Print 21 comment(s) - last by ocean77.. on May 30 at 3:57 AM

IMFT's 64Gb 25nm NAND flash memory chip
New SSDs could be on your holiday wishlist

Intel Corporation has confirmed that its Intel-Micron Flash Technologies (IMFT) co-venture has begun mass production of their breakthrough 25nm NAND flash memory. Intel has already started shipping the new chips in volume to its customers.
IMFT first showed off its 25nm chip samples to 
DailyTech and a select few in January, and an official announcement was made in February

Intel and Micron are both expected to use NAND flash chips from the 25nm node in a new generation of solid state drives. Intel is also working on a new NAND flash controller that will support ONFI 2.2 and new capacities, with 300GB and 600GB models expected. Support for 6Gbps SATA is also likely, but has not yet been confirmed. Indilinx's next-generation Jet Stream controller is also supposed to support the new chips.

IMFT's 64Gb (8GB) NAND chip measures just 167mm2 and can hold up to 2,000 songs, 7,000 photos or 8 hours of video. Demand for NAND flash memory is expected to grow significantly in the next few years thanks to devices like the iPad and smartphones, which rely on NAND storage. SSDs, USB flash drives, and higher capacity SDXC memory cards for camcorders and cameras will also cause increased demand.

The smaller size allows IMFT to essentially double the capacity of its flash chips at a minimal cost. Intel cut its SSD prices by 60% when it introduced 34nm production in July of last year.

The whole NAND flash industry is set to evolve this year. Hynix is preparing for mass production of 26nm NAND in July, while Toshiba and SanDisk are planning 24nm production of 3-bit-per-cell MLC flash. Mass production will begin at the end of the year at Fab 4, their latest 300mm wafer fabrication facility at Toshiba's Yokkaichi Operations in Mie Prefecture, Japan.

Samsung has been talking a lot about its "20nm-class" NAND, but the reality is that they will trail the rest of the competition at the 27nm node. The worldwide NAND market leader is shipping low volumes of those chips for slower-speed commodity SD cards.

Micron addressed the issue in a statement earlier this year; ''While there may be differences in terms of the process technology itself, they are fundamentally all '20nm-class' NAND flash technologies. Therefore the key differentiator is when volume production commences".

''Another good measure of the effectiveness of the new technology is density and package size. For example, Micron's 25-nm 64-Gb (8GB) MLC NAND fits in an industry standard 12-mm by 20-mm TSOP. Finally it's important to look at whether the new technology can be sold to customers in raw NAND form, or whether it needs to be shipped behind a controller, e.g. in a flash card or a USB drive. Micron's 25nm technology has been qualified in raw NAND form by numerous customers serving a wide variety of applications.''

Samsung's previous generation of NAND chips was slower than expected, leading to complaintsfrom SSD manufacturers. The issue was resolved through extensive firmware modifications to third-party SSD controllers.

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Intel SSD
By viewwin on 5/19/2010 11:05:30 AM , Rating: 5
Looking forward to the Intel Gen 3 drives. Maybe 320GB will finally be affordable for the masses.

RE: Intel SSD
By daveinternets on 5/19/2010 11:32:36 AM , Rating: 1
Me thinks an after Christmas sale is in my future.

RE: Intel SSD
By Starcub on 5/19/2010 12:46:49 PM , Rating: 2
The general consumer is still waiting for 80GB SSD's to become affordable, even if HDD tech remains static, I can't imagine G3 arriving in the consumer market.

RE: Intel SSD
By someguy123 on 5/19/2010 10:55:55 PM , Rating: 2
They'd have to be pretty cheap to be affordable for the masses considering there are tb drives for less than 100$.

I know, speed increase and all that, but people really looking for an SSD speed bump are enthusiasts right now with these prices.

RE: Intel SSD
By Hieyeck on 5/21/2010 11:16:46 AM , Rating: 2
No. Just no.

You have it all wrong, SSDs are purchased for performance, not storage. I wish you people would quit comparing $/GB as if it really mattered. Yes, an SSD is 40x more expensive per gig, it's an established fact. If you know it's for speed, QUIT MENTIONING PER GIG COSTS.

I can tell you for a fact my users are jealous of my laptop. They thought I had a fast resume-from-standby when I was actually cold booting. I also got an extra 1-2 hours of battery life. While no one was willing to pay $250 for 80GB, they wouldn't mind even a relatively pricey $150 if they could get that performance.

It's not and never will be about getting the $/gb to match HDDs, it's about getting the $/gb to not be prohibitively expensive.

RE: Intel SSD
By ocean77 on 5/30/2010 3:57:16 AM , Rating: 2
No, actually you have it wrong. And you're being a bit rude with the "You people" sentiments...

True. People ARE buying SSD's for performance and not storage which is EXACTLY what the problem is. They are way over priced, however worth it to those who can buy them. Price per GB is an important factor when buying these unless you just want a puny drive with high performance, when in turn leads back to the problem. It only serves enthusiasts who can pay a very high premium for a small, yet fast drive. People will continue to compare price/GB as the prices come down. And that is important because these SSD's will eventually compete directly with HD's. In 2007, price/GB of SSD was about $4 to $5, but now in 2010 it is only about 1.30.

But also a lower price per GB can mean that someone willing to settle for a small ( 80GB) SSD drive can maybe afford one because they become under $100. So even though they know they can buy a giant HD, they go for the small SSD because the price per GB has fallen enough to warrant it. And while an SSD may never quite match HD's price, the price per GB may fall so low on SSD that people may just not care in the future. And when that happens, HD's will become the minority.

By Murloc on 5/19/2010 10:44:59 AM , Rating: 5
NAND chip measures just 167mm2 and can hold up to 2,000 songs, 7,000 photos or 8 hours of video

I mean, this article tells us that we will have 25 nm SSD, and you write stupid arbitrary measures like those?

if someone is able to understand what a 25 nm memory chip is, he will for sure understand what 8 GB means!

and there's no way in html to make mm2 look like mm^2?

RE: seriously?
By techfuzz on 5/19/2010 1:20:45 PM , Rating: 1

RE: seriously?
By Aloonatic on 5/20/2010 9:32:26 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, lets have some proper measures.

Like how many would be needed to cover a football pitch, or how many would need to be layed end to end to:

a) be the same length as a double decker bus
b) go the length of a football pitch
c) reach the moon

Come on guys, sort it out!

Also, how heavy are they? I want them in the standard measure of the number needed to weigh the same as an elephant of course.

Give us the stats that really count.

Don't get caught up in FPS
By todda7 on 5/19/2010 10:50:18 AM , Rating: 2
Got a brand new Intel X25-M 80 GB Gen 2 a couple of weeks ago. Expensive indeed, but well worth the money. And I don't even care boot-times!

I'm certainly going to buy the new generation, and put my Gen 2 in my laptop. When Gen 4 comes out, I will put it in my desktop, the gen 3 in the laptop and the gen 2 in my server.

Too many people only care about FPS when buying new rigs. This is of course important if you are an hardcore gamer, but if you take a couple of hours to learn how to overclock you can buy a cheaper CPU (and even GPU) and use your money on a SSD, Intel 40 og 80 GB, and get the same performance in games but double the performance in everyday applications.

RE: Don't get caught up in FPS
By corduroygt on 5/19/2010 5:19:03 PM , Rating: 2
I got the 160GB version of the same drive. Cost half the price of my laptop, but worth every penny.

RE: Don't get caught up in FPS
By Jeffk464 on 5/19/2010 6:22:29 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget adding significantly to laptop battery life. Another key feature of SSD.

RE: Don't get caught up in FPS
By hyvonen on 5/19/2010 9:23:45 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't help with battery life in light usage (tried).

good contribution
By invidious on 5/19/2010 10:32:06 AM , Rating: 4
One of the better posts I have seen on DT lately. Actually contains facts and explanations instead of rumors and opinions. Keep it up.

I am eagerly waiting for some major developements in the SSD market so I can replace my two year old 30gb one. There isn't much incentive to replace mine based on current offerings.

By semo on 5/19/2010 11:07:19 AM , Rating: 2
Still no release dates of actual products so I assume Intel's G3 will be out in Q4. At least this gives us some assurance that 20nm class SSDs will be out on time. If they do reduce prices though I expect those things to stay out of stock even longer than the G2s when they came out.
while Toshiba and SanDisk are planning 24nm production of 3-bit-per-cell MLC flash
who else can we expect to come out with super slow memory if not for SanDisk.

broken link
By Phoque on 5/19/2010 7:23:13 PM , Rating: 2
cut its SSD prices by 60%

The page you requested could not be found.

By jwilliams4200 on 5/20/2010 1:45:06 PM , Rating: 2
The important figure for the new, smaller NAND flash is the number of erase cycles it can handle. The smaller the NAND, the fewer erase cycles in its lifetime.

The media should be pushing the manufacturers to specify the erase cycles, since otherwise the manufacturers will quietly gloss over it.

Same class, huh, Samsung?
By HoosierEngineer5 on 5/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: Same class, huh, Samsung?
By xler8r on 5/19/2010 10:26:16 AM , Rating: 2
Do their TV's have NAND in them?

RE: Same class, huh, Samsung?
By invidious on 5/19/2010 10:27:19 AM , Rating: 2
Why would size equate linearly to cost? Where do you see "dollar class" in the post?

The post was saying that 24nm vs 27nm isnt a big deal in terms of technical performance. That the difference in production processes and production scale between the various mentioned manufacturers will have a larger impact on cost/value of the chips than the technical specs will.

RE: Same class, huh, Samsung?
By Suomynona on 5/19/2010 10:30:45 AM , Rating: 2
The intent of that statement is that they are all at a similar relative node in terms of size. They will all be making a leap further down from there.

Micron agreed with the statement.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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