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Intel and Micron take 20nm NAND flash up to 128Gb

Intel and Micron have developed a 128Gb NAND flash device that they say will enable a boost in mobile phone and tablet storage.The companies unveiled their 20nm process technology for creating NAND flash back in April.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

Intel and Micron have developed a 128Gb NAND flash device that they say will enable a boost in mobile phone and tablet storage.

The companies unveiled their 20nm process technology for creating NAND flash back in April. They are currently using it for a 64Gb device — now in mass production — that is targeted at everything from mobile devices to server SSDs. Intel and Micron said on Tuesday that they have now doubled that capacity.

"As portable devices get smaller and sleeker, and server demands increase, our customers look to Micron for innovative new storage technologies and system solutions that meet these challenges," Micron NAND chief Glen Hawk said in a statement.

According to Intel and Micron, the new 20nm 128Gb MLC NAND device will make it possible to "store 1Tb of data in a single fingertip-size package with just eight die".

It is tricky to divine the storage capacities this will lead to for products such as microSD cards and SSDs, as different manufacturers stack different numbers of die in their products. 1Tb translates to 128GB, though, which provides an idea of what could be achieved.

Intel and Micron have a joint-development venture called IM Flash technologies, through which they have developed the new 128Gb device. The die meets the latest ONFI 3.0 specification for transfer speeds, and can achieve 333 megatransfers per second (MT/s).

Tuesday's announcements also included more detail from the companies about what goes into their 20nm process technology. The 20nm NAND uses a planar cell structure that allows denser storage by "integrating the first Hi-K/metal gate stack on NAND production", Intel and Micron said.

According to Intel and Micron, the fact that they are ramping up production of the 20nm 64Gb product in December will make it easier for them to transition quickly to 128Gb.

The new 128Gb device will sample in January, and the companies expect mass production to follow in the first half of 2012.

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