, the company has not officially announced the model of any BICS4 consumer SSD, but the time should not be too far.

At the same time, Western Digital also revealed that in its June quarter, BICS4 will account for more than 25% of the company's NAND flash capacity. Looking ahead, BICS4 will become the main memory type for Western Digital at the end of this year, which will be used for SSD, retail storage, embedded storage and other products.