Intel and Micron Technology announced today that a new era in storage, smartphones, and media players has begun with the introduction of 25-nanometer NAND technology. Not only is this the smallest process for NAND flash memory, but currently the smallest process for semiconductor technology in general. Who said bigger was better?
The joint venture between Intel and Micron will be manufactured by IM Flash Technologies. The 25nm process will cram a whopping 8 GB of storage on a single NAND chip. Intel's announcement today paints a pretty picture on the NAND's actual size: measuring just 167mm2, it's small enough to fit through the hole in the middle of a CD, but packs 10 times the data capacity of the disc.
With that said, manufacturers can cram more storage into their devices, or use the extra room to throw in a new feature. In any case, the number of chips to provide the same amount of storage space has been cut down to half the load. As an example, a 256 GB solid-state drive used 64 NAND chips now only requires 32. A 16 GB flash card now only need two chips, whereas a 32 GB smartphone now only needs four.
Tom Rampone, vice president and general manager, Intel NAND Solutions Group, said that the new 25nm processing should speed up the adaption of solid-state drives. "Through our continued investment in IMFT, we're delivering leadership technology and manufacturing that enable the most cost-effective and reliable NAND memory," he said.
Currently Intel is sampling the 25nm, 8 GB NAND, and plans to kick it into high gear with mass production in Q2 2010.