SAN FRANCISCO -- Micron Technology Inc. said Tuesday that it has begun sampling 128Gb multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash chips built using 16nm process technology.
The vendor said the 128Gb MLC NAND chips are targeted at applications like solid state drives (SSDs), removable drives, tablets, ultrathin devices, mobile handsets, and datacenter cloud storage. The chips provide the greatest number of bits per square millimeter and the lowest cost of any MLC device in existence. The new technology could create nearly 6TB of storage on a single wafer, Micron said.
Glen Hawk, vice president of NAND solutions at Micron, told us the chip has the smallest die size of any 128Gb NAND device. When the company introduced its 20nm NAND devices, it announced changes to its NAND architecture to help it scale NAND quickly to more advanced nodes. These changes included the incorporation of high-K metal gate technology, he said. As a result, Micron has progressed to the 16nm node faster than previously would have been possible -- about two years since the announcement of the company's 20nm NAND flash chips. (See: Update: Intel, Micron take NAND process lead.)
Micron says its new flash device has the smallest die size
of any 128Gb MLC NAND part.
In recent years, Micron has been repositioning itself to be much more of a consumer-facing company through moves such as marketing its own SSDs. However, "we're not giving up on that manufacturing and technology prowess," Hawk said. "We are not about to give up on our technology focus."
Micron said it is sampling the 16nm, 128Gb MLC NAND with select partners and plans to be in full production by the fourth quarter. It is also developing a line of SSDs based on these devices, and it expects to begin shipping them with 16nm flash in 2014.