IMFT 20nm die context Intel and Micron announces worlds first 20nm 128Gbit NAND flash

If all goes well, then we can look forward to much larger SSDs come the second half of next year as Intel and Micron has announced that their joint venture IM Flash Technologies will be launching 128Gbit NAND flash sometime in the second half of next year. In the meantime, we'll have to make do with IMFT's 20nm 64Gbit NAND flash which the two companies announced has gone into mass production.

If all goes well, then we can look forward to much larger SSDs come the second half of next year as Intel and Micron has announced that their joint venture IM Flash Technologies will be launching 128Gbit NAND flash sometime in the second half of next year. In the meantime, we'll have to make do with IMFT's 20nm 64Gbit NAND flash which the two companies announced has gone into mass production.

The 64Gbit parts are built using IMFT's brand new 20nm process which should for the time being, be the most advanced flash memory manufacturing process. However, this is merely a stepping stone to the 128Gbit parts which are made using the same process, but with quite a few technical advances in terms of everything else.

IMFT 20nm die Intel and Micron announces worlds first 20nm 128Gbit NAND flash

For starters, IMFT is promising terabit storage in a chip using eight 128Gbit NAND flash devices in a single package and if you don't know your bits from your bytes, then that is 128GB, i.e. a standard size SSD on a chip. The 128Gbit chips will also feature ONFI 3.0 which will boost the interface speed to 333 megatransfers per second which should see SSDs gain further performance next year as multiple chips are used to make up SSDs.

With a move to more storage capacity per chip it should become more affordable to create larger size SSDs for the drive makers, as you could make a 1TB SSD out of a mere eight chips. As for concerns about data retention and product life, IMFT has developed what they call "planar cell structure" that is meant to make the 20nm chips as reliable as current 25nm chip if we're reading the press release correct. The new NAND flash devices are also made using Hi-K metal gate, which is apparently another first in NAND flash production.

IMFT 20nm die context Intel and Micron announces worlds first 20nm 128Gbit NAND flash

It looks like the latter half of 2012 will be an interesting time for SSDs and the good news is that IMFT is expecting to sample 128Gbit devices to its partners as early as January. We're fairly certain that Intel and Micron will get first dibs on these parts, but as long as production quantities ramp as expected, IMFT is going to bring some serious competition to Samsung and the other NAND flash makers. Who's up for a smartphone or a tablet with 128GB of built in storage?

Source: Intel