SAN JOSE, Calif. Intel Corp. and Micron Technology Inc. have leapfrogged the competition and claimed the technical lead in the NAND flash memory market.
Reportedly moving ahead of Toshiba, Samsung and others in the process race, the Intel-Micron duo have introduced the industry's first sub-40-nm NAND flash device, by rolling out 34-nm, 32-gigabit (Gbit) multi-level cell (MLC) chip. Previously, the leading-edge NAND device from Intel and Micron was a 50-nm part.
This process technology was jointly developed by IM Flash Technologies LLC, a joint NAND venture between Intel (Santa Clara, Calif.) and Micron (Boise, Ida).
A single 32-Gbit chip could store more than 2,000 digital photos or hold up to 1,000 songs on an MP3 player, according to the companies. The 32-Gbit NAND chip is said to be the only monolithic device at this density that fits into a standard 48-lead TSOP, said Brian Shirley, vice president of Micron's Memory Group.
''These advancements will expand the value proposition and accelerate the adoption of solid-state drive (SSD) solutions in computing platforms,'' said Pete Hazen, director of marketing of Intel's NAND Products Group, in a statement.
The device will enable more cost-effective SSDs, doubling the current storage volume of these devices and driving capacities to beyond 256 GBs in today's standard, smaller 1.8-inch form factor.
Two 8-die stacked packages would realize 64 gigabytes (GBs) of storage. This is enough for recording anywhere from eight to 40 hours of high-definition video in a digital camcorder, according to Micron and Intel.
The 34-nm 32-Gbit chips will be manufactured on 300-mm wafers. The device measures just 172-mm2. Shipments of samples begin in June and mass production is expected during the second half of this calendar year.
Based on the 34-nm architecture, Intel and Micron also plan to introduce lower-density MLC products. Single-level cell products (SLC) are due out by the end of this year.
Analysts were impressed. Intel and Micron have basically leapfrogged the competition, said Gregory Wong, an analyst with Forward Insights Co. The main competition includes Hynix, Samsung and Toshiba/SanDisk.