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Sandisk to Ramp 19 nm Flash in Q4 2011

By - Source: Seeking Alpha | B 11 comments

Sandisk revealed that it will be transitioning its 24 nm flash production to a new 19 nm generation to remain cost competitive in the industry.

24 nm flash accounted for about 60 percent of the production in the third quarter; Q4 is likely to see an increase in 24 nm manufacturing while 19 nm is ramping up and should enable the company to deliver higher-capacity both 2-bit-per-cell MLC as well as 3-bit-per-cell X3 memory in 2012.

Sandisk expects its 2012 captive bit growth rate to be "somewhat higher than in 2011" due to the aggressive transition to 19 nm flash. Its growth will strongly depend on this move as well as the yields it can achieve on this new step, the company told analysts, during the recent Q3 earnings conference call. Sandisk noted that the total 2011 investment to enable 24 nm and 19 nm production will be between $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion.

CEO Sanjay Mehrotra confirmed that the 19 nm generation will follow the 24 nm product trend and make its way into general flash memory products as well as SSDs. However, it appears that Sandisk is especially shooting for an opportunity in the ultramobile market in the near future as Mehrotra described both tablets and smartphones as "strong" growth drivers. "I think you'll see that tablets are going to use large amount of flash in the future, and the numbers for tablets as a category are continuing to grow strongly and same thing applies for flash," he said.

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  • 3 Hide
    Filiprino , October 25, 2011 11:25 AM
    19 nm. We're getting really small. Wasn't today's limit 11 nm?
  • 2 Hide
    Haserath , October 25, 2011 11:30 AM
    The smaller flash gets, the less durability it has. There is going to have to be a new technology before flash becomes more than a boot disk for enthusiasts; not to mention the average non-techie.

    At least it's progress.
  • 1 Hide
    mavroxur , October 25, 2011 1:21 PM
    Yet SSD's won't become truly affordable for years to come.
  • 0 Hide
    loomis86 , October 25, 2011 1:21 PM
    I wonder is intel is still on track for the 22nm jump?
  • 0 Hide
    loomis86 , October 25, 2011 1:27 PM
    I can't keep up with SD cards...what are they up to now? 250GB?
  • 1 Hide
    saturnus , October 25, 2011 1:32 PM
    Filiprino19 nm. We're getting really small. Wasn't today's limit 11 nm?


    Technically it's around 6nm before quantum tunnelling becomes a significant problem. At least for CPUs. Storage is more resistant to random failures as it usually has error correction built in so maybe a fair amount of random data changes is acceptable with the right controller technology, so for flash RAM cells the limit may be stretched to 4nm.

    It will also depend on manufacturing process technology, and let's not forget that there's a tendency to cells having more than just one or two bits per cell. Already we have 3 bits per cell and future implementations will likely see 4, 5 or even 8 bits per cell.
  • 0 Hide
    Kaiser_25 , October 25, 2011 2:07 PM
    ya im skeptical about this photolith is currently at 22nm, and thats usually for critical layer logic, memory is usually a process or two behind...
  • 0 Hide
    dark_lord69 , October 25, 2011 2:14 PM
    19 huh!?
    Wow!
    This means lower prices and higher capacities.
    For USB flash drives and SSD drives.
    I wonder if that means SanDisk will be cheaper than the other brands in the near future.
  • 2 Hide
    pelov , October 25, 2011 6:05 PM
    dark_lord6919 huh!?Wow!This means lower prices and higher capacities.For USB flash drives and SSD drives.I wonder if that means SanDisk will be cheaper than the other brands in the near future.


    Price has been on a steady decrease (per GB, that is) and will likely keep toward that trend, though probably not as fast as some would like -- myself included.

    The one thing holding me back from jumping ship is still the reliability issue. It still seems like Samsung/intel/crucial m4's are the only choices for those who prefer reliability over pure performance; though the m4's are nothing to scoff at. At some point you have to ask yourself: Do I need another 100MB/s read/write speed or do I want an SSD I can use for the next few years without having to worry about firmware and BSOD issues. The move to lower nm should decrease power consumption figures and since the mobile market is in demand of SSDs and booming, that's a great sign. Now for the reliability issues...
  • 2 Hide
    danwat1234 , October 25, 2011 9:51 PM
    HaserathThe smaller flash gets, the less durability it has. There is going to have to be a new technology before flash becomes more than a boot disk for enthusiasts; not to mention the average non-techie.At least it's progress.


    You are a non-believer. Let me help you: A famous thread with members stretching the write limits of modern SSDs. Many have reached over 200TB without a problem!
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?271063-SSD-Write-Endurance-25nm-Vs-34nm/page96

    I agree that as flash memory goes into even smaller lithography sizes that it might be a problem in the future, but we will probably figure it out.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , October 27, 2011 2:15 AM
    I find it strange how we're already on 19nm for flash yet SSDs have barely come down in price.