IMFT 34nm 25nm 20nm comparison Intel and Micro announces 20nm NAND Flash

If things go as planned for Intel and Micron's joint venture in NAND Flash, we might be seeing a second iteration of SSDs later this year, as the two companies have announced that they're the first NAND Flash manufacturer to create 20nm 8GB MLC NAND Flash memory. It's unclear exactly how significant this additional die shrink is, although beyond being a cost saving measure; it also means smaller memory chips.

If things go as planned for Intel and Micron's joint venture in NAND Flash, we might be seeing a second iteration of SSDs later this year, as the two companies have announced that they're the first NAND Flash manufacturer to create 20nm 8GB MLC NAND Flash memory. It's unclear exactly how significant this additional die shrink is, although beyond being a cost saving measure; it also means smaller memory chips.

Although some companies are already manufacturing sub 25nm NAND Flash memory, IMFT just overtook all of its competitors with its 20nm NAND Flash. The company is expecting to transition all of its Fabs from 25nm to 20nm this year with its Fab in Utah, USA being the first one, followed by its Virginia, USA and Singapore plants at a later stage. This is a very quick transition, although it's likely to be a somewhat easier transition than what is normally the case, at least if the quick time scale is anything to go by.

IMFT 34nm 25nm 20nm comparison Intel and Micro announces 20nm NAND Flash

IMFT claims that we can expect similar performance and more importantly, endurance as its current 25nm NAND Flash products. If you take a look at the picture provided by IMFT you'll see the significance in terms of size that the die shrink offer, even from 25nm. Do note that the 34nm parts are two 4GB devices, whereas the 25nm and 20nm parts are 8GB. The 25nm parts measure 167 square mm while the new 20nm parts measure a mere 118 square mm. This can be used to reduce the board space on a PCB of an SSD by somewhere between 30 to 40 percent, or the other way to look at it you could fit 30 to 40 percent more NAND Flash chips to an SSD.

Right now we're of course looking at pre-production silicon and actual production isn't intended to start until sometime in the second half of this year. However, by then IMFT is expecting to have 16GB samples ready which the company claims will allow for 128GB single chip SSD the size of a postage stamp. As for cost reduction over current 25nm parts, well, it won't that massive, but expect to see even more affordable SSDs towards the end of this year or early next year, especially as the price of the SSD controllers for 2xnm NAND Flash are expected to have come down by then as well.

Source: Intel